Feature

A beagle is No. 1

A beagle won the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club's Best in Show award for the first time ever. The "little beagle that could," Uno, struck a populist blow for all

What happened

Uno, a 15-inch-long beagle, became the first of his breed ever to win Best In Show honors at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show. Uno, or Ch. K-Run’s Park Me In First, beat a slate of contenders that included two poodles, a Sealyham terrier, a Weimaraner, an Australian shepherd, and an Akita. “He’s the most perfect beagle I’ve ever seen,” said best-in-show judge J. Donald Jones. “Look at his face, you melt right down.” (The New York Times, free registration)

What the commentators said

“Oh, yes!,” said Daniel McQuade in Philadelphia Weekly’s Philadelphia Will Do blog. Despite a history of picking the poodle, the judge this year “sided with the (extremely loud!) crowd,” and “the crowd went bananas.” Could there be “some sort of mainstreaming of Westminster? Will angry poodle owners stage a protest?”

Well, the judge might have been a little biased, said the Daily Dachshund and Dog News blog. Jones apparently has picked Uno as top dog in another competition. And besides, “Uno may seem like a regular dog,” but come on, "he’s a beagle who doesn’t hunt” and who travels with an entourage.

It’s not like the “little beagle that could” was a shoe-in, said Nona Nelson in The Roanoke Times’ The Happy Wag blog. He had to overcome a “long drought for hounds,” sort of “like the Eli Manning of pooches,” and his victory over exotic contenders is a victory for all “popular pets.”

So what does “most famous beagle since Snoopy” do for an encore? said Dan Fleschner in MSNBC’s addDAY blog. Like any celebrity, he’s due for a “media blitz”—steak “off a silver platter” at Sardi’s and maybe even ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Not bad for a boldface name who can only speak in a “series of unintelligible barks.” But Uno is not only the first beagle to win Best in Show in the club’s 132-year history, and the first hound to win since 1939, he is also that “rare dog” who won both the audience and the judges.

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