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Archive for Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Whippet gets fast start at America’s top dog show

February 16, 2010

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— Chanel loves to chase birds and tennis balls. Now this lean whippet is running after a bigger prize.

Clocked at 35 mph in the wild, the sleek 2-year-old glided across the green carpet at Madison Square Garden and captured the hound group Monday night at Westminster, America’s most prestigious dog show.

“Nothing fazes her,” handler Lori Wilson said.

Whippets will always be a sentimental favorite at this show, ever since little Vivi ran away. A day after winning an honorable mention in 2006, she was set for a flight back to the West Coast when she got loose from her travel crate, dashed down the runway at Kennedy Airport and disappeared into the night.

The sweet champion formally known as Bohem C’est La Vie was never heard from again despite extensive rescue efforts that lasted more than a year.

Joining Chanel in the final ring will be a Canadian-bred French bulldog that became the first of her kind to win the nonsporting group. Bru began the day by winning her breed, beating out an entry from the former Patty Hearst.

A white toy poodle named Walker who overcame his fear of big crowds won the toy group and a puli was a repeat winner among the herding bunch.

The sporting, working and terrier groups were set for this evening, with judge Elliott Weiss ready to make his best in show pick shortly before 10 p.m. CST. Sadie the Scottish terrier remained the solid favorite to win best in show.

The Garden was steamy for the opening session. More than half of the 2,500 dogs were housed right off the main floor, some of them comforted by ice packs and mini-fans, and thousands of spectators jammed inside on a holiday to see them.

“It’s a madhouse,” said Jane Bates, co-owner of a top golden retriever called Treasure.

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