Rumor Has It! Meet This Year’s Best In Show Winner

Photo Credit: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

(WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW/DOGS) Tuesday night kicked off the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, where more than 2,800 dogs competed to win the grand prize of Best in Show.

Rumor, a female German Shepherd who barely lost to a German shorthaired pointer at last year’s show, returned to win her breed category for the second year in a row, and–to top it all off–win Best in Show.

This feat makes her only the second German Shepherd to ever win the top prize at the Westminster Dog Show.

Continue reading for more on Rumor and the other big contenders from last night’s show. — Global Animal

Rumor is only the second German Shepherd to ever win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Photo Credit: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

New York Times, 

As Rumor, a German shepherd, took long, elegant strides around the ring at the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, she seemed to cover every inch of the green carpet.

It was as if there were no other dogs in the room, and soon that was indeed true as Rumor stood alone, earning best-in-show honors on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

“The German shepherd standard talks about quality and nobility,” said Thomas Bradley, the best-in-show judge. “She is just magnificent.”

Last year, Rumor, named after the Adele song “Rumor Has It,” was favored to win it all, but she was upset by a German shorthaired pointer named C. J.

Click here for 10 reasons why mixed breeds and mutts rock!

Kent Boyles, Rumor’s handler, had planned to retire her, but he decided to give it another run. This time, at 5 years old, Rumor played the role of spoiler, winning the herding group Monday night by beating Preston, a puli and the top-ranked dog of last year.

As it turned out, Rumor had the canine equivalent of Adele’s haul at the Grammys, which seemed fitting because both Boyles and Rumor had watched that awards show.

“She had a pretty good night,” Boyles said of Adele. So did Rumor, who defeated Duffy, a Norwegian elkhound; Chuckie, a Pekingese; Aftin, a miniature poodle; Tanner, a Norwich terrier; Devlin, a boxer; and Adrian, an Irish setter and the runner-up.

“He’s the type of dog you want to have a beer with,” said Adrian’s handler, Adam Bernardin.

The 6-year-old Adrian continued to defy expectations and proved that he was not just a pretty redhead.

“He’s not dumb,” Bernardin said, trying to counter the stereotype of the breed. “He’s smart. He just chooses to listen to what he wants to.”

In a ring dominated by male handlers — five of the seven handlers in the final were men — an 81-year-old dog show lifer held her own.

“Work it, girl,” someone from the crowd shouted as Patricia Trotter raced around the ring with Duffy, the Norwegian elkhound.

Trotter got her first Norwegian elkhound, named Candy, in 1949. Since then, Trotter has been a significant part of the breed’s history. She has won the hound group at Westminster 11 times and has claimed just about every honor short of best in show at Westminster.

“This is the dream of everyone,” she said.

Trotter is a retired schoolteacher — “It took me 35 years to get out of eighth grade,” she said — who taught American history, and she has also made history in the dog show world. The American Kennel Club awarded her a Lifetime Achievement Award three years ago with a silver bowl, but Westminster’s coveted pewter bowl remains elusive.

It was a bittersweet Valentine’s Day for Diego Garcia and his boxer, Devlin. The crowd fell hard for Garcia after Devlin won the working group. Devlin, who weighs 52 pounds, jumped into his arms, and the two embraced, sharing wet, warm kisses.

Valerie Nunez Atkinson poses with German shorthaired pointer CJ after winning Best in Show at last year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Photo Credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Then Garcia melted the crowd’s heart. “For two years, she gave her life for me,” he said. “I can’t ask for anything more.”

Usually, the night before a show, handlers follow a routine. Typically, Devlin would retire to her crate to rest for the big day. “Last night, she slept in the bed with me,” he said. His wife did not seem to mind.

When Garcia woke up Tuesday morning, he started to cry, he said. “This is her last show,” he said. After living with Garcia and his wife in Lillington, N.C., for more than two years, Devlin will return to her owner’s home in British Columbia.

About 90 minutes before Rumor returned to the ring for the best-in-show judging, she rested quietly, with a purple towel over her crate for privacy. Boyles did some calisthenics on the grooming table, stretching his hamstrings.

At home in Edgerton, Wis., they stretch their legs in other ways. Boyles takes his four-wheeler out on the trails as Rumor runs nearby. “I haven’t run over her yet,” he said.

Even though Boyles has said this before, this was probably Rumor’s final show. She will now return home and resume her role as the family pet and hang with her best buddies — a Chihuahua named Massimo and a Chinese crested named X, short for Exorcist.

And just like Adele, motherhood will play a prominent role. “Puppies are in her future,” Boyles said.

No More Trump Visit?

For the past few years, the victory tour of the Best in Show winner has routinely included New York sights, morning television shows and, oddly, a photo op with Donald J. Trump. Sadie the Scottish terrier. Miss P the beagle. Banana Joe the affenpinscher.

Donald Trump poses with Malachy, a Pekingese and top contender at the Westminster Kennel Club’s Best in Show in 2012. Photo Credit:

That is probably going to change this year, if only because Mr. Trump, now the president, is dealing with much bigger issues at the moment. But should it? Some Washington watchers have suggested that it might not be a bad idea for Mr. Trump to get a pet, if only for the cuddle points:

“Presidential pets are good P.R.,” U.S. News and World Report wrote in December. “They’re good for the commander in chief’s health. And of course there’s the old saying, usually attributed to President Harry Truman: ‘You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.’”

The Washington Post reported recently that Mr. Trump was to become the first president in 150 years who did not own a pet. That looked as if it was about to change when a prominent Florida philathropist reportedly offered him a Goldendoodle puppy late last year. But the deal didn’t go through; apparently, the New York Post reported in January, she changed her mind and decided to keep the dog, named Patton.

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