NEW YORK (Reuters) — A peppy Scottish terrier known as Sadie was crowned the nation’s top dog on Tuesday, winning Best in Show at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club championship.
Sadie, a jet-black four-year-old bitch formally known as Ch Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot, displayed the ideal combination of breeding standards and confidence, beating out 2,500 entrants at the 134-year-old dog show.
“She’s the total package,” marveled Elliot Weiss, of Eagle, Idaho, who judged the Best in Show round before a cheering, capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden.
“This is the complete dog ... That’s what you want a Scottie to look like,” said Weiss.
Sadie was the dog to beat. She went into the competition as a favorite of both oddsmakers and experts, in sharp contrast to the upsets of recent years by the likes of a charismatic, baying Beagle and an aging, plodding Sussex Spaniel, both of which were little known but clear crowd favorites.
On Tuesday, the loudest cheers were for a sleek Doberman Pinscher and a French Bulldog whose mugging won the crowd over.
The final round of judging was disrupted when two female protesters strode out to the winner’s circle and held up signs, including one reading “Mutts rule,” a reference to the “Dogs rule” ad campaign that has run throughout the competition.
The protesters were apparently opposed to the pure-breed dog culture and events like the WKC show that promote it. They were quickly removed by security as the audience booed.
Sadie made history by joining scores of other terriers as the winningest group in WKC history, said David Frei, co-host of the live cable television coverage of the annual show.
Terriers have won nearly half the events throughout the club’s history. Sadie also made last year’s Best in Show round. The WKC was her 112th Best in Show and the eighth WKC victory for a Scottie.
This year’s competition saw 2,500 entrants representing 173 breeds and varieties. Other breeds vying for the big prize on Tuesday were a toy Poodle, a Puli, a Whippet and a Brittany.
For the next week or so, Sadie will bask in the kind of limelight traditionally reserved for more established one-named celebrities like Madonna, Cher or Usher, with a round of television appearances as the nation’s newest media darling.
Handler Gabriel Rangel said Sadie was “a very happy dog. She always enjoys herself. Nobody ever tells her ‘no.’
Reporting by Chris Michaud, editing by Anthony Boadle