CHEAT SHEET: BARKING RIGHTS

This week, 2,632 pooches and their stylists will descend on Madison Square Garden for the 128th Westminster dog show. Before you turn on the tube, get acquainted with the top dogs. "The hottest dog in the country right now is a Norfolk terrier named Coco," says David Frei, director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club. In the past year, Coco has swept nearly every major competition in the country, earning more than $50,000 in prize money, plus a Suzuki 4WD for her owners. At Westminster, she could walk away with a silver cup. (There's no monetary award.) Coco is known for her charisma and showmanship, but also meets the lengthy "standard" for her breed, which includes guidelines on color ("white marks are not desirable"), temperament ("alert, gregarious") and size. The "favorite," though, wins only half the time. Dogs who could score an upset include Bunny, an Ibizan hound with a white, Playboy-bunny-shape splotch on her back; Les, a Pekingese, and Miki, a standard poodle. Watch USA on Monday and Tuesday nights for live broadcasts. May the best dog win.

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