The final day of judging at Westminster is coming to an end, with only three Groups and Best in Show left to judge. We’ve heard so many nice reports about the venue at Piers 92/94, with the only complaint being that if someone is showing numerous breeds and in both piers it can be impossible to make them all. I also heard that bleacher-style seating to replace the stands in the Garden would be much appreciated. I’m sure the show committee will be working on improvements before next year.

We expected several hot contests in the Groups this evening, and as usual at the Garden we weren’t disappointed.

Karen Wilson selected the German Wirehaired Pointer GCh. Mt. View’s Ripsnorters Silver Charm, as her Group. The Number 1 dog of 2012 is owned by Victor Malzoni, Jr. and handled as always by Phil Booth. Photo by Dan Sayers.

The Sporting Group

This is, of course, the Group where we expected the big contest for the evening, with both the Number 1 and the Number 2 dogs of all breeds in competition. The fact that the 2010 Number 1 dog of all breeds and 2011 Westminster Group winner ‘Beckham’ was also in the ring, and judge Karen Wilson has done well for him in the past, made it seem as though it would be quite an interesting contest. But in the end she made quick work of selecting her winners.

Karen made a cut of seven dogs: the Pointer Ch. Seasyde Fashion Avenue, the German Wirehaired Pointer GCh. Mt. View Ripsnorter Silver Charm, the English Springer Spaniel GCh. Wynmoor Champagne Super Nova, the Golden Retriever GCh. Gemini Fallchase The Butler Did It, the Clumber Spaniel GCh. Clussexx Collaboration With Traddles, the English Setter GCh. Stargaz’r ‘N Wingfield Time Will Tell, and Beckham, the Cocker.

It was an impressive cut. Pointer ‘Ginger’ is a daughter of the 2008 Number 2 dog among all breeds (although Dave Frei said on the air that she was Number 1 of all breeds) Ch. Cookieland Seasyde Holly Berry. ‘Holly’ was handled by Michael Scott, and she won 117 Best in Shows and two National Specialties. Ginger, also shown by Michael, was bred by Helyne Medeiros and Sean and Tammy McCarthy and is owned by Helyne and John and Hailey Griffith.

Wire Pointer ‘Oakley’ needs no introduction, as he was the Top Dog of all breeds last year. He is handled by Phil Booth for owner Victor Malzoni, and was bred by Helen George and Claire and Kelly Wisch. He’s the top-winning German Wirehaired Pointer of all time and has also won two National Specialties.

Springer ‘Peyton’ also needs little introduction. The Number 2 dog among all breeds last year gave Oakley a run for his money right up through the last weekend of shows in December. Handled by Robin Novack, he is owned by Celie Florence, Beth Fink, Ken McWilliams, Erin Kerfoot and Dolores Streng and was bred by Billie, Erin and Charlie Kerfoot and Ruth Kirby.

Golden Retriever ‘Cody’ is handled by Jane Alston-Myers for owners Yvonne and Jose Herrera, Maura Roxby and Cindi Metcalf. He was bred by Cindi and Barbara Tucker. His sire ‘Reno,’ Ch. Rush Hill’s Winner Take All, was a BIS winner. Reno’s sire ‘Parker,’ Ch. Goodtime’s Trademark of Rush Hill, was a Best in Show winner. Parker’s sire, Am. Can. Ch. Rush Hill’s Haagen-Dazs, was an all-breed BIS winner and is one of the top specialty winners in the history of the breed.

Clumber Spaniel ‘Seymour,’ bred by Doug Johnson, Jamie Hubbard and Sheila Masaeus and owned by Bill Holbrook, Beth Dowd, Missy Capone, Jeanne Haverick and Patricia and Adriana Jaramillo, is handled by Jorge Olivera. Seymour is, as his name suggests, a result of collaborative breeding between team Clussexx and Sheila’s Traddles kennel in Denmark. Clussexx has, of course, won two previous Best in Shows at the Garden: in 1996 with Clumber Ch. Clussexx Country Sunrise and in 2009 with Sussex Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee.

