Written By: Ben Cosgrove

The bond between dogs and humans has taken many forms: hunting companions, workmates, helpers and saviors. Then there are show dogs, the kind that take center stage every year at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. These dogs are primped, pampered and trained with the same dedication and diligence that world-class coaches bring to the prepping of elite athletes. 

When the Westminster show descends on New York’s Madison Square Garden, it seems that everybody—even cat people!—are, for a few days at least, dog devotees. Enjoy this selection of four-legged friends from the 1950s and ’60s by the great Nina Leen.

Whippet chosen Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, New York City, 1964.

Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth (a.k.a. “Ricky”), a Whippet, was chosen Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, New York City, 1964.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Skye Terrier, Jacinthe de Ricelaine, 1964.

Skye Terrier, Jacinthe de Ricelaine, 1964.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Skye Terrier, Jacinthe de Ricelaine, 1964.

Skye Terrier, Jacinthe de Ricelaine, 1964.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Vincenzo Calveresi with is four Maltese, 1955.

Vincenzo Calveresi with his four Maltese, 1955.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Maltese, 1955.

Maltese, 1955.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Maltese, 1955.

Maltese, 1955.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Ignoring a kick, a team of Maltese dogs stands motionless as owner Vincenzo Calversi tests their obedience, 1955.

Ignoring a kick, a team of Maltese dogs stood motionless as owner Vincenzo Calversi tested their obedience, 1955.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Billy, a Miniature Poodle, 1964.

Billy, a Miniature Poodle, 1964.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Chow, Ah Sid's the Dilettante, 1964.

The Dilettante, a Chow, 1964.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Doberman in training runs behind automobile near Roslyn, NY, as handler Peter Knoop rides.

A Doberman in training ran behind an automobile near Roslyn, N.Y. with handler Peter Knoop.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Boxer, Treceder's Painted Lady, 1964.

Painted Lady, a Boxer, 1964

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Brussels Griffon, Barmere's Mighty Man, 1964.

Mighty Man, a Brussels Griffon, 1964.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Westminster Dog Show, 1955.

Westminster Dog Show, 1955.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Wire Fox Terrier, Travella Superman of Harham, 1955.

A Wire Fox Terrier, Travella Superman of Harham, 1955.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Wire Fox Terrier, Travella Superman of Harham, 1955.

A Wire Fox Terrier, Travella Superman of Harham, 1955.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Whippet, Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth, Best in Show, 1964.

This Whippet, Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth, won Best in Show in 1964.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Whippet, Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth, Best in Show, 1964.

Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth won Best in Show, 1964.

Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

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