TODAY | February 13, 2013
>>> this is fun for us every year. we're back now, 7:47, with the dog crowned best in show last night at the westminster kennel club dog show . we'll meet banana joe in a moment. first, nbc's katy tur has all the backstage action. good morning.
>> good morning, matt. westminster dog show is all about the cute and sometimes quirky. and sometimes these pooches get artificial enhancement and that will get the first line.
>> good boy.
>> reporter: from shiny sheen to diamond duds and talented tricks, the westminster dog show is a show all right, and even more so behind the scenes . there are the slobberers.
>> he's wearing a bib to keep him from getting dirty with all of his slobber.
>> reporter: the lovers. oh, you are so loveable. and even the elizabeth taylors from cleopatra. but what there aren't are cheaters. according to kennel club rules no peds or performance-enhanced dogs, no tattoos for black noses, no braces for straighter teeth and no cosmetic surgery for basset hound 's droopy eyes. so this is that competitive?
>> reporter: in total, there are 2,721 dogs competing this year, but only seven get to compete for the big prize, best in show . but it's not just about the dog.
>> i got to pull?
>> reporter: it's also about the handler. come on, run. come on. i think i'm a natural. jewel, who loves milkshakes, won it for the hounds. bichon frise named honor won the nonsporting group . banana joe , the affenpinscher, for the toy group , swagger, the old english sheep dog , had just enough swagger. matisse. oakley for the sporting.
>> best in show winner --
>> reporter: but again only one is top dog. banana joe . now banana joe is no newbie. he is a veteran. his owner says this was his last show. on the other hand, runner-up, swagger, is nearly brand new, has only been in four shows in his short 1-month life. if i were to hand out the award for the best hug, it would definitely be that big, fluffy white samoyed you saw a moment ago.
>> katy, thank you.
>> congrats, ernesto, to you. banana joe has won several prizes during his career but this one was the big daddy of them all. how did it feel?
>> the best in show really to win in the world. most prestigious show to win and he finally got t it 's wonderful .
>> what's his history, his background? how did he come to be this champion show dog ?
>> well, he was bred in the netherlands from a great pedigree line, started being shown there. and he surprised everybody by winning all the biggest shows out there, broke all the records for his breed for any affenpinscher ever in europe. and his father eimmigrated there.
>> got on a boat. got a ticket.
>> it doesn't roll off people's tongues. tell me about the breed.
>> they originated in germany, a farm dog . they were a little bigger then. as a ratter around the farm. they bred them down a little bit. they're now like a mouser around the house. they retained this cute look, the monkey dog , that face.
>> the atmosphere at this show gets more and more electric every year. new york crowds are not subtle. they scream from the stands at madison square garden . how has the show evolved over the years?
>> in addition to being the greatest competition for dogs, it also is a celebration of the dogs in our lives. i think people come there who love dogs and want to see dogs and all the competition and want to see 187 breeds and varieties but also want to root for their own dog. i call it the alma mater factor.
>> we heard the rules have changed because there's been some enhancement for dogs. no plastic surgery .
>> the american kennel club has a pretty strict set of rules, judging is all well trained.
>> no tattooing the noses to make them darker.
>> this is his last show, so what's ahead for banana joe ?
>> just enjoy life.
>> there you go.
>> take a cruise.
>> calm down a little bit.
>> and the ladies probably as well.