There was no cue card controversy at this pageant, as a German trotted off as the undisputed winner (or, top dog) of the 140th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night.
To be exact, a German shorthaired pointer named C.J. won the Best in Show award at the annual event that attracts thousands of well-bred and well-behaved canines from around the world to Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The three-year-old C.J., short for California Journey, and his handler, Valerie Nunes-Atkinson, had previously won top honors in pointer breed category as well as the group for sporting dogs before entering the final round to compete for Best in Show. To win that round, C.J. had to outshine six competitors from canine groups ranging from toy (a shih tzu named Don’t Stop Believing) to terrier (Skye terrier Good Time Charlie) while holding up under the close inspection of Best in Show judge Dr. Richard Meen, a Toronto-based psychiatrist.
Despite the sometimes exorbitant costs of breeding and grooming a top show dog, the Westminster Kennel Club’s annual show does not offer a monetary prize to winners. The prize for Best in Show is a “polished pewter gallery bowl,” but winning the event also comes with the added bonus of increasing a dog’s value on the breeding circuit.
For C.J.’s owners, though, the prestige of winning the event is prize enough. Nunes-Atkinson told the New York Times: “For us in the sport, this is the pinnacle. This is what we strive for, what we shed tears over. The best dogs come here. This is the show to win.”