Dog show

Gulfport Pup Preps for Westminster Dog Show

Fanatical Gulfport Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Michele True shows a grand champion level pup at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in hopes of winning Best in Show.

Miss Bliss, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sporting a Marilyn Monroe mole and a price tag of over $4,500, is lounging with her tongue out on her owner Michele True’s Gulfport porch most of the time.

On June 12, at 1 p.m. sharp, the local spaniel will be canine royalty, brushed and blown, prancing across the stage at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Tarrytown, New York and broadcast live in prime time.

The show begins Friday, June 11; the judges will choose a four-legged winner by Sunday, June 13.

Best in Show, Westminster Edition

Cavalier King Charles SpanielThe Westminster Dog Show, an illustrious canine competition that compares American Kennel Club (AKC) dog breeds on their compliance with specific breed standards, is held outdoors on an estate in Tarrytown instead of Madison Square Garden for the first time in 145 years.

There will be no physical spectators or vendors this year, but the cameras will keep rolling.

“There’s no money, but there’s a big smelly trophy,” True said, with a sleepy little spaniel at her feet. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the dedication to the breed and for a lot of people, the validation of making a place for the job.”

For Miss Bliss and the 33 other Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who will compete in the race to perfection, the change of pace – cause and effect of COVID-19 – does not change the intensity of the competition.

“Of course, I hope she wins, but I’m really rooting for the breed,” True said. “I would be happy to see a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the top.”

The toy breed has never won Best in Show at Westminster before

This is the first time True and Bliss have entered the ring at Westminster, which furry competitors can only attend if they are the winners of a champion dog show and are chosen in a lottery system, or they are officially invited.

“I know some wonderful breeders whose dogs weren’t chosen,” True said. “She seems to have this perfect star line.”

blood lines

Miss Bliss is 11 months old and relatively new to the dog show game, as is her owner, who started showing and breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels six years ago in Florida.

Previous Miss Bliss competitions around the country have generally ended in success.

“We only show a dog if the dog likes it, like when we bring Miss Bliss into the ring, she really struts around, she hears people cheering and she’s like ‘is this for me? ‘” True said. “We have a boy who immediately responded ‘yeah no’ so it depends on the personality of the dog.”

Miss Bliss receives a two-hour grooming session the night before the show and a bonding period with her handler in Tallahassee before the weekend.

“They’re getting used to each other’s energies, sleeping together, taking walks,” True said.

Tune in and follow the Gulfport champion live on westminsterkennelclub.org.

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