NEW YORK - A wire fox terrier named Sky won "best in show" at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York on Tuesday, besting canines in six other groups at one of the oldest sporting events in the United States.
Betty Regina Leininger of Frisco, Texas, awarded the top prize to the assured terrier at this year's event in Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. The win makes it the 14th time the wire fox terrier has won the competition, more than any other breed since Westminster started awarding the "best in show" prize in 1907.
Gabriel Rangel, Sky's handler, who lives with the 5-year-old in Rialto, California, said Sky's newfound stardom should give her plenty of suitors for breeding.
"She's a little perfect dog. She knows what you want to do. You put her on the table and she's ready to be brushed," he said.
Torie Steele of Malibu, California, one of Sky's owners, said, "It's like winning an Oscar, one of those things you hope for."
The wire fox terrier's last win was in 1992. No other breed has more than eight victories in the show's history. In its first 30 years, Westminster did not name a "best in show."
The win adds to the dominance of the terriers at Westminster. The group, which also includes the popular Scottish terrier, has won the top prize 46 times, more than double that of any other group.
A standard poodle named Ally was the runner-up, known as "reserve best in show."
The competition focuses on a dog's appearance, compared with a breed standard. The show is the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the United States, after the Kentucky Derby horse race.
Leininger, in explaining her decision, noted the dog's presence.
"She's in superb condition and was expertly presented," she said.
The finalists included four group winners from Monday: a bloodhound named Nathan, best of the hound group; Classie, a miniature pinscher tops in the toy group; Ally, the standard poodle, who won the non-sporting group; and a Cardigan Welsh corgi named Coco Posh, leader of the herding group.
Sky was one of the three group winners named Tuesday prior to the championship round. An Irish water spaniel named Riley took honors in the sporting group and a Portuguese water dog named Matisse was best among working dogs.
This year, 190 breeds and varieties were featured, including three new breeds: the Portuguese podengo pequeno; the chinook, a husky-like breed developed in New Hampshire; and the spotted rat terrier.
The show followed the American Kennel Club's first dog agility contest, held on Saturday, which was open to mixed-breeds. The winner was Kelso, a 7-year-old border collie from Cape Elizabeth, Maine.