TARRYTOWN, NY (AP) – Now this dog has something to honk on the horn after.
A bloodhound named Trumpet won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Wednesday night.
The trumpet struck a French bulldog, a German Shepherd, a Maltese, an English setter, a Samoyed and a Lakeland terrier to take the trophy.
“I’m so excited about Trumpet,” said trader Heather Helmer, who is a co-owner and breeder of the 4-year-old.
Trumpet became the first bloodhound to win Westminster.
Winston, a French bulldog owned by NFL defensive lineman Morgan Fox, finished second in the country’s most prestigious dog show.
The competition drew more than 3,000 purebred dogs, ranging from affenpinschers to Yorkshire terriers. The goal is to crown the dog that most represents the ideal of his breed.
Usually held in the winter in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the show moved to the suburb of Lyndhurst last year and this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Westminster is often described as the Super Bowl by American dog shows, and Winston aimed to make it that for Fox, a defensive lineman who was just signed by the Los Angeles Chargers and has played for the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers.
Before the finale, Fox said he was “ecstatic” when Winston got there.
“He’s basically a superstar,” Fox said on the phone Wednesday.
The dog came from his grandmother, Sandy Fox, who has been breeding and showing Frenchies for years. Morgan Fox grew up with one and says that when he saw Winston grow up, he knew the dog was a winner in both appearance and character.
“He’s a pleasure to be with,” Fox said. “He always walks around with as much of a smile on his lips as a dog can have.”
Winston, who is currently the top-ranked dog in the country, faces Striker, a Samoyed who also reached the final last year; River, a big-winning German Shepherd, and Trumpet, a bloodhound, descended from the 2014 winner of another major show, the Thanksgiving season national dog show.
After topping the dog rankings last year, Striker has recently hit a couple of dog shows “to keep his head in the game,” said trader Laura King.
What makes the snow-white Samoyed shine in competition? “His heart,” said King of Milan, Illinois.
“His charisma shows up when he shows up,” and he complains vocally when he doesn’t, she said.
While he was quiet in the ring, an Alaskan Malamute made a howling – cheering? – soundtrack to a semifinal round with samoyed and other breeds classified as working dogs.
Then there’s MM, the Lakeland Terrier – terriers have won many Westminster – and a Maltese who is clearly aiming for star status: Her name is Hollywood.
But the ball’s bell could be an English setter. Belle reached the final after being spun around in the ring by one of her breeders and owners, Amanda Ciaravino – a feat at an event where many top challengers are accompanied by full-time career traders.
“It’s amazing,” said an emotionally charged Ciaravino. “I’m so proud of her.”
Monty, a giant schnauzer who made it to the semifinals on Wednesday night but did not advance, is a son of the dog who won Westminster’s second place in 2018. Monty, classified as a working dog, enjoys gardening – which for him means presenting a football to be thrown while trader and co-owner Katie Bernardin’s husband, Adam, mows the grass, she said.
Another competitor, Ooma, was the only Chinook to show up. The sled pullers are the official dog in the state of New Hampshire, but they are rare nationwide.
“I would love to see a few more” in the Westminster ring, said Oomas breeder, owner and trader, Patti Richards of West Haven, Vermont. “Without people who want to exhibit and breed, we are in danger of losing our breed.”
Bonnie the Brittany is owner-driver Dr. Jessica Sielawa’s first show dog, and the two did not come from there with a leash on Wednesday. But their teamwork extends beyond the ring.
Bonnie accompanies Sielawa to work on her chiropractic practice in Syracuse, New York, where “she has really helped people with their emotional stress,” Sielawa said.
She also plans to have her show dog certified as a therapy dog.