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Standard poodle is named top dog

Feb 14,2020
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Siba the standard poodle poses for photographs after winning Best in Show at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. [AP/YONHAP]
Primped and poised, Siba the standard poodle owned the ring.

Even with the crowd at Madison Square Garden chanting for a popular golden retriever, the statuesque Siba strutted off with Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club on Tuesday night.

Adorned with black puffs and pompoms, the 3-year-old Siba was the absolute picture of what many see as the epitome of a show dog.

Not everyone shared that view. As judge Bob Slay studied Siba in the best-of-seven final ring, a fan shouted out: “No way, Slay, no way!”

Slay stuck by what he saw.

“She’s beautiful and has that something,” handler Chrystal Murray-Clas said.

Bourbon the whippet finished second. Daniel the golden retriever was clearly the crowd favorite - a golden has never won at Westminster - and fans chanted his name as Slay deliberated.

Poodles come in three sizes, and this was the 10th time one of them has become America’s top dog, the first since 2002. A standard last won in 1991.

Siba put on an entertaining performance in the nonsporting group juding Monday night, doing the downward dog yoga pose before circling the ring. A day later, she was again at her best.

She won’t get much rest, either. Siba was set to wake up early to hit the morning TV shows, eat lunch at famed Manhattan restaurant Sardi’s, pose on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and perhaps walk onto the stage at Broadway musical “Beetlejuice.”

The Westminster winner receives no prize money in a sport where owners can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their pet. Instead, the reward is a silver bowl, lucrative breeding rights and a lifetime of bragging rights in dog lore.

And in canine competitions, the poodles often rule.

Poodles come in three sizes, and they’ve done just fine at Westminster. Standards have won Best in Show five times, miniatures three and toys twice.

Siba was showing for the last time, set to retire after this event.

How did she prepare for the nonsporting group judging Monday night at The Garden? A gourmet meal? Nope.

Rather, a fast food fix: a grilled chicken sandwich from a handy McDonald’s.

And no reason to change the winning formula.

Tuesday night, Siba went back for what became a most happy meal.

AP