Miniature Poodle Wins Westminster Dog Show

04:38 May 15, 2024

Miniature Poodle Wins Westminster Dog Show

A miniature poodle named Sage won the top prize Tuesday night at the 148th Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

That is the 11th victory for poodles at the famous dog competition in New York City – only wire fox terriers have won more times.

Kaz Hosaka is the handler for Sage. “No words,” he said about Sage’s win and added, “So happy — exciting.” He also was the handler of Spice, when that miniature poodle won the 2002 Westminster.

But Hosaka said this latest victory would be his final competition after 45 years.

Hosaka said Sage “gave a great performance for me.” The black poodle won over six other dogs to take the “best in show.” Second place went to Mercedes, a German shepherd.

Others in the final round included Comet, a shih tzu, Monty, a giant schnauzer, Louis, an Afghan hound, Micah, a black cocker spaniel, and Frankie, a colored bull terrier.

While Sage was going around the competition ring, a protester interfered in the event. The protester carried a sign urging people to “boycott breeders” and tried to enter the ring. Security guards seized the activist. Police and the animal rights group, PETA, said three demonstrators were arrested.

Rosalind Kramer, a judge at the event, called the final lineup “excellent, glorious.” Monty’s handler and co-owner, Katie Bernardin added, “just to be in the ring with everyone else is an honor.”

Dogs first compete against others of their breed. Then the winner of each breed goes up against others in its “group.” The seven group winners meet in the final round.

The “best in show” winner gets a trophy and a place in dog-world history, but the prize does not include money.

Besides the winners, other dogs were also popular with the crowd. A lagotto Romagnolo named Harry made people laugh by sitting up and begging for a treat from his handler; and a vizsla named Fletcher appealed to the crowd by jumping up on its handler after finishing a turn around the ring.

There were also some very big dogs at the event. One was Ralphie, a great Dane weighing 80 kilograms. His much smaller handler, Shane Jichetti, said it takes a lot of experience to show an animal so big. But she added, “If you have a bond with your dog, and you just go with it, it works out.”

The Westminster show dates to 1877 and centers on the traditional purebred judging that leads to the “best in show” prize. But over the last few years, the club has added agility and obedience events open to mixed-breed dogs.

This year, a border collie-papillon mix named Nimble became the first non-purebred winner of the agility competition.

Kramer, the best in show judge, made a point of thanking “every dog, whether it’s a house dog or a show dog."

“Because," she said, "you make our lives whole.”

I’m Caty Weaver.

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