‘Trevor’ the English Setter is a son of Ch. Chebaco Blames It On Trabeiz, Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show at AKC/Eukanuba in 2008 and the Number 2 Sporting dog that year. ‘Ross’ was bred by Eileen Hackett, who handled him, Carlos Puig, Peg Ziebart and Kate Hanlon, and owned by Pat and Don Coller and Eileen. Hopefully that combination will work again for Trevor; he is owned by the Collers and Eileen, who shows him, and was bred by Eileen, Kate, Pat Skol and Lois Biedron.

Once the cut was made Karen pulled out Oakely, Beckham, Peyton and Seymour the Clumber… and that was that. Those were her placements.

The Portuguese Water Dog GCh. Claircreek Impression De Matisse, handled by Michael Scott for owners Milan Lint, Peggy Helming and Donna Gottdecker was Working Group judge Robert Vandiver’s choice to go on to compete for Best in Show. Photo by Dan Sayers.

The Working Group

Bob Vandiver was given the task of sorting through the Best of Breed winners from the Working Group. He made a cut of eight, including ‘Macey’ the Boxer, ‘Fifi’ the Doberman Pinscher, ‘Dora’ the Giant Schnauzer, ‘Scout’ the Great Dane, ‘Candy’ the Samoyed – all girls, I might add! – and ‘Tanner’ the Kuvasz, ‘Pilot’ the Rottweiler and a relative newcomer compared to the others, ‘Matisse,’ the Portuguese Water Dog.

Boxer GCh.Winfall I Dream of Style was the 2012 Number 4 Working dog. She is handled by Michael Shepherd for owners Keith and Cheryl Robbins, George and Barbara Adkins, Tina Porter, Lee Stanton and J. Pinson. Bred by Tina and Lee, Macey is the litter sister to the 2011 Number 1 Working dog and Number 3 among all breeds GCh. Winfall Brookwood Styled Dream, although she’s made quite a winning record of her own.

Doberman Pinscher GCh. Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici is another who has been written about a great deal on Best In Show Daily, as she was the Number 1 Working dog and Number 3 among all breeds last year, Group First at the Garden in 2012 and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show at AKC/Eukanuba this past December. She is handled by her breeder/owner Jocelyn Mullins, co-bred and owned by Kevin Mullins and also owned by Suzy and Dick Lundy.

Great Dane GCh. Longo Miller N Lore’s Diamond Lil, last year’s Number 6 Working dog, has five generations of Best in Show winners behind her. Handled by Laura Coomes for breeder/owners Tootie Longo, Jay Miller, Lorraine Matherly and Charles Crawford, she was co-bred by Dave Miller and at just 2 ½ years of age she is now the top Best in Show-winning Any Other Allowed Color Great Dane of all time.

Samoyed GCh. McMagic’s Candied Ham of Pebblesrun won her third BOB at the Garden on Tuesday. Bred by Patti McCallum, owned by Patti and Amy and Andrew Green and handled by Andrew. Candy is the daughter of the Best in Show-winning Ch. Pebbles Run Hammy Davis Jr.

Giant Schnauzer GCh. Kenro’s Witching Hour, Number 1 in her breed last year, is handled by Amy Booth for owners Robin Greenslade, Luke Norton and Doug Hill, and breeders Robin and Ken Greenslade and Karen and James Mancini. Her dam, Ch. Kenro’s Keeping Time, was a multiple BIS and National Specialty winner and Number 1 Giant in 2005, 2006 and 2007, also handled by Phil and Amy.

Now for the boys. Kuvasz GCh. Szumeria’s Wildwood Silver Six Pence was the Number 2 Working dog in America in both 2011 and 2012, and has become the top-winning Kuvasz of all time with 194 Group Firsts and 50 all-breed Best in Shows. Handled by Diana Wilson, Tanner was bred by Lynn Brady, Connie Townsend and Bea and Clay Page and is owned by Lynn and Connie with Mercedes Vila and Claudia Muir.

