The Pet Economy

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  • 'Banana Joe,' a Dutch-born Affenpinscher, is seen during the Westminster Kennel Club's 137th annual dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York, Feb. 12, 2013.

    Famous dog handler Ernesto Lara explains how he coaches winning show dogs like a coach grooms his athletes. This year he hopes to win again.

  • Australian shepherd

    The path to greatest at the 2014 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is traditionally reserved for pedigrees. The payoff for owners of champions is huge.

  • A bichon frise waits for judging to start Monday, the first day of competition at the 138th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.

    From training to advertising, the costs of participating in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show add up.

  • In this December, 2012 photo, Roo! weaves through obstacles during agility competition in Orlando, Fla.

    No longer the exclusive stomping ground of purebreds, the Westminster Kennel Club dog show has opened its doors to mixed breeds.

  • Nichole Mayer with her husband, Hunter Bodycott, and their two bulldogs Bella and Winston.

    Doggy school, pet hotels, grooming and pet insurance all add up. As a nation, our spending on our beloved animals now tops $55 billion annually.

  • A poodle jumps through a hoop at the 138th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show press conference at Madison Square Garden on January 15, 2014 in New York City.

    Families inspired by the Westminster dog show to get a puppy may find that buying a purebred pup is cheaper than the costs of dog ownership.

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