Westminster names top dog
NEW YORK (AP) -- A Kerry blue terrier finally gave America a Triple Crown winner.
Mick, a familiar face at dog shows across the country, won the only title missing on his resume Tuesday night -- best in show at Westminster.
Upset the last two years on the green carpet at Madison Square Garden, the 61/2-year-old terrier would not be denied this time. He posed perfectly, and judge Irene Bivin rewarded him with the silver championship bowl.
Ch. Torums Scarf Michael, as he is formally known, won the world's largest dog show, Crufts, in England in 2000 and took the major AKC/Eukanuba National Invitational Championship in Orlando, Florida, in December. But he'd never been able to win America's most prestigious show, mostly because he'd get a case of the jitters.
Not this time.
"I just wanted him to keep it together, and the rest was up to him," handler Bill McFadden said. "It was an awesome lineup."
To win his 113th best in show lifetime, Mick had to beat out a handsome German shepherd, a popular Newfoundland and a slow-moving Pekingese that was primped to the nines. Overall, he was picked as top dog among 2,603 entries in 159 breeds and varieties.
A crowd of more than 10,000 saw Mick continue a string of terrier wins at Westminster. Overall, terriers have won 43 of the 95 best in show titles presented.
While Bivin picked Mick, the fans had their own ideas about who should win. They cheered wildly when Dallas, the German shepherd, entered the ring and they kept up their whistles and clapping for Josh, the Newfoundland, and Les, the Pekingese.
But Bivin marked her book and headed straight for the Kerry blue.
Mick celebrated by wagging his tail, jumping on McFadden and leaping into a box that said best in show, as if to underscore the win.
"Even with a great dog, it is difficult to keep him on his game," McFadden said. "Any of the dogs could have won tonight."
Mick came to New York last year as a heavy favorite, but was too jumpy and lost out to a miniature poodle called Surrey Spice Girl. A year before, he was beaten out by a bichon frise named J.R.
His main competition this time was from Dallas, whose handler, James Moses, had the only other Westminster win by a German shepherd -- Manhattan in 1987.
But Moses knew ahead of time that this could be tough because Bivin was judging. Last year, she passed him over in the herding group for Welsh corgi called Sammy Sosa.
Going into this week's two-day event, Moses even called the prospect of facing Bivin "a nightmare."
The rest of the best in show lineup included a lively Brittany Called Jester, he was semiretired from show competition last year before making a comeback and repeating in the sporting group.
An Ibizan hound called Bunny was bidding to become the first of his breed to win at Westminster and a standard poodle also made the final seven.
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