The 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show kickstarted on Monday, at Madison Square Garden in New York. 

The Westminster Kennel Club, established in 1877, is America's oldest organisation dedicated to the care, promotion and sport of raising purebred dogs. The dog show organised by the Kennel, first held in the same year as the club was formed, is officially the country's second-longest continuously held sporting event, ranking behind only the Kentucky Derby.

Judges pronounced winners in 4 categories on the opening day - All Hound, Toy, Herding and Non-Sporting. The second day, Tuesday, will see competition in the Sporting, Working and Terrier breeds.

The prestigious show will feature 2,077 dogs and 105 Junior Showmanship entries. Dogs come from 47 states across the United States, with the most entries coming from New York, California and Pennsylvania. From the over 2,000 competitors, 185 will win Best of Breed awards and seven will be Group winners of the Best in Show competition, to be held later on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, check out the photographs from Monday's action...

A Pekingese named Malachy won Best in Show at Westminster.PA
Sophie, a Standard Poodle, is groomed before her showing at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, in New York.PA
Dottie, a maltese owned by Beverly Quilliam and Wayne Baker of West Chester, Pa., is groomed by Luke Ehricht of Toledo, Ohio at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, in New York.PA
Amore, a Shih-Poo, attends the 2012 Pre-Westminster Fashion Show with her owner Nicki Rappa, from Smithtown, New York, unseen, Friday Feb. 10, 2012 in New YorkPA
Keith Paladino of Lodi, N.J., second from left, works with a 15 inch Beagle as they line up in the ring for competition at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, in New York.PA
A dog model walks down the runway during the Patterns for Paws fashion show on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The show featured dogs, some from the Broward County Humane Society, wearing clothes that had been created by area designers. Rescue officials hoped to raise more than $25,000 from the event. The humane society handles up to 10,000 adoptions a yearPA
Dressed for the occasion, Risa Castagno, of the Brooklyn borough of New York, holds her dachshund Bosco as he is photographed as they attend the 2012 Pre-Westminster Fashion Show Friday Feb. 10, 2012 in New York.PA
Dressed for the occasion, Phyllis Ludwig, of Lavon, Texas, poses for a photograph with her chihuahua Dixie Belle as they attend the 2012 Pre-Westminster Fashion Show Friday Feb. 10, 2012 in New York. Dixie Belle is a nursing home volunteer dog.PA
Elvis, a 4-year-old Bearded Collie works out on a dog tread in the Green Room Salon and Spa at the Pennsylvania hotel, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 in New York. There are 2,000 top dogs in town for Monday's start of the 136th Annual Westminster Kennel club show.PA
Champy, a French bulldog, looks up to handler Heather Bremmer of Blandon, Pa. as they get ready to enter the ring at 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, in New York.PA