Westminster change gives stage to mixed-breed dogs

NEW YORK (AP) - Mixed-breed dogs are getting a paw in the door at the nation's foremost dog show for the first time since the 1800s.

The mutts are allowed to enter a new agility competition at Westminster Kennel Club's elite show in New York next month.

Mixed-breed owners see it as a singular chance to showcase what everyday dogs can do. Animal-rights advocates call it a good step, though it isn't ending their long-standing criticism of a show that they feel champions a myopic view of man's best friend.

Westminster officials say it demonstrates that the show celebrates all dogs. They also say it enhances the 138-year-old show with a rapidly growing, fun-to-watch canine sport.