Buddy Holly, a six-year-old petit basset griffon Vendeen from Palm Springs, California, won the 147th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, beating out over 3,000 dogs from 210 breeds and varieties to claim the most prestigious prize in the US. As the first of his breed to win, Buddy Holly made history. The petit basset griffon Vendeen was bred to track horses in the Vendee department of western France. Buddy Holly won the hound group and was named best in show, while the prize for reserve best in show, or runner-up, went to the winner of the toy group, a Pekingese named Rummie, from breeder and owner David Fitzpatrick.
Judges examined the dogs up close, placing their hands on the animal, and then watched the handlers lead them around the floor, grading them on breed standards for appearance, temperament, size, coat, and other characteristics. The show, which dates back to 1877 and has become an annual television event, was held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the New York City borough of Queens, the site of the US Open tennis tournament.
Janice Hayes, the dog’s co-owner and handler, said after the show, “I never thought PBGV would do this. Buddy Holly is the epitome of the dog show.” Each breed produces a winner, representing the best of what artificial selection can create from the descendants of wolves. Breed winners are separated into seven groups to determine the best of show finalists: hound, toy, non-sporting, herding, sporting, working, and terrier. The show, which has traditionally been held at Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan, was moved upstate to a smaller arena on the expansive grounds of Lyndhurst Mansion during the previous two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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