Wednesday, February 12, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — The bloodhound drew the loudest cheers. The Portie came with presidential connections. And the Irish water spaniel tried to earn another win for Seattle in the Super Bowl — of dogs, that is.
A little wire fox terrier called Sky stood in their way.
The 5-year-old Sky won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club on Tuesday night, finishing off a season in which she was ranked the nation's No. 1 dog.
Handler Gabriel Rangel scooped up Sky in one arm after she was picked as America's top dog. He kissed judge Betty Regina Leininger's hand as the title was awarded inside a nearly full Madison Square Garden.
Rangel may've learned that trick from his dog.
"Her personality is she loves to kiss people and she connects with everybody," Rangel said.
This was Sky's 129th best in show ribbon overall — she became a Triple Crown winner in dogdom, having previously taken the National Dog Show and the AKC Eukanuba event.
And it was the 14th time a wire fox terrier has won at Westminster. No other breed has won more than eight.
The winner with the ginger-and-white coat and terrier goatee beat out an impressive lineup in the final ring. Joining Sky were a standard poodle, a Cardigan Welsh corgi and a miniature pinscher, along with the bloodhound, Portuguese water dog and Irish water spaniel.
"She has the 'it' factor. She owned this night," Leininger said.
The standard poodle named Ally was chosen as the runner-up.
Sky sat still backstage alongside the prized silver bowl after the biggest win in her career. By the weekend, the pooch might be pooped.
Sky was scheduled to tour the morning TV news shows Wednesday, eat a steak lunch at famed Manhattan restaurant Sardi's and also go up the Empire State Building.
And on Thursday night, she's set for her Broadway debut with a walk-on part in the Tony Award-winning musical "Kinky Boots."
Neat treats for a dog with the champion's name of Afterall Painting The Sky. A special time for all those around her, too.
"It's like winning an Oscar," said Victor Malzoni Jr., one of the owners who is an economist from Brazil.
There were 2,845 dogs entered in the 138th Westminster Kennel Club show. They were eligible in 190 breeds and varieties.
Nathan the bloodhound was clearly the crowd's choice as all seven dogs circled around in the final ring. The min pin called Classie had won 121 times.
And Matisse the Portie had a great history. He is a cousin of President Barack Obama's newest house pet — the White House, that is.
But once again, a terrier prevailed. Terriers have taken 46 of the 105 best in show ribbons presented at an event that dates to the late 19th century.
Rangel, who lives with Sky in Rialto, Calif., has plenty of experience in winning. He guided Sadie the Scottish terrier to victory at Westminster four years ago.
This time, it was Sky's turn.
"She's a princess," he said.