TARRYTOWN, New York –
Now this bloodhound has something to honk his horn about.
A bloodhound named Trumpet won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Wednesday night, marking the first time the breed has won the most coveted award in American dogdom.
Trumpet circled the finalists’ ring with a steady, powerful stride, beating a French bulldog, a German shepherd, a Maltese, an English setter, a Samoyed and a Lakeland terrier to take home the trophy.
“I was surprised,” said handler, co-breeder and co-owner Heather Helmer, who also goes by Heather Buehner. The competition was tough, “and sometimes I feel like the hound is a bit of a loser.”
After making dog show history, does Trumpet have any idea how special he is?
“I think so,” said his manager based in Berlin Center, Ohio.
After his victory, Trumpet patiently posed for countless photos and eventually began doing what bloodhounds do best: sniff. He examined some decorative flowers that had been put up for the pictures, and didn’t seem to find anything worth mentioning.
Winston, a French bulldog co-owned by NFL defensive lineman Morgan Fox, took second place in the country’s most prestigious dog show.
“I’m so proud of him and the whole team,” Fox said via text message afterward.
Fox, who just signed with the Los Angeles Chargers and has played for the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers, got Winston from his grandmother, Sandy Fox. He has bred and shown Frenchies for years.
Morgan Fox grew up with one and says that as she watched Winston mature, she knew the dog was a winner in both looks and character. He entered Westminster as the highest ranked dog in the country.
“It’s a pleasure to be around him,” Fox said by phone before Winston’s award. “He always walks around with the biggest smile on his face that a dog can have.”
The final seven also included Striker, a Samoyed who also made it to the final last year; River, a winning German Shepherd; MM the Lakeland terrier; Belle, the English setter, and a Maltese who clearly aspired to stardom: her name is Hollywood.
After topping the dog rankings last year, Striker has lately attended a few dog shows “to keep his head in the game,” handler Laura King said.
What makes the Snow White Samoyed shine in competition? “Her heart,” said King, of Milan, Illinois.
“His charisma shows when it shows,” and he complains vocally when it doesn’t, he said.
While I was quiet in the ring, an Alaskan Malamute gave a howl, cheers? — soundtrack for a semifinal round with Samoyeds and other breeds classified as working dogs.
The competition attracted more than 3,000 purebred dogs, from Affenpinschers to Yorkshire Terriers. The objective is to crown the dog that most represents the ideal for his breed.
The show, which usually takes place in the winter at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, moved last year and this year to the suburban Lyndhurst property due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Some dogs, like golden retrievers, took on dozens of competitors just to win their race and move on to the semi-finals. Others were among the few representatives of rare breeds.
Ooma was the only Chinook to appear. Sled pullers are the official dogs of the state of New Hampshire, but they are rare throughout the country.
“I’d love to see a couple more” in the ring at Westminster, said Ooma breeder, owner and handler Patti Richards of West Haven, Vermont. “Without people showing and reproducing, we are in danger of losing our race.”
Even for the hopefuls who didn’t win a ribbon, the event was a chance to show off the dogs and all they can do.
Bonnie the Brittany is owner and handler Dr. Jessica Sielawa’s first show dog, and their teamwork extends beyond the ring.
Bonnie accompanies Sielawa to work at his chiropractic office in Syracuse, New York, where “he really helped people with their emotional stress,” Sielawa said.
He also plans to certify his show dog as a therapy dog.