NEW YORK — The Latest on the Westminster Kennel Club dog show (all times local):
You might say the Westminster Kennel Club dog show’s obedience competition is Heart to win.
For the fourth year in a row, a Labrador retriever named Heart and handler Linda Brennan took the title Monday. In fact, no one else has ever won it.
More than a dozen dogs competed. The event includes complicated six-minute routines.
Brennan’s was inspired by “The Red Balloon,” the 1956 French movie about a boy who’s followed around by a red helium balloon. In the obedience competition, Heart picked up and carried a similar balloon while doing jumps and other exercises.
Brennan is an obedience trainer from Columbia, New Jersey. She says 6 1/2-year-old Heart loves the crowd and the buzz at the big Westminster show and “just turns on in this environment.”
A top-winning whippet is out of Westminster — knocked off by, of all dogs, his own sister.
Whiskey had won the big National Dog Show televised on Thanksgiving Day and the AKC event shown on New Year’s Day. But his bid for a Triple Crown of dogdom ended when he was topped by littermate Bourbon in the breed judging this afternoon.
Last year, Whiskey won the breed at Westminster, and Bourbon was award best of opposite sex. This time, the 3-year-olds switched places.
Justin Smithey and his wife, Cheslie Pickett Smithey, co-own both dogs and live in Sugar Valley, Georgia. Justin handled Whiskey in the ring, Cheslie guided Bourbon.
“We’re as proud as we can get,” he said.
Whiskey wasn’t sour after the upset. The littermates are “best buds,” Cheslie said, and nuzzled outside the ring when it was over.
Biggie is back.
The popular pug who had fans at Madison Square Garden chanting his name last year in the final ring is off to another good start.
The 3-year-old won a best of breed ribbon in the morning, and advanced to the toy group judging at night.
“He’s got the ‘it’ factor,” said owner Carolyn Koch of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
“He’s everything a pug should be. He’s a lap dog. He’s a comedian. He’s a family dog,” she said. “And he loves to show.”
Instead of taking an early victory lap, Biggie took a victory nap. He spent part of the afternoon sleeping in his crate — on tap there was a plastic bag that had the words “Life is Ridiculously Awesome.”
A dog’s life, indeed.
In the world of dog shows, there’s no shame in sleeping on the competition.
At least not for GCH Haystac’s Montgomery The Spartan General — or Monty, for short. The Old English Sheepdog is named after British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, who fought in World War I and II. Monty isn’t much of a fighter, but he hasn’t had to be. In fact, he may fall asleep before you can finish saying his name.
Monty took a preshow snooze on the groomer’s table at a recent competition in Canada, slumbering away while handler Virginia Goscinak brushed out his puffy white coat. Goscinak woke up the 3-year-old dog shortly before the competition, and Monty went into the ring and came out a best of breed winner.
A few hours before competing at Westminster, Monty was back in top form, lazing away while two groomers brushed and sprayed his fur. Goscinak had to pull back the tufts on Monty’s face to confirm his eyes were still open.
“He loves this,” Goscinak said.
Dogs from affenpinschers to Yorkshire terriers are rounding the rings at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
Breed judging began Monday at the illustrious show in New York. More than 2,800 dogs in 203 breeds and varieties are signed up to compete over two days, leading up to the televised Best in Show award Tuesday night.
Monday’s judging includes dogs in the herding, hound, non-sporting and toy groups. One closely-watched contestant is expected to be Whiskey, a whippet that notched big wins in shows televised on Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.
This year’s Westminster show features two new breeds, the grand basset griffon Vendeen (grahnd bah-SAY’ grih-FAHN’ vahn-DAY’-ahn) and the Nederlandse kooikerhondje (NAY’-dehr-lahn-seh KOY’-kehr-hahnd-jeh).
The show also featured an agility championship Saturday and is holding an obedience competition Monday.
More AP dog show coverage: https://apnews.com/WestminsterKennelClubDogShow
The Associated Press