Uno remains most popular pooch at Westminster dog show
By Associated Press | February 15, 2016, 18:45 EST
NEW YORK (AP) — After all these years, Uno is still No. 1.
More than 2,700 dogs are entered in the Westminster Kennel Club show that started Monday, with a couple of clear favorites. Charlie the Skye terrier and Rumor the German shepherd head the pack, and could be picked as the nation’s top pooch.
The owners can only hope their champions become another Uno.
Uno barked and bayed his way to best in show at Madison Square Garden in 2008. To this day, the beagle remains the most popular dog in Westminster history.
“Like they said, he’s America’s dog,” handler Tristan Huebner said. “Everyone loves him.”
“He’s an international celebrity. Everywhere we go, he’s recognized,” he said.
Uno is almost 11, and the brown on his face has turned mostly white, his black side panels have faded. But he’s in great health and still barks up a storm, as he did over the weekend during a trip to Rockefeller Center.
“I never get tired of his famous howl. It was the howl heard around the world,” Huebner said.
Uno was in town to film an ad for the summer movie “The Secret Life of Pets,” an animated comedy featuring the voices of Kevin Hart, Lake Bell and Dana Carvey. Wagging his tail a mile a minute, Uno came with the red, white and blue leash that President George W. Bush gave him as the first Westminster winner to visit the White House.
No beagle had won the Westminster show until Uno, and he drew a standing ovation from a packed Garden crowd the night when Aaron Wilkerson guided him around the ring.
“He was an everyday dog that people could relate to,” longtime Westminster television host David Frei said.
Uno lives on a 200-plus acre ranch with owner Caroline Dowell in San Leanna, Texas, near Austin. He plays outdoors with a neighbor’s potbellied pig and romps around the house with other beagles.
“He’s a perfect lap dog,” Huebner said.
Uno got a ride to New York with Dan Huebner, Tristan’s dad and the manager of Dowell’s ranch — “1,754 miles, about that,” he said. Uno originally was going to fly aboard Purina’s plane and when that didn’t quite work out, Ann Viklund of Nestle Purina PetCare and their team helped arrange his stay.
Last year, Miss P became the second beagle to win Westminster.
In early judging Monday, Rumor won his breed of breed and so did Inuk the American Eskimo dog for the eighth straight year. Ricky the standard poodle also prevailed — two years ago he won Crufts, which is the biggest dog show in the world with more than 20,000 entries in England.
Patricia Hearst Shaw won an award with her French bulldog. Over the years, she’s done quite well with the breed.
“You make an educated guess when they’re young whether they have a chance to do well,” she said. “They you hope they can hold it together.”
The hound, toy, nonsporting and herding groups were to be judged Monday night. The top sporting, working and terriers get chosen Tuesday night, followed by the best in show pick shortly before 11 p.m.
Written by Ben Walker