With more than 1,700 dogs—170 breeds—to strut their stuff, the Westminster Kennel Club show is a great way to indulge your love for dogs and learn about the different breeds. Watching the competition is fun, but our favorite pastime is walking around the benching area, where the dogs stay, and talking to the owners, who love to talk about their babies. (But never, ever touch a dog unless invited to do so by the owner.) Some basic ground rules: Come early if you plan to sit and watch for a while; tickets are more like general admission unless you have a reserved seat. (Don’t lose your ticket stub—it gets you into the benching area.) Check your coat and bags to wander unencumbered, wear comfortable shoes, and be prepared to deal with crowds. Getting around might also be hindered by ongoing renovations to the Garden, so be patient—it’s worth it!

Mon., Feb. 13, 8 a.m.; Tue., Feb. 14, 8 a.m., 2012