Beagle Is Surprise Westminster Winner

Miss P is grandniece of first beagle winner
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 18, 2015 12:52 AM CST
Beagle is Surprise Westminster Winner
Handler William Alexander shows Miss P, a 15-inch beagle, during the best-in-show competition at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show last night.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A soft-spoken beagle really raised a ruckus. Wagging her tail a mile a minute, Miss P became America's top dog last night by winning best in show in a big surprise at the Westminster Kennel Club. The 4-year-old Miss P is a grandniece of Uno—in 2008, the immensely popular hound barked and bayed his way to becoming the only previous beagle to win at the nation's most prominent dog show. Miss P, however, didn't let out a peep in the ring. "She is a princess," handler Will Alexander says. Only a half-hour after her win did the 15-inch Miss P, one of a breed known as "big beagles," start making a noise. And that was only because her people were giving her treats.

The best-of-seven final ring was full of favorites. Matisse, a Portuguese water dog that's a cousin of President Obama's family pet Sunny, was the top-winning male in show-dog history with 238 best-in-shows. Swagger the Old English sheepdog finished second at Westminster in 2013 and clearly drew the biggest cheers; a Skye terrier came in second this time. A standard poodle, a Shih Tzu owned by Patty Hearst, and an English springer spaniel also made it to the last ring, but Miss P was the one that charmed judge David Merriam. Miss P "never let me down," says the retired California trial-courts judge. "She didn't make any mistakes." (Read more beagle stories.)

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