Rottweiler GCh. Chancellor Flirt’s Hi Flyin’ Gladiator was the 2012 Number 10 Working dog. Handled by Perry Payson, he is bred and owned by Wendi Lewellen. Just a few generations back in his pedigree there are three Best in Show Rottweilers: Am. Can. Ch. Degrassos Jacob v Waxel, Am. Can. Ch. Jade Hagen Kodiac and Ch. Iron Chancellor Bergenhoff. He descends from numerous Specialty BIS winners as well, and was himself the 2012 National Specialty winner.

Peggy Helming is well known for her Pouch Cove Newfoundlands – her ‘Josh’ was Best in Show at the Garden in 2004 – but she’s had success with Porties as well. GCh. Claircreek Impression de Matisse was bred by Donna Gottdenker, who owns him with Peggy and Milan Lint. Matisse is sired by Ch. Pouch Cove Caribe, who was Winners Dog at the 2009 National and went back to win the Stud Dog class at the 2012 National. Matisse’s dam, Ch. Claircreek Femme Fatale, is an American, Canadian, Mexican and World champion.

And it was the new kid on the block that caught Mr. Vandiver’s eye for the blue ribbon in the Group. Behind Matisse stood Doberman Fifi, Boxer Macey and Rottweiler Pilot.

Jay Richardson chose the Smooth Fox Terrier GCh. Slyfox Sneak’s A Peek as his Group winner. The black and white dog with the split facial markings is owned by J.W. Smith and handled by veteran handler Eddie Boyes. Photo by Dan Sayers.

The Terrier Group

More Terriers have gone Best in Show at Westminster than dogs from any other Group. Tuesday evening the competition in the Terrier Group was serious, as it always is, but the favorite to win – last year’s Number 1 in her Group, the Wire Fox Terrier GCh. Afterall Painting The Sky – had an unexpected rival. After what many no doubt assumed was a permanent retirement, the 2010 Number 2 Terrier and 2011 Westminster Group winner, Smooth Fox Terrier GCh. Slyfox Sneak’s A Peak, came back to the Garden, like Cocker Beckham did, for another attempt at Best in Show. But first he had to win the Group.

Jay Richardson judged Terriers, and made a cut of eight from quite a handsome bunch of dogs. His final contenders were ‘Adam’ the Smooth, ‘Sky’ the Wire, Border Terrier GCh. Meadowlake Simply Sinful, Lakeland Terrier GCh. Larkspur Acadia Save Me A Spot, Russell Terrier GCh. Goldsand’s Columbus, Scottie GCh. Lomondview Clementina, Welsh GCh. Shaireab’s Bayleigh Maid of Honor and Westie GCh. Deerhaven Hez Justin Kredible at Orion.

Border Terrier ‘Maya,’ 2012’s Number 6 Terrier, has won more Groups than any other Border Terrier in the history of the breed. She is breeder/owner-handled by Karen Fitzpatrick, whose Meadowlake dogs have been so prominent in the breed the past decade, and she is also owned by Kiki Courtelis, Joyce Wilkinson and David Fitzpatrick. She was co-bred by Tracy VanNiel.

‘Spot’ is an unlikely name for a Lakeland, but this one’s had spots saved for him often enough the past year! He was the Number 3 Terrier last year, handled by R.C. Carusi for owner Tony Barker in England, along with Susan Fraser and Maria Sacco, who bred him with Norm and Lynda Kenney. Behind him are at least seven generations of Best in Show winners in the U.S. and/or Canada.

