PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (KSAZ) - For 142 years, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has been showcasing the best of the breeds, and for many years, a Paradise Valley man has competed and judged in the prestigious competition.
Since 1966, Clayton Coady has either competed at the show, or appeared as a judge.
"I've showed there so many times, I've competed in best in show many times, you know. 45 years," said Coady.
Coady was among one of the most respected professional dog-handlers when he competed, and he is now a licensed American Kennel Club judge.
"You know, when I first judged it about 15 years ago, I'll never forget the feeling that when I walked into the ring for the first time, on the floor at Madison Square Garden, I thought, 'well, maybe this is a little more important than I thought,'" said Coady. "It made me feel important."
So, what is it about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show that's so incredible? It's the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the United States, behind only the Kentucky Derby.
"Length of leg, length of back, top line, breed must look like the breed first," said Coady, who is approved to judge best in show, all working breeds, and several breeds from the remaining six breed groups.
To Coady, judging is about looking for the best of the best, from appearance to attitude.
"Every breed has it's own standard," said Coady.
When he's not judging, you can find Coady at the Applewood Pet Resort in Scottsdale. Although he knows everything there is about dogs, he no longer keeps any as pets, as he's got his hands full with everyone else's.
"I'm here most everyday, and I have all the dogs I could want to play with," said Clayton.