Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Rumor has it: Top dogs compete for honours in New York

After endless primping, cheers and more than a little drool, the Westminster Dog Show culminated with a triumph for a German shepherd named Rumor.

The champion was crowned after an extensive judging finale during which Rumor, a crowd favourite, was paraded with six other contenders including a majestic Irish setter named Adrian, and Chuckie, a ground-hugging Pekingese furball.

The win marks just the second Westminster crown for a German shepherd, a breed known for its “quality and nobility,” said Thomas Bradley III, the final arbiter of the proceedings.

Tuesday capped the 141st instalment of Westminster, an annual February ritual that, along with Fashion Week, helps New Yorkers to survive a midwinter slog of frigid temperatures, transit delays and cranky half-sick colleagues.

Madison Square Garden was nearly at capacity on Valentine’s Day, with bursts of applause for popular breeds such as the golden retriever and St Bernard, and knowing laughs as handlers used treats to try to coax silence from yappy contestants.

Nearly 2 800 dogs from 200 breeds competed this year. Judges assess how the dog compares with official breed standards. Does the beagle’s snout do justice to the breed’s sniff instincts? Do “ratter” terriers look like they would catch vermin? Beyond that, to garner the top prize, an ambitious canine is one who knows to “bring it” when it counts.

Rumor, who is five years old, is a natural performer, said her owner and handler, Kent Boyles. She had been favoured to win Westminster last year but finished runner-up in the Best in Show finale.

After last year’s disappointment, the dog didn’t compete for a year, while Boyles contemplated whether she was ready for motherhood.

Sitting out of the ring didn’t sit well with Rumor, who watched her housemates travel to shows. “She hated it at first, she’d go nuts, barking and carrying on,” he said.

Rumor adjusted to life on the sidelines but Boyles, who loves German shepherds for their intelligence and capacity for empathy, began to consider one last try at Westminster.

After winning, Boyles told a television interviewer that “there are puppies in the future” for the champ.

The selection of Rumor once again relegated Patricia Trotter to bridesmaid status after a lifetime of championing the Norwegian elkhound cause, a midsized, grayish breed originally bred to hunt moose.

Trotter beamed as she prepared to present her dog, Duffy, who had triumphed in the hound category over beagles, fox hounds and a whippet, among others. “It feels like old times,” said the 81-year-old Trotter.

Duffy was bred from the sperm of the son of a prior Westminster finalist that was frozen in a sperm bank for 17 years until a suitable partner could be located. “Yes for science!” she exclaimed.

For Laurel Cain Denk, a California veterinarian, just bringing her two-year-old Tibetan mastiff to New York was a goal that helped her to get through cancer treatments.

“He’s going to be a pain,” she said, speaking beside the 61kg giant named Kalhant shortly before presenting the dog in the working category. Alas, Kalhant did not advance. “But he’s going to have fun and I’m going to have fun,” Cain Denk said. “This is really one of the best moments of my life.” – AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

John Biers
John Biers
Cover business news for AFP in New York. I post things I find interesting that may not be widely seen, including some opinions I may not agree with.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Kenya’s beach boys fall into sex tourism, trafficking

In the face of their families’ poverty, young men, persuaded by the prospect of wealth or education, travel to Europe with their older female sponsors only to be trafficked for sex

High court reinstates Umgeni Water board

The high court has ruled that the dissolution of the water entity’s board by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was unfair and unprocedural

Mkhize throws the book at the Special Investigating Unit

It’s a long shot at political redemption for the former health minister and, more pressingly, a bid to avert criminal charges
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×