The first show of 2013 took place on Friday, January 4, in Talmadge, Ohio, where Shetland Sheepdog GCh. Grandgables The Frat Boy was Best in Show from an entry of 746. Saturday found shows in six more locations around the U.S.

On Saturday in Texas, Sandy Wheat selected Australian Shepherd GCh. HarmonyHill’s Money Talks as the final winner from an impressive entry of 1918. ‘Cash’ is owner-handled by Leon Goetz. ln Minnesota, where the entry was 1,832, Joe Purkhiser selected Bearded Collie GCh Spiritwood’s Gandalf The Blue as BIS, handled by Mark Bettis.

There were 1,224 dogs entered in Ohio, where Smooth Collie GCh. C and J Silver Charm of Chrysalis was BIS, owner-handled by Cheryl Thompson, under Walter Sommerfelt. Rita Holloway was the BIS judge in Massachusetts and selected Schipperke GCh. Delamer Black Ice, owner-handled by Krista Nuovo, as her winner. The entry there was 1,173. From an entry of 1,036 in South Carolina, Bichon Frise GCh. Overtops and the Winner Is was the victor under Bonnie Linnell Clarke, handled by Dennis Brown. In Florida, from an entry of 880, Mike Pitts handled the 2011 Number 1 dog of all breeds, Black Cocker GCh. Casablanca’s Thrilling Seduction, to BIS under Jane Forsyth.

But the big entry for the weekend was in the desert in Southern California. The Empire Polo Club in Indio, just 20 miles southeast of Palm Springs, is the gorgeous setting for the Kennel Club of Palm Springs show. If there’s a more beautiful show in the U.S. I haven’t yet been to it.

The entry on Saturday this year was one shy of 3,500. The largest entries were in Rhodesian Ridgebacks (116), Golden Retrievers (99), Whippets (90), French Bulldogs (73) and Doberman Pinschers (72). What is fascinating are the breeds that perhaps typically have smaller entries, such as Australian Terriers (46), Basset Hounds (46) and Boston Terriers (43).

At the end of a day filled with tough competition and quality dogs, judge Sari Brewster Tietjen was tasked with finding the day’s Best in Show winner. Her first contender, from the Sporting Group, was English Setter GCh. Oakley’s B’Dazzled. ‘Dazzle,’ bred by Paula Dempsey and Jim Jannard, is handled by Bruce and Tara Schultz for owners Don and Georjean Jensen, and Erik and Jennifer Strickland. She was 2012’s Number 4 Sporting dog. Bruce and Tara also handle the Hound Group winner, who was also Number 4 in her Group in 2012, Bloodhound GCh. Quiet Creek’s Kiss and Tell. ‘Kiss’ is bred and owned by Susan LaCroix Hamil and Heather Whitcomb.

Also among the country’s top dogs last year was Terrier Group winner GCh. Afterall Painting the Sky, bred by Al Pertuit and Betty Seaton. Handled by Gabriel Rangel for owners Victor Malzoni, Torie Steele, Diane Ryan, and Scott and Mary Olund, the Wire Fox Terrier was the Number 1 Terrier and Number 4 among all breeds last year. Standard Poodle ‘Ally,’ GCh. Brighton Lakeridge Encore, the 2012 Number 2 Non-Sporting dog, won her Group, handled by Tim Brazier for owners Toni and Martin Sosnoff. She is bred by L’Dyne Wicker Brennan and Debra Ferguson Jones.

Last year’s Number 3 Herding dog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi GCh. Coventry Allure at Wyndstar, won the Herding Group. Also an ‘Allie,’ the Corgi is handled by Jenny Wornall for owners Alexandra Geremia and Bill Shelton. Her breeders are Bill Shelton, Steve Leyerly, Beckie Williams and Kerry Kirtley.

GCh. Afterall Painting the Sky began her year the same way she ended 2012: a victor. Photo by Kayla Bertagnolli for Best In Show Daily.

Two relative newcomers were also in the final lineup. Gabriel Rangel won the Working Group with Giant Schnauzer GCh. Lowdown Remys Girl v Ardenhout. Bred by Janine Starink and Lisa Hawes, ‘Abbey’ is owned by Mickey and Linda Low. The Toy Group went to GCh. Victory Spencer, the Japanese Chin bred by Victor Cohen and Leslie Ann Engen, owned by Maurine Cooley, Toni Bonnar and Marji McCormick, and handled by Joe Berkau. In reality ‘Spencer’ is not new to the ring, as he was a multiple Group and all-breed Best in Show winner last year, but 2013 may prove to be an even bigger year for him.

Reserve Best in Show in Palm Springs went to Japanese Chin GCh. Victory Spencer. Photo by Kayla Bertagnolli for Best In Show Daily.

After sundown, as temperatures in the desert plummeted, the crowds around the ring bundled up and stayed to see who the winner would be. Judge Tietjen no doubt appreciated the quality in her final, and in the end it was the Wire Fox Terrier Sky that she chose as her winner, making her the current Number 1 dog among all breeds for 2013. Sky was also the victor at one of the last, and most prestigious, shows of 2012 when judge Edd Bivin selected her as Best in Show at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. The Japanese Chin was Reserve Best in Show.

Watch Best In Show Daily tomorrow, as well as Billy Wheeler’s Dog Show Poop, for a recap of today’s winners around the country.