Owners go to extreme measures to give dogs 'an edge'

Owners go to extreme measures to give dogs 'an edge'

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PHOENIX -

Baseball has done it, cycling has done it, now the Westminster dog show is banning steroids.

That's right. Performance-enhanced dogs are not allowed at the famous dog show, and neither is cosmetic surgery.

A bull mastiff from South Carolina was selected best in breed at Westminster Tuesday. It's truly shocking what people are allegedly doing to get an edge in these dog shows -- some tattooing their dogs' noses. And they're not even competing for cash.

Phoenix breeder, owner and handler Carol Arbuthnot has shown dogs at the Westminster dog show three times.

"The point is to be having the best dog," says Arbuthnot.

But some dog owners are going to extreme lengths to have the "best dog." Westminster now says it won't tolerate performance-enhanced dogs -- that means no steroids or cosmetic surgery.

"It's not the norm, it does happen but it is very much frowned upon."

Westminster outlaws the tattooing of dogs noses to make them appear blacker -- and braces on their teeth, something Arbuthnot says she's heard of people doing before.

"I know somebody who did it to their pet, put it on her cat and dog. It made them feel better, I don't know why she did that but it was very costly."

Arbuthnot says there the more common, less extreme ways of cheating.

"Let's say you had patches where the dog was a different color. Not quite symmetrical. You'd take that color chalk, to try to cover it."

Arbuthnot speculates Westminster is re-iterating the regulations following a dog show overseas.

"Several of the dogs that won their breed in their group were examined by a veterinarian weren't allowed to go on to groups because they said it wasn't healthy or something had been altered."

The Westminster winner gets a trophy but no cash prize. Arbuthnot says it's about prestige, but it's still competitive.

"It's a hobby and people go there to win."

Some other extreme measures people are taking include removing a basset hound's inner eyelid to improve appearance and cutting tendons in dog's tails to make them straight.

A 5-year-old affenpinscher named Banana Joe won best in show at Westminster Tuesday.

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