It was quite a rally for Rumor—and a commanding comeback for German shepherds, too. Rumor was crowned America's top dog Tuesday night when, a year after a near miss on the very same green carpet, she came out of retirement to win best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club, the AP reports. Cheered loudly all around the ring by a packed crowd at Madison Square Garden, she's just the second German shepherd champion at the event that began in 1877. "Unbelievable," handler and co-owner Kent Boyles said. The 5-year-old Rumor beat out a Norwegian elkhound, a Pekingese, a miniature poodle, an Irish setter, a boxer, and a Norwich terrier in the final ring. An Irish setter called Adrian finished second.
"The German shepherd standard talks about quality and nobility," judge Thomas Bradley III said. "She is just magnificent." While German shepherds hadn't won a lot here, many of them were on the green carpet of the center ring in 2002 when Westminster honored search and rescue dogs for their tireless work following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The solemn tribute is considered by many the most cherished memory ever at Westminster. "They're loyal, dependable dogs that you can count on," Boyles said. (This year, the crowd was charmed by an easily distracted beagle.)