February 15, 2006

best in show, aftermath

since i can't do rufus justice, here's an excerpt from an article in the new york times:
The crowd, perhaps viewing familiarity in the breed as the most important trait, had pulled mostly for the golden retriever and was increasingly smitten with the Dalmatian and the sheepdog. When the crowd hushed and Reynolds made his pronouncement, it seemed almost like an upset, although it might have been the furthest thing from it.

Selecting a terrier — even a variation that had never won — from the more than 2,500 dogs in 165 breeds that had entered the competition restored some semblance of tradition.

"The crowd never sways it," said Barbara Bishop, one of Rufus's co-owners. "A judge does what a judge wants to do. You could stand on your head and scream, and it wouldn't matter."

Kirk [Rufus's handler] said she was most worried about the Dalmatian, Boomer (Ch. Merry Go Round Mach Ten), owned by Dick and Linda Stark. They also own Carlee, the German shorthaired pointer who won last year's best in show. The Starks became the first owners to win back-to-back best in shows with different dogs.

Rufus, shorthaired with a strong, bullish build and a stoic presence, is the type of dog that the country will come to know, if not recognize and adore. But why a victory for the dog-next-door type is so rare at Westminster is a matter of debate in dog circles. There is a sense that in a show designed to find an extraordinary and memorable dog as best in show, most of the top breeds are just too, well, ordinary.

while i agree that the crowd had cheered most for the golden retriever, i can't really say that rufus didn't get a very warm welcome. the crowd loved him, egg-shaped head and all. also, compared to, say, a scottish deerhound, bull terriers are practically everyday dogs -- all you need to do to see one is visit target.

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