Congratulations to CJ, this year’s recipient of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show’s Best in Show title. CJ is the third German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) to win the title in the show’s 140-year history.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” his happy handler, Valerie 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.”
Nunes-Atkinson acknowledged that CJ wasn’t considered a front-runner for the title. She said that while you couldn’t go wrong with any of the other group winners, “I believe in my dog 100 percent.”
One of the crowd favorites was Annabelle, an almost 4-year-old Bulldog who won the Non-sporting Group.
“I couldn’t take my eyes off her,” her handler, Jean Hetherington, told the New York Times last night, referring to the first time she saw Annabelle years ago, when she judged the Bulldog at another dog show.
The crowd also roared for Rumor, a 4-year-old German Shepherd who won the Herding Group. When asked by USA TODAY what she liked best about Rumor, co-owner Pamela Buckles replied, “Her heart. The love and affection she shows me. I just think she’s beautiful.”
Other group winners were Lucy, a Borzoi (Hound), who was named the reserve (runner-up) winner; Panda, a Shih Tzu (Toy); Bogey, a Samoyed (Working); and Charlie, a Skye Terrier (Terrier).
As for CJ, he’ll be appearing on “Good Morning America” Wednesday, then visiting the Empire State Building, and then having lunch at Sardi’s.
“He was born an old soul,” his owner, Valerie Atkinson, told reporters after the show. “He’s never done anything wrong.”
By the way, if you were wondering why 10-year-old Uno the Beagle, who took the 2008 Best in Show title and is one of the most popular winners ever, did not appear on last night’s telecast as advertised, he was barred from the event by Westminster officials because he hadn’t been registered to attend. Uno, who’d been driven from his home in Texas to attend the show, “was requested to leave the premises,” Westminster spokeswoman Gail Miller Bisher told the Times. The Associated Press compared this diss to Derek Jeter being tossed out of Yankee Stadium. Boo!
If CJ has you thinking about getting a GSP, please consider adopting one — there are plenty of what the American Kennel Club describes as “friendly, smart and willing to please” dogs available in shelters and through rescue organizations such as National German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue and New Beginnings German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue.
Photo via Twitter