A dog that won an award this week in the Westminster Kennel Club show escaped from its cage at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday and was believed to be on the loose in the surrounding area.

The dog, a whippet, broke free at about noon, said Tiffany Townsend, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs area airports.

Port Authority police were working with its owners to search the area where planes arrive and depart, she said.

"They're looking every possible place they can to see if they can locate the dog," Townsend said.

She said she didn't know where the dog's cage had been when it escaped or where its owners had been heading. The airport, in Queens, covers more than 4,900 acres.

Barbara Nyby, a member of the American Whippet Club in California, said the dog was Bohem C'est La Vie. The dog won an award of merit at Westminster, the nation's most prestigious dog show.

The dog's owners were listed as Jil Walton and Paul Lepiane, of Ojai, Calif.

The dog had been booked on a Delta Air Lines Inc. flight. Atlanta-based Delta said it was working with local authorities to retrieve the animal.

More than 2,600 dogs were entered in the show at Madison Square Garden, including 25 whippets, a short-haired athletic dog similar to a greyhound. Best in Show went to Rufus, a colored bull terrier with an egg-shaped head.