Scottie ‘Phoebe,’ an import from Scotland, has been Number 1 in her breed the past two years, was Number 2 Terrier in 2012 and Number 7 Terrier in 2011. Bred by Carol Annan, she’s been handled throughout by Ernesto Lara for owners John and Daphne Eggert. Her sire, Ch. Raglan Royal Connection with Brio, has not only been a top sire in Europe, he comes from a splendid pedigree. His grandsire, Swedish Ch. Raglan Rory, was Dog of the Year in Sweden in 2001. Both Rory and Royal Connection’s sire, Se. Ch. Raglan Royal Prospect, were World Winners in Amsterdam in 2002. Phoebe’s dam, Eng. Ch. Lomondview Clementine, is a Rory granddaughter, with a great deal more quality in her pedigree besides. And the apple, as they say, hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

Another family that has proven itself generation after generation is that of Welsh Terrier bitch ‘Jenny.’ The Shaireab’s/Bayleigh breeding program has produced so many Best in Show winners, National Specialty winners and top sires and dams that I can’t count them all. Jenny was bred by the Shaireab’s/Bayleigh ladies, Keith Bailey and Sharon Abmeyer, and is owned by them with Tony Lee and Xianguy Xie. She’s handled by Luiz Abreu and Tracy Szaras.

Westie ‘Justin’ was bred by Jane and George Kays and is owned by them with Debra Bouderra, Ida Keushgenian and D. and P Cendel and handled by Rebecca Cross. He made quite a splash with spectators at the Garden this year – if first had gone to the dog that got the most applause, Justin would have been the winner! It figures he’d be a charmer, because in his “other” life he’s done some modeling for Martha Stewart’s pet line and has been in TV commercials, newspaper ads and even on “Good Morning America.” Oh, yeah, and he’s also from champion American and British bloodlines.

Of course, this is the first year that Russell Terriers competed at Westminster, so it’s quite impressive that ‘Bosse’ made the cut in the Group. But he’s been making history since the breed began in AKC competition last summer. Handled by Allison Sunderman, he is the only Russell to win a Best in Show in the U.S., and last year he took home the big rosette four times and won 28 Group Firsts. What a record for this dynamite little dog, who was bred in Sweden by Madeline Sandell-Bark and is owned by Mark Ulrich and Christina Areskough.

And sure enough Adam the Smooth won the Group, with Sky second, Maya the Border third and Bosse making history yet again for his breed by scoring the fourth place ribbon.

Best in Show at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show was awarded by judge Michael Dougherty to the Dutch-born Affenpinscher GCh. Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, handled by Ernesto Lara for owners Zoila Truesdale and Mieke Cooymans. Photo by Kayla Bertagnolli.

Best in Show

I have to admit that I was inordinately proud watching Best in Show at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club show. Perhaps it was seeing the beautiful Old English Sheepdog, whose breeder/owner-handler and his family are such good dog people and who triumphed from the Bred-by-Exhibitor class, where we should find the best quality dogs. Perhaps it was the Portuguese Water Dog, perfectly trimmed and showing like a veteran. Maybe it was seeing those two standing alongside last year’s Number 1 dog, Number 1 Hound and Number 1 Toy, as well as one of 2012’s top Non-Sporting dogs, also beautifully trimmed and presented, and the 2010 Number 2 Terrier, handled by one of our sport’s veterans, and realizing that they were all of such quality.

One thing I found so delightful watching the Groups this year was the number of dogs that were obviously having fun in the ring. We can never see too much of that, and the judges seemed to enjoy it as much as the spectators. Watching Best in Show I also realized anew how much time and love and dedication each handler, breeder and owner has put into each of those dogs. Best in Show judge Michael Dougherty was right when he said, before announcing his winners, that each exhibitor had done a “masterful job” with their charges.

As everyone knows by now, the kiss Ernesto gave Joey as he took him off the table to move him for Mr. Dougherty must have been a kiss for luck, and it worked. The little monkey-faced dog from Holland performed like a dog 10 times his size and he and his handler well deserved the win that all dog people most covet. And although I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that any one of the six remaining dogs could have been Reserve Best in Show – the first time this award has ever been given at the Garden, handled beautifully by Mr. Dougherty – it was a sort of affirmation of faith in what our sport is all about when Swagger and Colton Johnson were handed that ribbon.

Joey was scheduled to retire this evening, win or lose. Now, instead of a real retirement, he’ll make the rounds, as his predecessors have done, as our representative for purebred dogs in New York and around the country for the next year. America is going to love getting to know Joey and Ernesto!