Dalmatian is spot on, makes Westminster final ring

Feb 14, 2012, 1:33 PM

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – More than 101 Dalmatians have tried to become America’s most prized pooch. More than a thousand, probably.

And they’ve all ended up in the Westminster Kennel Club dog house.

That could change Tuesday night when a sprightly package of polka dots called Ian takes to the final ring at Madison Square Garden.

“He’s silly, crazy and pretty wonderful to live with,” handler Michael Scott said after Monday night’s win in the nonsporting group.

Wobbling the whole way, a people-pleasing Pekingese made quite a walk down the green carpet to join the best of seven collection. He’ll be joined by a German shepherd named Captain Crunch who likes to play soccer with his 15-year-old co-owner and a spirited wire-haired dachshund.

“These are dogs that people recognize, people like them,” Westminster television host David Frei said.

The terrier, sporting and working champions will be picked Tuesday evening, with judge Cindy Vogels choosing the best in show just before 11 p.m. She has a strong terrier background but, as the fanciers like to say, the winner often comes down to “the dog on the day.”

And it could be the Dalmatian. Entered in the very first Westminster in 1877, these fire house dogs have made it to the final cut seven previous times. They’re not alone _ Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and dachshunds also are among the country’s most popular dogs, but have never won the coveted silver bowl at the country’s most prestigious show.

“I don’t know why that is,” said Ian’s owner, Barbara Lyons. “I think it’s because of the fierce competition.”

In fact, she wasn’t expecting this group win, either. She was set to head home to Laguna Beach, Calif., on Tuesday, but was changing her plans.

Ian is certainly distinctive. He has black spectacle markings around his eyes and plenty of spots evenly placed on his coat. He celebrated his win by jumping on most everyone around him.

Ian has won four best in show titles in his career. The Pekingese he’ll face has won a whopping 114 titles.

Malachy the Peke drew cheers that grew louder with every tiny step as he repeated as the top toy. Pink tongue peeking out from his black face, he beat a heralded affenpinscher called Banana Joe in a most competitive group.

“He doesn’t run. He has a dignified Pekingese gait,” handler David Fitzpatrick said.

Mexican-born Captain Crunch romped to victory in the herding group. Handled by old pro James Moses, his champion attracted ample applause, as German shepherds always do at the Garden.

“The crowd really had him up,” Moses said. “He handles the carpet well.”

Handles soccer balls, too. That’s what he enjoys doing with teen Maria Deschamps, one of his several owners.

“I like to play with him all day long,” she said.

Cinders the wire-haired dachshund led the hounds, then wanted to sit rather than stand for her victory picture.

“She’s a clown,” handler Cheri Koppenhaver said.

More than 2,000 entries in 185 breeds and varieties were at the 136th Westminster. Still to show early Tuesday: a wire fox terrier who won the National show and a standard poodle who took the Eukanuba event.

There’s also a black cocker spaniel who was the No. 1 show dog last year _ he’s named Beckham, maybe a good omen since a 12-story ad featuring soccer star David Beckham posing in his underwear is painted on a building that overlooks the Garden.

Beckham the dog, by the way, beat out Malachy as the country’s top-winning show dog in 2011.

Plus there’s a Valentine’s Day treat on tap: A couple from Washington state with a Tibetan mastiff plans to hold their wedding among all the pooches.

Breed winners included a chow chow co-owned by Martha Stewart and a xoloitzcuintli called Giorgio Armani, a nice start for the alphabetically challenged contestant during Fashion Week in New York City.

The xoloitzcuintli (shoh-loh-eets-KWEEN’-tlee), formerly known as the Mexican hairless, is among six new breeds at this year’s show. “Pronounce it!” a couple of fans playfully called out when the name appeared on the scoreboard.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Daniel Guess holds a photograph of himself, right, along with his father, Larry Guess, center, and ...
Associated Press

Gun violence in America: A long list of forgotten victims

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — Amid the stream of mass shootings that have become chillingly commonplace in America, the reality of the nation’s staggering murder rate can often be seen more clearly in the deaths that never make national news. Take this weekend in Chicago. On Monday, a rooftop shooter opened fire into crowds gathered for […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: July 6, Richard III is crowned

Today in History Today is Wednesday, July 6, the 187th day of 2022. There are 178 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On July 6, 1944, an estimated 168 people died in a fire that broke out during a performance in the main tent of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Chrystul Kizer sits in the Kenosha County Courthouse on Feb. 6, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. Wisco...
Associated Press

Wisconsin court to rule on immunity in sex trafficking case

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s Supreme Court is set to decide Wednesday whether a sex trafficking victim accused of homicide can argue at trial that she was justified in killing the man who trafficked her, a ruling that could help define the extent of immunity for trafficking victims nationwide. Prosecutors say Chrystul Kizer traveled to […]
21 hours ago
Brooke and Matt Strauss, who were married Sunday, pause after leaving their wedding bouquets in dow...
Associated Press

Parents of boy, 2, found alone at parade shooting among dead

Aiden McCarthy’s photo was shared across Chicago-area social media groups in the hours after the July 4 parade shooting in Highland Park, accompanied by pleas to help identify the 2-year-old who had been found at the scene bloodied and alone and to reunite him with his family. On Tuesday, friends and authorities confirmed that the […]
21 hours ago
FILE - A truck arrives to pick up a shipping container near vessels moored at Maersk APM Terminals ...
Associated Press

West Coast dockworkers still talking after contract expires

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A contract between shipping companies and 22,000 West Coast dockworkers expired over the weekend. But both sides continued to talk and said they want to avoid a strike that could savage an economy already stressed by soaring inflation and supply chain woes. The contract that expired last Friday covered workers at […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Bradford Freeman, last “Band of Brothers” survivor has died

CALEDONIA, Miss. (AP) — Bradford Freeman, the last survivor of the famed Army unit featured in the World War II oral history book and miniseries “Band of Brothers” has died at the age of 97. Freeman died Sunday at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, according to Lowndes Funeral Home in Columbus, Mississippi. Freeman was born in […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Dalmatian is spot on, makes Westminster final ring