Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2023: See photos of the furry contestants

Buddy Holly the PBGV, Rummie the Peke, Winston the Frenchie and Ribbon the Australian Shepherd are headed to the finals on Tuesday, along with three still to choose.

NEW YORK – It could be the day of the petit basset griffon Vendéen named after Buddy Holly. Or the Pekingese could win his breed’s third Westminster Kennel Club dog show in just over a decade.

And what about the French bulldog that almost won last year? Or will the best purple and gold ribbon on display go to… Ribbon?

Buddy Holly the PBGV (for short), Rummie the Peke, Winston the Frenchie and Ribbon the Australian Shepherd are headed to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Finals on Tuesday, along with three other finalists yet to be chosen.

The top four were given a chance to compete for the Best in Show trophy after making it through two judging rounds on Monday. First, each got the better of other dogs of his breed, and then of his “group”, for example, toy dogs or hounds.

Ribbon, the Aussie, is “like the fun girl at the party,” host Jessica Plourde said. Buddy Holly is “just a PBGV through and through,” host and co-owner Janice Hayes said. (The full name of the cheerful low-hanging French rabbit-hunter breed is pronounced peh-TEE’ bah-SAY’ grihf-FAHN’ vahn-DAY’-ahn.)

Rummie arrives in Westminster with handler, owner and breeder David Fitzpatrick, who rode two more Pekes wins at Westminster: Malachy in 2012 and Wasabi in 2021. Rummie has what it takes too, he said.

“He moves so beautifully, true to the Pekingese type, a lot of poise, presence — all rolled into one, here,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Frenchman, Winston, finished second at Westminster last year and won last fall’s National Dog Show, hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. It now represents the most popular dog breed in the United States, as of rankings released in March.

“It just steals your heart,” manager and co-owner Perry Payson said after Winston’s spirited turn, which included an impromptu jump into a decorative box in the middle of the ring.

But if those four were the chosen finalists, there were other fan favorites as well.

There was the hound that bowed low to a judge, the shiba inu shown by a 10-year-old handler, and the Ibizan hound that breeder, owner and handler Alexandria Mitchell brought to a strong display.

Ibizan hound Hugo made it through the first judge’s cut. It’s a feat for a breeder-owner-handler at a show where many exhibitors handle other people’s dogs as a career.

“I’m speechless right now,” said Mitchell, of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Audra Maes, at 10, was decades younger than many other handlers in the televised semifinals (not unheard of in dog shows). But the Denver girl summed up the experience offhandedly: “It was pretty good.”

Associated Press writer Anna Furman contributed. New York AP reporter Jennifer Peltz has been covering the Westminster dog show since 2013.

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