Now this dog has something to brag about.
A bloodhound named Trumpet won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Wednesday night, marking the first time the breed has won the award for the most coveted best show in US dogdom.
Rounding the finalists’ ring with a firm, powerful stride, Trumpet defeated a French Bulldog, a German Shepherd, a Maltese, an English Setter, a Samoyed and a Lakeland terrier to claim the trophy.
“I was shocked,” said trainer, co-creator and co-owner Heather Helmer, who also goes by Heather Buehner. The competition was tough, “and sometimes I feel like the bloodhound is a bit of an underdog.”
After making history at dog shows, does Trumpet realize just how special he is?
“I think so,” said her Berlin Center, Ohio handler.
Winston, a French bulldog co-owned by defensive lineman Morgan Fox, took second place at the country’s most prestigious dog show.
The competition attracted over 3,000 purebred dogs, ranging from affenpinschers to Yorkshire terriers. The objective is to crown the dog that most represents the ideal for its breed.
Usually held in winter at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the show moved to Lyndhurst’s suburban estate last year and this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Westminster is often described as the Super Bowl of US dog shows, and Winston intended to make it that way for Fox, a defensive lineman who was just signed by the Los Angeles Chargers and played for the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers.
Before the finals, Fox said he was “ecstatic” when Winston got there.
“He’s basically a superstar,” Fox said by phone Wednesday.
The dog came from his grandmother, Sandy Fox, who has been raising and showing Frenchies for years. Morgan Fox grew up with one and says that as he watched Winston mature, he knew the dog was a winner in both looks and character.
“It’s a joy to be around,” Fox said. “He always walks around with as much smile on his face as a dog can have.”
Winston, currently the highest ranked dog in the country, faced Striker, a Samoyed who also reached the finals last year; River, a winning German Shepherd, and Trumpet, a bloodhound descended from the 2014 winner of another big show, the National Dog Show of the Thanksgiving season.
After topping the canine rankings last year, Striker has been participating in a few dog shows “to keep his head in the game,” said trainer Laura King.
What makes the snow-white Samoyed shine in competition? “Your heart,” said King, of Milan, Illinois.
“His charisma shows when he’s showing up,” and he vocally complains when he’s not, she said.
While he was quiet in the ring, an Alaskan Malamute gave a howl – applause? — soundtrack of a semi-final featuring the Samoyed and other breeds classified as working dogs.
Then there was MM, the Lakeland terrier – terriers have won many Westminsters – and a Maltese clearly aiming for stardom: his name is Hollywood.
But the beauty of the ball could be an English setter. Belle made it to the finals after being escorted into the ring by one of her creators and owners, Amanda Ciaravino—a feat at an event where many of the top competitors are accompanied by full-time career coaches.
“It’s amazing,” said an emotional Ciaravino. “I’m so proud of her.”
Monty, a giant schnauzer that made it to the semifinals on Wednesday night but didn’t advance further, is the son of the dog that won the 2018 Westminster runners-up award. Classified as a working dog, Monty enjoys working in the backyard — which, for him, means presenting a soccer ball to be thrown while coach and co-owner Katie Bernardin’s husband, Adam, is mowing the lawn, she said.
Another contestant, Ooma, was the only Chinook that appeared. Sled pullers are the official state dog of New Hampshire, but they are rare across the country.
“I’d love to see some more” in the Westminster ring, said Ooma breeder, owner and trainer Patti Richards of West Haven, Vermont. “Without people who show and reproduce, we risk losing our race.”
Bonnie the Brittany is owner Jessica Sielawa’s first show dog, and the two didn’t go out with a ribbon on Wednesday. But their teamwork extends beyond the ring.
Bonnie accompanies Sielawa to work at her chiropractic clinic in Syracuse, New York, where “she really helped people with their emotional stress,” said Sielawa.
She plans to get her show dog certified as a therapy dog as well.