Westminster Dog Show 2024: Sage the Miniature Poodle wins Best in Show


Sage the Miniature Poodle won Best in Show at the 2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The all-black ball of fluff won the non-athletic group earlier in the event and established herself as a new feminist hero by being the first female Best in Show winner since 2020.

Mercedes the German Shepherd, winner of the breeding group, took home the second honor of the evening as Reserve Best in Show.

Poodles have an illustrious track record at Westminster. Twelve standard poodles have won first prize over the years. Poodles of all sizes were also one of the most represented breeds at this year’s event, with 43 participants.

However, Sage is not just a poodle. She is a toy poodle and the 4th of her species to win Westminster’s Best in Show award.

Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

Sage, a miniature poodle from Houston, Texas, wins Best in Show at the 2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.

The Westminster Dog Show has been delighting lovers of well-groomed puppies since 1877, making it the second oldest continuously held sporting event in the United States after the Kentucky Derby.

Every year, around 3,000 dogs and their owners take part in this legendary spectacle. The main competition focuses on ensuring that purebred dogs conform to their breed standards. Dogs from all walks of life also compete in the Masters Agility Championship and the Masters Obedience Championship.

Of course, Best in Show is the real crown jewel of the event. The winning dog is chosen from seven group winners. Each group includes breeds with similar traits, like a kind of canine astrology. This year, the group winners were:

Breeding group: Mercedes the German Shepherd

Group of dogs: Louis the Afghan dog

Non-sporting group: Sage the Miniature Poodle

Sports group: Micha the black cocker spaniel

Group of burrows: Frankie the Bull Terrier (colorful)

Toy group: Comet the Shih Tzu

Work group : Monty the Giant Schnauzer

Those unfamiliar with the intricacies of quality dog ​​shows may be surprised to learn that the fate of Westminster’s hopefuls rests in a few hands. A single judge makes the winning decision for each of the seven groups, selecting (figuratively) one best dog from among hundreds. Likewise, there is only one judge for Best in Show. This year the honor went to Kennel Club judge Rosalind Kramer. As a Best in Show judge, Kramer was sequestered before the final round and didn’t know which dogs she would judge until she stepped into the ring.

“It’s the most incredible line-up of dogs, it’s absolutely glorious,” she said before announcing Best in Show.

The Westminster Dog Show is also the perfect place to learn fun dog facts, like the fact that three U.S. presidents have owned Scottish Terriers or that Canada’s dogs hold six Westminster “Best in Show” titles.

But not this year. This year the crown will be worn by a fluffy little lady from Houston, Texas.

“No words, I’m so happy. Exciting,” said Sage breeder and handler Kaz Hosaka after the win, in what is his final show after 45 competitions at Westminster. “She walked in that ring tonight, she’s not sure, but then she got used to it and then she did a great performance for me. I am proud of this dog and thank you very much.

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