NEW YORK, N.Y. - Banana Joe has this little quirk. The affenpinscher with the monkeylike face shakes his oversized head so hard, he sometimes loses his balance.

That's OK. At this level of competition at the Westminster dog show, having a big head helps.

"He has a huge impression of himself," handler Ernesto Lara said.

Ditto for Jewel, the American foxhound that likes vanilla milkshakes. While her entourage fussed over her early win Monday night, she looked around Madison Square Garden for more action.

"Right now, in her mind, she's thinking this is exactly how it should've happened," said John Miller, son of co-owner Lisa Miller. "She knows she's awesome."

Story continues below slideshow.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Ernesto Lara, Banana Joe

    Ernesto Lara celebrates with Banana Joe, an affenpinscher, who won Best in Show, during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Teddy, a Gordon Setter, is groomed before judging at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 12, 2013 in New York. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

  • Cash, an English Setter, gets a blow dry from BJ Parsons, with other English Setters before judging at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 12, 2013 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

  • Barry, a Komondorok, at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 12, 2013 in New York. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

  • Cole, a Komondorok, is groomed by Val McNellis at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 12, 2013 in New York. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

  • US-ANIMALS-WESTMINSTER-DOG SHOW

    Cash, an English Setter, gets a blow dry from BJ Parsons before judging at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 12, 2013 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A St. Bernard takes a nap at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 12, 2013 in New York. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

  • Great Pyrenees Sky (L) and Gem (R) with Joan Hanover (C) at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 12, 2013 in New York. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

  • A row of Samoyeds are groomed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 12, 2013 in New York. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

  • US-ANIMALS-WESTMINSTER-DOG SHOW

    Paisley, a Wheaten Terrier, sits on a grooming table before judging at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show February 12, 2013 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Colton Johnson shows off Swagger, an Old English Sheep Dog with the hearding group during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Colton Johnson shows off Swagger, an Old English Sheep Dog, with the hearding group during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • A Pembroke Welsch Corgi is judged with the hearding group during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Swagger

    Colton Johnson shows off Swagger, an Old English Sheep Dog and winner of the hearding group, during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • A rough collie waits to compete in the hearding group during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Honor

    Honor, a Bichon Frise, and winner of the non-sporting group, is held by handler Lisa Bettis during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Fiona, a 2-year-old Red Dilute Brush Coat, waits in the benching area before competing in the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Caroll Geiser, of Rochester, N.Y., grooms Eva, a 3-year-old Old English Sheep dog, during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • A Smooth Coat Chihuahua looks up at it's handler while being displayed in the ring during competition at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • A Bichon Frise rests before competing in the The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Angel, a 2-year-old Toy Poodle from Houston, is groomed prior to competition during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • A Shih Tzu is inspected by a judge during competition of the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Craig Garcia grooms Fire, a 2-year-old Shih Tzu from Cape Town, South Africa, during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Michelle Ridenour, of Novi, Michigan, grooms Tigger, a 3-year-old Pomeranian, during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Linda Scott, of Odessa, Texax, grooms Pink a a 2 year-year-old bulldog during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Jewel

    Jewel, an American Foxhound and winner of the hound group, leaves the competition area during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Banana Joe

    Banana Joe, an Affenpinscher and winner of the the toy group, is shown by Ernesto Lara during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • A Yorkshire terrier is judged with the toy group during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Banana Joe

    Banana Joe, an Affenpinscher and winner of the toy group, is shown by Ernesto Lara during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Banana Joe, an Affenpinscher and winner of the toy group, is shown by Ernesto Lara during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • A handler places a smooth coat Chihuahua on the table for inspection during competition at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • A smooth coat Chihuahua waits in his cage in the benching area during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Colton Johnson shows off Swagger, an Old English Sheep Dog, with the hearding group during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Honor

    Lisa Bettis, shows, Honor, a Bichon Frise, of Indiana, and winner of the non-sporting group, during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • A Pembroke Welsch Corgi is judged with the hearding group during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Swagger

    Swagger, an Old English Sheep Dog, is posed for photographs after winning the hearding group during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Russell Terriers are held during a news conference in New York, on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. Russell Terriers are one of two breeds competing for the first time this year in the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 11. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • A pair of Neopolitan Bull Mastifs named Paparazzi and Ruben ride the elevator with their owners after checking into the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in preparation for the Westminster Dog Show, which is Monday and Tuesday. The hotel is located directly across from Madison Square Garden, where the show is held. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Handler Ernesto Lara poses for photographers with Banana Joe, an affenpinscher who won best in show during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Matisse

    Matisse, a Portuguese water dog and winner of the working group is shown during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Eddie Boyes shows Adam, a smooth fox terrier and winner of the terrier group, during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Oakley

    Oakley, a German wirehaired pointer and winner of the Sporting group, is shown during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2013, file photo, Aristocrat, a St. Bernard, attends a news conference about the 137th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York. Caring for a large dog has demands not associated with having smaller breeds. Large breeds eat more, need more living space and can have health issues not seen in smaller breeds. Although they can require more of a commitment that their smaller counterparts, large breeds remain popular among dog owners and the general public alike. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

A little ego can go a long way at America's top pooch pageant, especially heading into the best in show pick Tuesday night.

Banana Joe won best of breed for the third straight year, then took the toy group. Jewel was the top hound and Honor the bichon frise won the nonsporting group — Ellen Charles co-owns both dogs.

"My lucky night," she said.

An old English sheepdog earned herding honours. It was quite a surprise by Westminster standards — 90-pound (40-kilogram) Swagger is just 20 months old and had only entered three previous dog shows.

"Such a cool dog," breeder-owner-handler Colton Johnson said.

The top working, sporting and terriers come Tuesday, and judge Michael Dougherty was set to choose the best in show shortly before 11 p.m. on the USA Network. A Doberman playfully called Fifi and a big-winning wire fox terrier called Sky were among the favourites to walk off with the prized silver bowl.

There were 2,721 entries this year, though some missed out after getting stranded by the recent blizzard that hit the Northeast. The 137th Westminster features dogs in 187 breeds and varieties with a pair of newcomers, the treeing Walker coonhound and the Russell terrier.

Sophie left without any ribbons. But with perfectly trimmed pompoms and fluffed out fur, she was the very essence of poodle pulchritude.

Scissors, blow dryers, bobby pins — they're as much a part of the Westminster dog show as commands, crates and treats.

What Westminster won't tolerate, though, are PEDs — performance-enhanced dogs.

That means no tattooing a boxer's nose to make it more black, no braces for a pointer to straighten its teeth, no removing a basset hound's inner eyelid to improve its appearance.

"It goes against the spirit of showing dogs in their appropriate state," Westminster President Sean McCarthy said.

Cosmetic surgery isn't permitted, either, along with steroids. Yet detecting illegal drugs is virtually impossible while a dog has its few minutes in the ring.

"Our judges are not all veterinarians," longtime Westminster television host and breeder David Frei said. "They can't tell if a dog is on greenies."

Some things are OK. Corn starch is often used to get water off a coat, and that helped on a rainy Monday as dogs piled into the halls on the Hudson piers for early judging.

Crufts, the largest dog show in the world, expects to draw 25,000 dogs next month in Birmingham, England. In a year or so, that event might change regulations that have been in place for nearly a century.

"The Kennel Club set up a working party to look at the rules surrounding the use of hairspray, chalk and other products at dog shows, and whilst this review goes on the strict prohibition of these substances remains in place, including for Crufts 2013," club secretary Caroline Kisko said.

"The Kennel Club regulations state that the use of products that could 'alter the natural colour, texture or body of the coat' may not be used," she said.

___

Associated Press writer Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.