Ann Arbor woman prepares for 8th year as Westminster dog show judge

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There is an aura about the Westminster. They call it the "Super Bowl of dog shows."

And for the eighth time, Peggy Beisel-McIllwaine of Ann Arbor will have the honor of judging the 143rd annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.

When you think of the famous dog show you may think of the hilarious movie 'Best in Show.' Peggy says isn't that far off.

"You know there is a lot of truth in humor," she said. "It is totally exaggerated, but we just cracked up when we saw it."

Every character in there we could probably tell you who they are portrayed after. For Peggy, her love of dogs began young.

"My dog became my pal," she said.

In high school, she discovered the competitive world of dog shows. Bringing her first Old English Sheep Dog to championship motivated Peggy to learn more.

An apprenticeship with a terrier led her to Constantine, Mich. It was there she met her husband, Sandy, who happened to be a terrier breeder.

Their passion for dogs brought them together and helped them build a successful business where they bred and handled dozens of Best in Show winners.

All of her experience, including becoming certified by The American Kennel Club, prepared Peggy for her most prestigious role - judge of the oldest organization dedicated to the sport of pure bred dogs.

"It is a huge process," she said. "We always kid about it, not harder but taking longer becoming a brain surgeon."

But it's a role she takes very seriously.

"You want to do a good job yourself. Each breed has its own standards," she said. "And it's almost a blue print for us to follow and everybody has a different way of interpreting it.

"I think people know I am a terrier; they better not mess with me."

More than 3,000 dogs entered from around the world will compete at Madison Square Garden during Westminster week.

When you catch it on FOX  Sports starting Feb. 9, look closely for Peggy. She'll be judging the herding group.

"It's not like we are curing cancer - it is a dog show," she said. "But it is fun, it means a lot to a lot of people, it has brought us fun. We've met a lot of people traveled all over the world."