A bichon frise named Flynn was the surprise pick for best in show at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York, taking honors as the nation's top dog.
According to The Associated Press, "Fans who had been loudly shouting for their favorites fell into stunned silence when judge Betty-Anne Stenmark announced her choice."
Flynn led the pack among 2,882 canine competitors representing 202 breeds and varieties.
In the quest for the coveted purple ribbon, Flynn was guided by expert handler Bill McFadden.
The tiny white fluff ball Flynn stands (proudly) in stark contrast to last year's winner, a noble German shepherd named Rumor. Flynn had earlier won the best in breed for non-sporting dogs.
Other best in breed winners were:
- Sporting — Bean, a Sussex spaniel.
- Hound — a borzoi named Lucy
- Working — Ty, a giant schnauzer who also took the runner-up position behind Flynn as reserve best in show.
- Terrier — Winston, a Norfolk terrier.
- Toy — a pug named Biggie.
- Herding — Slick, a border collie.
"The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show predates the invention of the light bulb, the automobile and the zipper, and was initially held on May 8, 1877. The first show consisted of just gun dogs by a group of hunters who met regularly at Westminster Hotel. Original prizes for winning the show varied, with one such reward being pearl-handled pistols.
"They formed the Westminster Kennel Club shortly after, and became the first club to join the American Kennel Club (AKC), formed in 1884. Popularity of the show continued to grow, eventually necessitating a cap of entrants at 2,800 and a move to Madison Square Garden for the main event."