Meet This Year's Westminster Winner

Sage, a miniature poodle, wins best in show
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2024 1:00 AM CDT
Meet This Year's Westminster Winner
Sage, a miniature poodle, competes with handler Kaz Hosaka for best in show competition during the 148th Westminster Kennel Club dog show Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.   (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

For a last hurrah, it was a Sage decision. A miniature poodle named Sage won the top prize Tuesday night at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, in what veteran handler Kaz Hosaka said would be his final time at the United States' most prestigious canine event. After 45 years of competing and two best in show dogs, he plans to retire. Sage notched the 11th triumph for poodles of various sizes at Westminster; only wire fox terriers have won more, the AP reports. The last miniature poodle to take the trophy was Spice, with Hosaka, in 2002.

Striding briskly and proudly around the ring, the inky-black poodle "gave a great performance for me," Hosaka said. Sage bested six other finalists to take best in show. Second went to Mercedes, a German shepherd whose handler, Kent Boyles, also has shepherded a best in show winner before. Others in the final round included Comet, a shih tzu who won the big American Kennel Club National Championship last year; Monty, a giant schnauzer who arrived at Westminster as the nation's top-ranked dog and was a Westminster finalist last year; Louis, an Afghan hound; Micah, a black cocker spaniel; and Frankie, a colored bull terrier.

Besides the winners, there were other dogs that were hits with the crowd. A lagotto Romagnolo named Harry earned a chuckle from the stadium audience by sitting up and begging for a treat from his handler, and a vizsla named Fletcher charmed spectators by jumping up on its handler after finishing a spin around the ring. While Sage was going around the ring, a protester carrying a sign urging people to "boycott breeders" tried to climb in and was quickly intercepted by security personnel. Police and the animal rights group PETA said three demonstrators were arrested. Charges have not yet been decided.

(More Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show stories.)

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