Rumor is only the second German Shepherd to win Best in Show at Westminster. The last time her breed took top prize was thirty years ago in 1987. In fact, the two German Shepherds are the only winners ever from the Herding Group.
This week was a time for the dogs to strut their stuff at the 141st annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show – one of the most prestigious events in the canine world. (The only sporting event with a longer track record is the Kentucky Derby.) Twenty-eight hundred dogs, representing two hundred different breeds, competed to be judged the best.
Here’s how it works. Each dog competes against others of the same breed. Then the winner of each breed competes in one of seven groups. The seven group winners then compete for the coveted title of Best in Show.
In the running for the top prize was Duffy, a Norwegian Elkhound representing the Hound group; Chuckie, a Pekingese from the Toy Group; Aftin, a Miniature Poodle from the Non-Sporting Group; an Irish Setter named Adrian represented the Sporting Group; the Working group representative was a Boxer named Devlin; and Tanner, a Norwich Terrier from the Terrier Group.
At less than two years old, Chuckie, the Pekingese, seemed to have an edge in the competition, since his daddy won Best in Show five years ago.
But this year, top honors went to Rumor, from the Herding Group, a beautiful 5-year-old German Shepherd who almost won it last year. In fact, it was thought her owner might just let her retire, but decided to let her compete one more time.
When her name was announced as the winner, the crowd went crazy and people were rushing up to get pictures and talk to her handler and owner. But Rumor took it all in stride, at least until she was a guest at Sardi’s restaurant where she got her very own gourmet steak. She definitely enjoyed that part.
By now she is probably back home in Wisconsin, playing with her two buddies, a couple of house dogs, or hanging out with the kids and just doing dog things. I think that’s one of the best parts of Westminster – you see so many beautiful dogs in all different sizes, shapes and colors; but inside – they’re still dogs. For all the grooming and glamor, each one is still somebody’s best friend, when you’re speaking of pets.