Tail-wagging beagle wins best in show at Westminster
NEW YORK (AP) — A soft-spoken beagle really raised a ruckus. Wagging her tail a mile a minute, Miss P became America's top dog Tuesday night by winning best in show in a big surprise at the Westminster Kennel Club.
At 4, Miss P is related to Uno — in 2008, the immensely popular hound barked and bayed his way to becoming the only previous beagle to win at the nation's most prominent dog show.
Miss P, however, didn't let out a peep in the ring.
Instead, it was the packed crowd at Madison Square Garden that seemed to loudly gasp when judge David Merriam picked her in a dog show world shocker.
Only a half-hour after her win did the 15-inch Miss P, a breed known as "big beagles," started making a noise. And that was only because her people were giving her treats in front of handler Adam Bernardin.
The best-of-seven final ring was full of favorites.
Matisse, a Portuguese water dog that's a cousin of President Barack Obama's family pet Sunny, was the top-winning male in show dog history with 238. Swagger the old English sheepdog finished second at Westminster in 2013 and clearly drew the biggest cheers.
A Skye terrier came in second this time. A standard poodle, a shih tzu owned by Patty Hearst and an English springer spaniel also made it to the last ring.
There's no prize money for winning Westminster. Instead, there's prestige forever in the dog circles, plus the possibility of lucrative breeding rights.
Miss P also earned a full day Wednesday — appearances of morning TV shows, a meeting with Donald Trump, lunch at prominent Manhattan restaurant Sardi's and a walk-on part in the Broadway hit musical "Kinky Boots."
It was the 20th best in show win in the United States for the Canadian-born Miss P. Her call name is short for Peyton, and her official champion's name is Tashtins Lookin for Trouble.
One of her owners is Eddie Dziuk, a co-owner of Uno, who now lives on a ranch in Texas.
Merriam is a retired California trial-courts judge. He has spent more than 50 years with dogs, but this was the first time he'd judged a best in show.