After the German Shepherd Rumor won the top prize at last year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, she had her first litter of puppies and retired from competition, like many female show dogs.
Well, yeah, sort of. It doesn’t help that their photo (see link above) carried this caption:
FILE PHOTO: Rumor, a German shepherd and winner of Best In Show at the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, takes a command from his handler during a visit to One World Observatory atop One World Trade Center in New York, NY, U.S., February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
Um, no. Not that you could necessarily tell from her registered name, which is GCh. Ch. Lockenhaus’ Rumor Has It V Kenlyn. (The American Kennel Club invented the Grand Champion title to encourage mere Champions to stay on the show circuit instead of retiring, inasmuch as AKC gets a cut of the entry fees.)
By contrast, most top male show dogs can keep competing for years, and it is no coincidence that they also win “Best in Show” in the prestigious annual competition far more often than females, breeders and handlers said as they prepared for this year’s show, which opens Monday, Feb. 12 in New York.
“Now she won’t show again, she’s done,” said Gail Miller Bisher, a spokeswoman for the Westminster Kennel Club, referring to Rumor. “But males can keep going. They can be used as stud and continue showing and keep their coat and keep their shape of body and all that.”
“Used as stud,” indeed. I bet the dogs don’t complain about being used. And speaking of “dogs”:
Female dogs, known in pure-bred circles as “bitches,” have snared Best in Show at Westminster 39 times since the award was first given in 1907. Males, known simply as “dogs,” have been victorious 71 times, almost twice as often.
How about that? The male is the default.
For the record, the oldest dog ever to win at Westminster was, indeed, a dog: Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, a Sussex spaniel, who won in 2009 at the age of ten years and two months. (You can call him Stump. Well, actually, you can’t call him at all; he died in 2012.)