The five-year-old German shepherd with the black and red coat from Wisconsin captured the title of America’s top dog by winning best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Rumor the German shepherd named Westminster’s best in show – as it happened
Minute-by-minute report: Rumor the German shepherd earned the title of America’s best dog by winning the Westminster dog show on Tuesday night
Rumor had come within touching distance of the top prize at Westminster a year ago, entering as the nation’s top-ranked dog but falling short at the final hurdle after winning the herding group to make the last seven. She retired into a presumed life of maternity afterward, but after failing to conceive re-entered competition last month for one final run at America’s most prestigious title.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Kent Boyles, the dog’s breeder, co-owner and handler. “I’m not sure I have the words to describe it.”
Rumor, whose official champion’s name is Lockenhaus’ Rumor Has It V Kenlyn, moved effortlessly and elegantly around the ring to beat out a stacked field of six other group winners, among them a Norwegian elkhound named Duffy, a Pekingese named Chuckie, a miniature poodle named Aftin, a boxer named Devlin, a Norwich terrier named Tanner and an Irish setter named Adrian who was awarded a runner-up prize as reserve best in show.
“She’s got an awesome attitude and a lot of beautiful details about her,” Boyles said. “She really enjoys showing.”
The 51-year-old Boyles becomes the second breeder-owner-handler of a best in show winner in as many years after Valerie Nunes-Atkinson, who did it for the first time since 1983 in helming CJ the German shorthaired pointer last year.
Rumor, named for the Adele song “Rumour Has It” that was released 10 days before she was born in 2011, becomes only second German shepherd in Westminster’s 141-year history to win the sport’s most coveted title and only the second winner from the herding group. Manhattan, another German shepherd, took the top prize in 1987.
“The German shepherd standard talks about quality and nobility,” said Thomas H Bradley 3d, the veteran judge who assessed Tuesday’s final seven. “When you recognize it, it hits you at home, and that’s what it really is.
“She is just magnificent.”
Boyles, who has shown dogs for 35 years, looked relieved shortly after midnight as he fielded questions from a throng of media and onlookers, confirming that Rumor, after winning her 104th best in show title, was quitting on top after surviving a winnowing-down process that began on Monday morning with 2,798 entries in 202 breeds and varieties drawn from 49 states.
“This is her official retirement,” he said. “She can’t accomplish any more than what she’s accomplished. This is the ultimate win for her.”