CJ, a 3-year old German shorthaired pointer, won the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Show in New York City.
He made it look easy. But ask the owners of thousands of canine champions and they’ll tell you it’s ruff.
CJ’s journey to stardom began long before he ever set paw on to the green carpet.
When he was born, he was registered him in the AKC (American Kennel Club), which sets the standard for dog breeds: the ideal body structure, movement and temperament, along with details such as coat color, tail, ear and eye placement.
CJ had to learn obedience — no lunging at the other competitors, no matter how much you love or hate them. And he had to learn conformation – the art of show ring behavior and strutting his stuff to his best advantage.
Champions need owners who don’t mind spending money. Some hire handlers – show ring professionals, to give their champions that added edge. Some have breeds that require personal grooms that brush, tease and set a doo with gallons of hairspray. Some have to take them to doggie pools and fitness centers to build up muscles or tone down.
Then there’s time and transportation. Dogs and handlers travel to shows that are held literally everywhere to rack up the points needed to be called a champion and earn a “CH” in front of their names before they can get close to bigger shows, let alone the Westminster.
In 3 years, CJ has amassed 17 Best in Show titles. With these wins under his collar, he arrived in New York, ready to take on over 3000 dogs representing 199 breeds at the Westminster.
First CJ had to compete against all of the other German shorthaired pointers. And win!
Then he moved on to become the top dog in the sporting group, beating out all of the retrievers, spaniels, setters, and other hunting/gun dogs. All of them were winners and champions as well.
Finally CJ became one of the 7 elite was allowed to compete for the coveted Best in Show.
Here he edged out the top dogs in the country and possibly the word. This included Rumor, the top-winning German shepherd that Vegas favored to win.And Annabelle, an English bulldog, with fans that were loyal and loud.
After winning the Westminster, CJ was awarded a silver trophy and his place in the record books. And with that CJ was also awarded star treatment: seeing the sights of New York City, a steak at Sardis, and shaking paws with the pup-arazzi.