PBGV’s Buddy Holly, Rummy Pecki, Winston Frenchy and Ribbon, an Australian shepherd, will head to Tuesday’s final, along with three yet to be selected.
NEW YORK — It could be the day for the Vendéen griffon bird, named after Buddy Holly. Or the Pekingese could not reach the third place of his breed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show win in just over ten years.
And what about the French bulldog that almost won last year? Or will the purple and gold Best in Show ribbon go to the … Ribbon?
Buddy Holly PBGV (abbreviated), Rummy Pecky, Winston French and Ribbon, an Australian Shepherd, head to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Finals on Tuesday, along with three other yet-to-be-selected finalists.
The top four were given the chance to compete for the best in show trophy after two rounds of judging on Monday. First, each of them defeated other dogs of their breed, and then their “group” – for example, toy dogs or hounds.
Ribbon, an Australian, is “like that fun girl at the party,” said handler Jessica Plourde. Buddy Holly is “just PBGV through and through,” said handler and co-owner Janice Hayes. (The full name of the cheerful, short French rabbit-hunting breed is pronounced peh-TEE’ bah-SAY’ grihf-FAHN’ vahn-DAY’-ahn.)
Ramy comes to Westminster with handler, owner and breeder David Fitzpatrick, who has led two other Pekkis to Westminster wins: Malachi in 2012 and Wasabi in 2021. Rami also has what it takes, he said.
“He moves so beautifully like a Pekingese, lots of movement, presence all in one, here,” Fitzpatrick said.
Stiff competition at the 147th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
French, Winston, took second place at Westminster last year and won last fall’s National Dog Show organized by the Philadelphia Kennel Club. Now he presents the most common dog breed in the United States according to a ranking published in March.
He “just steals your heart,” said handler and co-owner Perry Payson after Winston’s spirited turn, which included an impromptu jump into a decorative box in the center of the ring.
But while these four were chosen as finalists, there were other fan favorites as well.
There was a bloodhound that bowed deeply to the judge, a Shiba Inu shown by a 10-year-old handler, and an Ibizan hound that breeder, owner and handler Alexandria Mitchell led to a strong showing.
The dog from Ibiza, Hugo, passed the judge’s first cut. That’s a feat for a breeder-owner-handler at a show where many contestants show other people’s dogs as a career.
“I lost the gift of language,” said Mitchell, of Benton Harbor, Michigan.
At age 10, Audra Mays was decades younger than many of the other handlers in the televised semifinals (unheard of in dog shows). But the Denver girl summed up the experience with aplomb: “It was pretty cool.”
Associated Press writer Anna Furman contributed. AP New York reporter Jennifer Peltz has covered the Westminster Dog Show since 2013.