Local Top Dog Wins Westminster Show Ribbon

Photo courtesy Nancy Reardon Nancy Reardon shows off her Brittany-breed dog, Joe, who won “Select Dog” recently at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.
Photo courtesy Nancy Reardon
Nancy Reardon shows off her Brittany-breed dog, Joe, who won “Select Dog” recently at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.

Joe has always known he’s top dog, but now he’s got a Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show ribbon to prove it.
The cold-nosed, warm-hearted Brittany came home to Pasadena last week with a blue ribbon for “Select Dog” and proud fans who praised owner Nancy Reardon with the exciting win from America’s biggest dog show.
The feat was even more impressive, given Reardon considers herself a bit of a dog-show novice.
“I’m not big time at all,” said Reardon with a laugh. Joe’s main job, she said, is being loved as the family pet, unlike many professional show dogs who live with their handlers, and whose owners’ livelihood is dog breeding and showing. “I’m very low on the dog-show totem pole.”
This was Reardon’s second time showing Joe at the prestigious Westminster show, which was created in 1877 in New York City. It is considered the country’s second-longest continuously held sporting event, just behind the Kentucky Derby by one year. Joe was chosen as second best male in breed, and his female counterpart won “Select Bitch.”
“Joe is the best dog I’ve ever been lucky enough to show. Even though he didn’t take the Best of Breed [first prize], to bring home a ribbon, or bring home anything, from Westminster after competing against the best of the best is just really exciting,” said Reardon, who has done smaller-scale dog shows for nearly 10 years. She usually just goes to shows she can drive to, with the farthest away being in Arizona and Nevada.
“I like to be there to see Joe,” she explained, while many “dog-show-ers” send their dogs alone with their handlers for competitions. Handlers are people who train, condition and show dogs in conformation shows for a fee. Joe was shown at Westminster by a new handler, Lesli Smith, who was already going to the show with other dogs, in lieu of his normal handler, Kathy Grayson.
“Dog shows are a lot of fun; it’s really like a big doggy carnival,” she added, noting that the Westminster show is by far the most competitive and perhaps the most like the spoof “Best in Show,” a comedic twist on the cut-throat, nail-biting atmosphere shown in its fictitious Mayflower Dog Show.
“It’s its own little world, for sure,” she said. “Everywhere you look there are beautiful dogs. I don’t have the same eye as a lot of people, but it’s a lot of fun to size them up and try to see their winning features…. And boy, when the judge points at your dog, it is really an exciting moment.”
Reardon has always loved dogs, and the Brittany breed in particular. She currently owns four, including Joe, who recently sired his own litter of eight pups, which go for about $1,500. She kept the star of the litter, a wild and rambunctious daughter named Daisy.
Described as “super mellow” and very affectionate, Joe is king of the pack at home. He’s often persistent in seeking attention, even nicknamed “Pokey” for poking his nose under an elbow or into a thigh when he’d like some love.
“He always wants to be in the picture — he likes to insert himself into the middle of the situation,” she noted.
At home now, Joe will soon retire his doggie laureates. At 7 years old, he’s considered a veteran in dog show business, and has done all he needs to do, Reardon said.
Joe’s last and final victory lap will be the first weekend of June at the Kennel Club of Pasadena Dog Show at Brookside Park, where his daughter and legacy will debut. Joe’s favorite Pasadena fan club can continue the tradition to root for Daisy, who might just take Best in Show someday.

Leave a Reply