Published February 12, 2014
NEW YORK – From wire to wire, Sky was America's top dog.
The 5-year-old wire fox terrier won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club on Tuesday night, finishing off a year in which she was ranked the nation's No. 1 dog.
Handler Gabriel Rangel scooped up Sky in one arm and kissed judge Betty Regina Leininger's hand after the title was awarded inside a nearly full Madison Square Garden.
Rangel may've learned that from his dog.
"Her personality is she loves to kiss people and she connects with everybody," Rangel said.
This was Sky's 129th best in show ribbon overall -- she became a Triple Crown winner in dogdom, too, having previously taken the National Dog Show and the top AKC event.
A wire fox terrier has won 14 times at the nation's top dog show. No other breed has won more than eight times.
The winner with the ginger-and-white coat and little terrier goatee beat out an impressive lineup for the final ring. Also competing were a standard poodle, a Portuguese water dog, bloodhound, an Irish water spaniel, a Cardigan Welsh corgi and a miniature pinscher.
"She has the `it' factor. She owned this night," Leininger said.
The standard poodle named Ally was chosen as the runner-up.
Nathan the bloodhound was clearly the crowd's pick as all seven dogs circled around in the final ring. The min pin called Classic had won 121 times.
And Matisse the Portie had a great history. He is a cousin of President Barack Obama's newest house pet -- the White House, that is.
But once again, a terrier prevailed. Terriers have taken 46 of the 105 best in show ribbons presented at an event that dates to the late 19th century.
Rangel, who lives with Sky in Rialto, Calif., has plenty of experience in winning. He guided Sadie the Scottish terrier to victory at Westminster four years ago.
There were 2,845 dogs entered in the 138th Westminster Kennel Club show. They were eligible in 190 breeds and varieties.
Sky entered the ring only a half-hour or so after winning the terrier group, and was still fresh.
"We're kind of saving it," Rangel said shortly before the final competition.
By Wednesday night, the pooch might be pooped. She's scheduled to tour the morning TV news shows, eat a steak lunch at famed Manhattan restaurant Sardi's and also go up the Empire State Building.
Lofty heights, indeed, for a dog with the champion's name of Afterall Painting The Sky and accustomed to top treats.
"It's like winning an Oscar," said Victor Malzoni Jr., one of the owners who is an economist from Brazil.
Poodles always seem to show up well at these events, and Ally represented her breed well. She takes three to four hours to prep, and came out perfectly trimmed.
The Cardigan Welsh corgi called Coco might've been familiar to dog fanciers at the Garden, and to the several million who tune each year to the Westminster telecast.
Queen Elizabeth II loves all kinds of corgis, and is often seen with them in her royal reign.
The Irish water spaniel called Riley originally came from the Seattle. In this, an event known as the Super Bowl of dogs, she was trying to repeat the win that the Seahawks posted in the real Super Bowl this month right across the Hudson River.