TARRYTOWN, NY – Trumpet, a beautifully wrinkled and cheeky bloodhound from Illinois, won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Wednesday night, sniffing out a host of competitors that included a fluffy Samoyed, a silky Maltese and a Shepherd German all-business.
Posing in front of a huge silver cup and a slew of ribbons during the traditional champion’s glamorous post-victory shoot, Trumpet didn’t have much to say. But he looked every square inch like the champion, his grim face and quizzical look, for some reason adding to his dignity rather than detracting from it. He is the first sleuth to win Westminster.
“I was shocked,” said Heather Buehner, the head of Trumpet.
“There were seven beautiful dogs in that ring. You know, I feel like sometimes a sleuth can be a bit of an underdog. So I was absolutely thrilled.
Amazingly, she says, Trumpet attended her first dog show in January.
Second place, or Best in Show Reserve in Westminster lingo, went to an attractive French Bulldog named Winston.
The show, traditionally held in winter at Madison Square Garden, has been moved for pandemic-related reasons to Lyndhurst, a country estate here, for a second consecutive year. Preliminary rounds were held on outdoor arenas and Group and Best in Show rounds were held in a large tent filled with a small but enthusiastic number of dog lovers.
It was hardly like a typical year, though the familiar sound of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York” filled the suburban air as the evening drew to a close. Back in Midtown, about 25 miles south, the Empire State Building lit up purple in recognition of the dog show.
With his heavy gait and heavy manners, Trumpet, who is 4, was not necessarily the first choice of onlookers who seemed drawn to showier, more effervescent dogs. The biggest cheers of the evening were reserved for Striker, a charismatic, blindingly white Samoyed who was among the seven group winners.
Striker also reached the final last year, only to lose to a tiny Pekingese named Wasabi.
But Trumpet had that special something that champion dogs have. And he comes from a winning strain. His great-grandfather, Trigger, once held the record for the dog with the longest ears, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Trigger’s right ear was 13.75 inches long; his left was 13.5 inches long.