TARRYTOWN, NY (AP) – Now this dog has something to complain 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 his Berlin Center, Ohio handler.
After his victory, Trumpet patiently posed for countless photos, eventually starting to do what hounds do best – sniff. He examined some decorative flowers that had been mounted for the photos, seeming to find nothing of note.
Winston, a French bulldog co-owned by defensive lineman Morgan Fox, took second place at the nation’s most prestigious dog show.
“I’m so proud of him and the entire team,” Fox said via text message afterwards.
Fox, who just signed with the Los Angeles Chargers and played for the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers, won Winston from his grandmother, Sandy Fox. She has bred and shown 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. He entered Westminster as the highest ranked dog in the country.
“It’s a joy to be around,” Fox said by phone ahead of Winston’s award. “He always walks around with as much smile on his face as a dog can have.”
The final seven also included Striker, a Samoyed who also reached the finals last year; River, a highly successful German Shepherd; MM the Lakeland terrier; Belle, the English Setter, and a Maltese who clearly craved stardom: her name is Hollywood.
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 up 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.
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.
Some dogs, like golden retrievers, have faced dozens of competitors just to win their breed and advance to the semifinals. Others were among the few representatives of rare breeds.
Ooma was the only Chinook that showed up. Sled pullers are the official state dog of New Hampshire, but they are rare across the country.
“I would love to see some more” at the Westminster ring, said Ooma breeder, owner and keeper Patti Richards of West Haven, Vermont. “Without people who show and breed, we risk losing our race.”
Even for the hopefuls who didn’t walk away with a ribbon, the event was an opportunity to show the dogs and all they can do.
Bonnie the Brittany is owner-handler Dr. Jessica Sielawa, and their teamwork extends beyond the ring.
Bonnie accompanies Sielawa to work at her chiropractic office in Syracuse, New York, where “she really helped people with their emotional stress,” Sielawa said.
She plans to get her show dog certified as a therapy dog as well.