This article appeared in the June 24, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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The smell of victory after a long hunt

Frank Franklin II/AP
Heather Helmer poses for photographs with her bloodhound, Trumpet, who won best in show at the 146th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, June 22, 2022, in Tarrytown, New York.
Peter Grier
Washington editor

Bloodhounds are models of perseverance. Once they begin tracking a scent, other odors don’t distract them. They’ve been known to follow a trail for 130 miles.

So perhaps it’s fitting that it took them over 140 years to win the canine Super Bowl, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Trumpet, a big and noble bloodhound so wrinkled that his jowls have jowls of their own, took best in show at Westminster on Wednesday night. 

He triumphed over Winston, a smiley French bulldog, and crowd favorite Striker, an immaculate and personable Samoyed, among others.

His handler and co-owner Heather Helmer said she was “shocked” at Trumpet’s win.

“I feel like sometimes a bloodhound might be a little bit of an underdog,” she said.

Bloodhounds have been at the Westminster Kennel Club since 1878. They’ve won the hound group of the club’s show 22 times since 1941. But they’ve never walked away with top honors before.

If “best nose” were a category, they’d have an unbroken winning streak. They can distinguish smells at least a thousand times better than humans, and far better than other dogs, even scent hounds like beagles. 

Owners say they are sweet and loving companions. But the nose rules their life. They can’t be walked off leash. If a rabbit stirs a county over, they might be off. 

They’re big. They need exercise. There is drool.

Underneath all that loose skin, though, there is charm. Take Trumpet. Outside the ring “he has a lot of attitude, and he’s a little crazy,” said Ms. Helmer. 



This article appeared in the June 24, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 06/24 edition
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