In the post show news conference, David Fitzpatrick announced that his Pekingese, GCH CH PalaceGarden Malachy, the 2012 Westminster Kennel Best In Show winner, would be retiring to become his pampered house pet. This is the happy fate of most Westminster BIS winners.
As we wave goodbye to Malachy, we turn our attention to the Westminster competitors that we are likely to see again in the show ring. Most of the dogs who picked up Group awards will seek to catch the “Westminster Wave,” the momentum that inevitably follows those dogs that had breakout performances at the Garden. Malachy capitalized on his Toy Group win at the 2011 Westminster show to return this year and win the whole thing. Here are the dogs that I think might ride the wave all the way to a top ranking this year.
I had predicted that the Sporting Group would be the most competitive this year and Westminster certainly bore that out. From the shock of the defeat of 2011’s Number One Sporting Dog in the breed to the surprise return to the ring by 2010’s Number One Sporting Dog, the Sporting Group was a parade of magnificent animals. I expect that the Black Cocker, GCH CH Casablanca’s Thrilling Seduction, will shake off the breed loss and stay on long enough to capture the all-time BIS record for a Sporting Dog. However, the German Wirehaired Pointer, GCH CH Mt View’s Ripsnorter Silver Charm, and the English Springer Spaniel, GCH CH Wynmoor Champagne Supernova, who copped Group Two & Three, respectively, may make that a longer process than originally thought.
The real breakout performer so far this year has been the Working Group winner, the Doberman Pinscher, GCH CH Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici. The Dog Show Poop DOG2WATCH blitzed the Rose City Classic, taking all four Working Groups and three of the BIS. I wonder what the record is for a breeder/owner/handled dog? I had high expectations for the Kerry Blue Terrier, GCH CH Perrisblu Kennislain’s Chelsey, and was pleasantly surprised to see her take the Terrier Group and turn in a brilliant appearance in the final. After suffering through 2011 without a Terrier in the Top Ten, I am relieved to think it won’t happen again this year.
The Miniature Pinscher, GCH CH Marlex Classic Red Glare, finished 2011 as the Number Three Toy Dog and the Number 12 Dog All Breeds. So far this year, Classie and owner/handler Armando Angelbello have collected four BIS and a Number Five All Breed berth. They will be using their Group Three performance as a springboard for the coming year’s campaign. If I had expected the Sporting Group to be competitive, I had not expected the Non-Sporting Group to be won by the Dalmatian. It’s true that GCH CH Spotlight’s Ruffian was among my picks for this Group and it is to his and handler Michael Scot’s credit that no one was thinking about the Standard Poodles during the final as Ian delivered all the drama and flash one could want.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of dogs that will catch the Westminster Wave, nor am I writing off any dog because they didn’t get out of the breed at the Garden, but I will be standing on the beach to greet the first one in. And that’s today’s Back story.