Inspirational Underdog Stories from the Westminster Dog Show


Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, aka Stump, was the oldest dog to win best in show at 10 – he had spent four years in retirement before his big win.

Stump with his master, Scott Sommer.

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Stump was also the first Sussex Spaniel to win Best in Show. Before his victory in 2009, Stump had actually suffered a bacterial infection who nearly killed him. He spent four years in retirement before returning to competition. When his owners and drivers entered him into the show, no one expected him to perform well, let alone win, but he ended up winning the top prize.

Emma the mutt survived a shelter to become an agility candidate.

Emma the pooch successfully performs a high jump.

Emma the pooch successfully performs a high jump.

John Minchillo/AP Images

According to E! News, Emma was found in an abandoned motel in 2010 and brought to a shelter that kills dogs that aren’t adopted within 48 hours. Luckily for Emma, ​​her new owner, Christy Wrede, found her in time and brought her home.

Although Wrede had no training in dog training, she started teaching Emma agility, and she did so well that Wrede enrolled her at Westminster in 2014. It was the first year the competition allowed “mixed-breed dogs” participate in a game of agility, in which Emma competed.

Lonnie, a mixed-race dog born in an animal shelter, was “afraid of everything” before Westminster.

Lonnie, a mixed-breed female from New Jersey, competes in the agility event.

Lonnie participates in the agility part.

Mary Altaffer/Getty Images

Owner Robin Lembo told the Associated Press in 2017, Lonnie was even afraid to get in his car. Lembo started training Lonnie in obedience to boost his confidence, and the pup couldn’t get enough, eventually showing off his moves at the 2017 Masters of Agility.

In 2008, Uno proved that the beagle, a breed that had never won the title of best in show in the competition’s 132-year history, was worthy of this prestigious title.

Uno competed for Best in Show in 2008.

Uno the beagle.

Seth Wenig/AP Images

At the 132nd Westminster Dog Show, K-Run’s Park Me in First, aka Uno, became the first-ever beagle to win Best in Show.

He was a much-loved dog, earning perhaps more fanfare than any other. After his victory in 2008, he became the first winner of Westminster to visit the White House, hosted by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. They met him in the rose garden and gave him a red, white and blue collar.

Although his breed has never won best in show, Heart the Labrador retriever has won the Masters Obedience Championship every year since his debut in 2016.

Heart has won the Master of Obedience title three times.

Heart celebrates with its owner, Linda Brennan.

Mary Altaffer/Getty Images

Although a Labrador retriever has yet to win best in show, Heart and owner Linda Brennan have shown the breed has what it takes to win at Westminster – winning five consecutive trophies for the Obedience Masters Championship since its debut in 2016.

Each championship requires a dog and owner to perform their own six-minute routine to show off their unique moves.

“It’s a bit overwhelming, really‚” Brennan says NJ Advance Media after their last victory, in 2020. “It’s hard to believe. She’s an incredible female dog.”

Hailey the Boston terrier/beagle, a certified therapy dog, won the 2016 All American title.

Hailey was the All American Dog winner of the 2016 Agility Championship.

Hailey practices for her agility race.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Certified as a therapy dog ​​for nine years, Hailey made people smile when she made hundreds of visits a year to hospitals, nursing homes and senior centers, according to the American Kennel Club.

In 2016, she also brought joy to the crowd at the Westminster Master Agility Championship.

In a 2014 interview With ESPN, Hailey’s owner Karen Profenna opened up about having a mixed-breed dog in Westminster. “Some people accept us now, but when we started, people were like, ‘Where is that dog from?’ or ‘Oh my God, what is this? she said.

Alfie, a poodle mix, hit the big leagues after being adopted from a mall pet store.

Alfie, a poodle mix, demonstrates his agility skills.

Alfie, a poodle mix.

Seth Wenig/AP Images

Alfie’s owner, Irene Palmerini, first saw him at a pet store in the mall, on sale for $99. She said he had so much energy that she decided to put him in agility classes. Seven years later, in 2014, she enrolled him in Westminster for the agility test.

“I didn’t bred this dog for agility. He’s just my pet,” she said. the Associated Press in 2014. “(Agility) is all about performance. It doesn’t matter what your dog looks like. It doesn’t matter who his mother or father was.”

Torums Scarf Michael, aka Mick, was the first Kerry Blue Terrier to win Best in Show. Historically, the breed was known as the peasant dog.

He is the first and only Kerry Blue to win.

Mick races on his way to winning Best in Show.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Mick won his title in 2003, making him the first Kerry Blue Terrier to do so. Unlike other terriers, Kerry blues have a less noble lineage and they were often bred as dogs for peasants.

the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation describes them as “a willful, stubborn dog with a mind of its own, obsessed with squirrels (or the house cat), willing to take risks, guess and outsmart its master”.

In 2015, a low-key beagle named Miss P surprised the crowd by beating favorites including Sunny Obama’s cousin and a shih tzu owned by Patty Hearst.

Miss P was named best in show at the 2015 Westminster Dog Show, in a surprise win.

Miss P was named best on show in 2015.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Associated Press noted that “the final best-of-seven ring was full of favourites”, including Swagger, the Old English Sheepdog who had finished second in the competition two years previously.

So the crowd gasped when Miss P was named top dog.

“She’s a princess,” said her handler, Will Alexander.

Plop, who was rescued from a shelter after his owner saw him on Facebook, won the 2019 All American agility category.

Plop with his owner Lisa Topol.

Plop with his master.

Noah K. Murray/AP Images

Small in stature but very fast, Plop was the fastest All American dog in the 2019 agility event. Plop’s owner, Lisa Topol, I found it on Facebook, where it was announced by a shelter in Alabama. They quickly became inseparable and won many agility trials together.

In 1999, Loteki Supernatural Being, aka Kirby, became the first Papillon to win the top prize – he was 8 years old.

Kirby and his owner John Oulton react to their big win.

Kirby and his owner, John Oulton, react to their big win.

Mark Lennihan/AP Images

Kirby made history as the first of his breed to win the top contest, but he was also unique in other ways. He weighed only 6 pounds and was 8 years old at the time, making him one of the oldest dogs to win.

Manager John Oulton told the New York Times in 1999 that Kirby wasn’t as stuffy as he looked. “At home he’s a tough little guy; he goes wild in the yard with the others,” he said.

Foxcliffe Hickory Wind overcame the temperamental nature of his breed to become the first Scottish Greyhound to be named Best in Show.

Foxcliffe Hickory Wind prances on his way to victory.

Foxcliffe with his mistress, Angela Lloyd.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Foxcliffe Hickory Wind won the top prize in 2011. Although hunting dogs can be a bit more skittish at times, Foxcliffe managed to navigate the competition.

His master, Angela Lloyd, said the New York Times, “She was solid and steady and even through all the lights and the cameras and the noise and the spotlight she came through.”


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