Dog show

Westminster Dog Show gets 4 finalists, and one has NFL ties

TARRYTOWN, NY (AP) — Will the hound announce a win, or is his little cousin playing with a win? What about the French Bulldog with an owner in the NFL? Or does the German Shepherd have the guts to win the top prize?

Trumpet the bloodhound, Hollywood the Maltese, Winston the French bulldog and River the German shepherd were chosen on Tuesday to advance to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show finals. Three more finalists will be selected on Wednesday night, when all seven compete for the coveted Best of Show award.

One of Winston’s owners is defensive lineman Morgan Fox, who signed last month with the Los Angeles Chargers after six seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers.

“If this is how my parents felt watching my games all these years, I apologize,” Fox tweeted after Winston’s win.

Athletes have found their way to Westminster in the past.

New York Yankees great Lou Gehrig brought his German Shepherd to competition in the 1930s and fellow Hall of Famer Mike Mussina had an Irish Setter who competed. Big league catcher Ryan Hanigan owned a breed-winning Australian Shepherd during his playing days and former Florida State linebacker Keith Carter showed off a Rottweiler.

Trumpet, a bloodhound from a legendary bloodline, loves crowds and the energy of the big show, say his handlers. River took the ring in stride, but handler Lenny Brown said they were taking the competition “one step at a time.”

And Hollywood has, well, star quality.

“She loves being in the ring. And she loves getting out of the ring too,” handler Tim Lehman told the crowd during an in-ring interview.

Among Hollywood’s pint-sized opponents in the toy group was Porsche, the first-ever semi-finalist of its breed, the Russian toy. He just became eligible for the Westminster show this year. Not quite a year and a half, Porsche took a spirited turn under the lights on Tuesday night.

“Small dog, but big personality,” said owner and handler Jolanta Terrell of North Palm Beach, Fla., before the competition.

Another novelty is the mudi, a Hungarian sheepdog. A mudi named Guava won the breed’s first Westminster Prize.

On the other end of the spectrum, American Staffordshire terrier winner Louie advances to the semi-finals on Wednesday in a bid to secure his best finish result.

After winning the top prize in dozens of other shows, 8.5-year-old Louie is retiring after Westminster, where he made the semi-finals several times.

Whatever happened Wednesday night, he only had to look at his competitors to see his legacy. Two of her daughters and one of her sons won ribbons alongside her in their breed competition on Tuesday.

And for owner Kim Rudzik of Westfield, Massachusetts, Louie has a bigger title than the best of the series.

“Coolest dog ever,” she said.

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