PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Canine lovers across the country are gearing up for the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.

It kicks off next week and two local dogs will be competing in the sporting category, including 7-year-old James.

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“He’ll do anything you ask him to do,” says Dee Hasley, James’ owner. “He’s a great dog, calm, relaxed; take him out in the field hunting, he has a different personality.”

The other dog competing is 20-month-old Beau. Both dogs are from the Sweetbriar Kennel in Sewickley.

“I am very excited,” Linda Judson, Beau’s owner, says. “It’s one of those things that everyday I wake up before I’m getting ready to go to work I’m counting down the days. I feel like a child waiting for Christmas to come.”

This will be Judson’s first time competing in the super bowl of dog shows with her Spinoni Italiani.

She’s not a professional handler, but says taking part in the contest has always been on her bucket list. She’s been prepping Beau for a while now.

“These dogs are actually fairly low maintenance, but they still have some grooming that needs to be done and a lot of practice,” said Judson. “He’s still a puppy, so he’s still working with his confirmation lead activities, his gait, how fast he’s supposed to go, when he’s supposed to stay standing.”

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James has a lot more experience. In fact, he’s ranked fifth in the country right now.

“One thing I’ve learned about James and I, we go in there and we have fun,” said Hasley. “He’s pretty well trained; he doesn’t need me on the end of the lead because he is a veteran. He pretty much can do it himself.”

James is expected to do well.

As for Beau, Judson is just hoping for no unfortunate incidents.

“I think he’s going to do well, as long as he doesn’t become too shy,” she said. “He’s a shy dog, he’s getting better with age. I expect to at least come out of the ring with our dignity, maybe not a ribbon, but at least our dignity.”

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show show kicks off on Monday, Feb. 16.

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