All dog types are special in their own ways, but we have a special fondness for the bloodhound: their long ears are hard not to love, and their amazing sense of smell has been used to track down missing people, saving lives.
Despite their incredible qualities, a bloodhound had never won the prestigious honor of “Best in Show” at the Westminster Dog Show — but that all changed yesterday, as a dog named Trumpet made history as the first bloodhound to take the title.
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the best-known dog show in the world and one of the longest-running sporting events in the United States, behind only the Kentucky Derby: the first even took place in 1877. It has been called the “Super Bowl” of the dog show world.
The 146th annual event was held Wednesday at Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York, and concluded with history being made as Trumpet the bloodhound was crowned Best in Show, the first of his breed to ever take the top prize.
‘Underdog’ bloodhound wins
The four-year-old champion is owned by Chris and Bryan Flessner, Heather Buehner (who also goes by Heather Helmer) and Tina Kocar.
Heather, also Trumpet’s handler, was surprised but thrilled to help break the glass ceiling for bloodhounds everywhere.
“I was shocked,” she told AP. “Sometimes I feel the bloodhound is a bit of an underdog.”
“I’m just ecstatic,” Heather told Washington Post, adding that outside the competition, Trumpet “has a lot of attitude and he’s a little crazy.”
The road to Best in Show
Trumpet’s road to victory was a long one with lots of competition from dogs of all breeds.
Westminster has about 3,500 dogs competing in its events. Competitors are split into seven groups: Hound, Toy, Terrier, Herding, Working, Sporting, and Non-Sporting. The dogs are evaluated by judges, essentially judging them on how well they represent the ideal standard of their breed, from specific physical characteristics to their agility and temperament.
The dogs deemed Best in Breed go on to compete in Best in Group, and the winners from each group then compete for Best in Show.
For the top prize, Trumpet faced off against dogs like Hollywood the Maltese, Belle the English Setter, and Winston the French Bulldog — who is co-owned by NFL defensive lineman Morgan Fox.
Despite the stiff competition, the bloodhound, for the first time ever, came out on top.
Westminster breed facts
While the bloodhound has been historically shut out from the top prize, they’ve been in good company. Many of the most popular dog breeds have surprisingly never taken home Best in Show — including the Labrador retriever, the golden retriever, the dachshund and the French Bulldog.
Conversely, terriers have done very well at the competition, with the Wire Fox Terrier winning a record 15 times and the Scottish Terrier right behind with 8 wins. Terriers also have the most wins by group.
While the Westminster only allows purebred, AKC-registered dogs to compete for the top prizes, mixed-breed dogs are allowed to compete in the agility competition, where they are called “All-American” dogs. A 5-year-old mutt named Brio, from Hinesville, Georgia, took home this year’s “Top All-American Dog” award.
Congratulations to Trumpet on making history! We’re so happy to see a bloodhound finally take home Best in Show!
Share this great news and congratulate Trumpet on his big win! 🐾