Handler Scott Sommer celebrates with " Stump" a Sussex Spaniel after winning Best In Show at the 133rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City last year.
As 2,500 of the world’s most fabulous dogs start converging on New York City to strut their stuff on the famed green carpet at the Westminster Dog Show, the big question being asked by both dog lovers and canine pundits is, who will be this year’s top dog?
For the past four years, Avello has produced the odds for the world’s most popular dog show exclusively for NBCSports.com and msnbc.com so dog lovers can enjoy betting for fun and entertainment, as no money is actually put on the table.
If he is correct, Sadie will be the 46th terrier to take the title since the Best in Show award was introduced in 1907. The Reign of the Terriers began that year when Warren Remedy, a smooth fox terrier, won the first of his three consecutive titles.
“While I am reluctant to pile it all on the Scottie, the breed does have a record of success at Westminster,” said David Frei, director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club. “To date, seven Scottish terriers have taken the title. However, the last time was in 1995.”
Avello, who also posts the odds on some of America’s most-watched TV shows such as “American Idol,” has a Doberman Pinscher ranked second at 14 to 1, a Golden retriever at 15 to 1 and a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen at 16 to 1. The Puli, Champion Cordmaker Field of Dreams who made it into the Best in Show final last year, is competing again, and Avello has the breed also ranked at 16 to 1.
The Puli “could very well be a crowd-pleaser in the ring the way Uno the Beagle wowed the crowds in 2008,” Frei said.
The Best in Show event takes place at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 16.
America’s interest in the Westminster show has a lot to do with what he calls “ the Alma Mater Factor.”
“We have such a spiritual and emotional connection with our dogs,” he said. “And if you own a particular breed, you automatically have a vested interest when those dogs come into the ring. It’s human nature to compare the dogs on the green carpet to the pooch cuddled up next to you at home.
“People realize that if they gave their dog a few less cookies, a weekly grooming instead of a once-a-month bath, and did a little road work, they could be up there, too. This is a sport where professionals and amateurs can work along side one another in the show ring.”
For dog lovers around the country keen to participate in the fun of picking the winner, here is Avello’s line-up. More odds, detailing the age and sex of the winning dog and the gender of the handler can be found at www.wynnlasvegas.com.