Westminster Dog Show Sees Surprising Results
For the first time since 2001, a bichon frisé took the top prize at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Chosen as Best in Show, Flynn the bichon won praise for his fluffy and pristine white fur. He is five years old and will likely retire following this crowning achievement.
“It feels a little unreal,” said Bill McFadden, Flynn’s handler. “I came in expecting nothing and just hoping for a good performance and I think I got it.”
After winning their respective groups, seven dogs were able to compete in the Best in Show category. Flynn came out on top in the non-sporting group. The runner up or Reserve Best in Show, was the working group winner, Ty the Giant Schnauzer. He had been the favorite to win Westminster, since he was the number one ranked dog entering the competition.
Other competitors vying for Best in Show included Lucy the borzoi (the hound group winner), a pug named Biggie (toy group) and a border collie called Slick (herding). The sporting group winner, a Sussex spaniel known as Bean, was a crowd favorite due to his enthusiastic trot. Winston the Norfolk terrier was the first of his breed to take the terrier group in 13 years.
The selection of dogs competing for the top trophy came as a bit of a surprise—four of the seven breeds never won Best in Show. A pug, bichon frisé and Sussex spaniel took the honor in the past. The terrier group has the most Best in Show winners—46 to be exact.
Flynn’s grooming helped him stand out among his rivals. His snowy fur received two hours of scissoring prior to the show and was treated with hairspray after being shampooed and conditioned. His handler also used a sparkly powder called Fairy Frost in order to dry up any drool on Flynn’s face.
The bichon’s distinct look, as well as his wagging tail and bright eyes, captured the judges' attention. “When I put my hands on that little dog, he sold himself to me,” said Betty-Anne Stenmark, the Best in Show judge.
A past Grooming Business feature has tips for making a bichon as well-groomed as Flynn: http://www.groomingbusiness.com/Grooming-Business/November-2011/Bichon-Frise-Alternative-Trim/