Beagledom, rejoice! Miss P, a 15-inch beagle from British Columbia, took Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show on Tuesday evening. That’s the highest honor in the dog world. It’s like winning the canine Super Bowl, World Series, and Wimbledon all in one.
Our own two beagles, Daisy and Bingo, celebrated this morning with an extra Milk Bone and a nice nap next to the radiators. OK, on top of the radiators. Don’t ask how they get up there.
Miss P, whose official dog world name is “Tashtins Lookin For Trouble," beat out crowd favorite Swagger the Old English sheepdog, as well as a Portuguese water dog named Matisse, who is a relation of President Obama’s pet Sunny, and four other group finalists to earn her crown.
It was an upset, to be honest. Miss P is the grandniece of former Westminster champion Uno, a vocal and adorable beagle who won in 2008. But she does not have quite the, uh, personality projection of Uno. That means she does not bay as much, at least not in the ring.
Best in Show judge David Merriam said afterward that Miss P demonstrated the “beagle in the ring and the beagle in the field," according to the New York Times report of show results. This might mean lots of things but presumably it hints that Miss P seemed more of a complete package than her rivals, both a show dog and a possible hunting dog.
Lots of beagles and beagle-mix dogs are still used in hunting, particularly in the South, but as pets they primarily hunt table scraps and treats both edible and nonedible in the backyard. Pre-washing the dishes in the dishwasher is one of their specialties because they are small enough to actually jump inside the racks when their owners’ backs are turned. Also, they sleep on top of the pillows of upholstered furniture, giving everything in the living room a sort of sway-back look due to the permanent Uno-sized dents.
Then when the postal delivery arrives they set up a racket the likes of which you have seldom heard on this earth. True story: once when walking our beagles they spotted a cat or something and went to baying like banshees. A door slammed open and a panicked neighbor came running out. “Anybody hurt?” he yelled.
They’ve also been compared to the sound of a low-flying flock of geese.
As for Miss P, her win means that the beagle has now joined the Afghan, bulldog, and black cocker spaniel in the category of breeds with two Westminster wins. Of the 192 registered breeds, only 47 have ever actually won Best in Show, so it’s rarified company.
The fox terrier has won 14 times, true, including 2014. They’re the Rafael Nadal of dogs.
Where is Miss P going now? Well, on Wednesday she is attending a publicity event in Donald Trump’s office for some reason. After that she is due to retire to a life of having and raising puppies back in Canada.
As for Uno, he’s living in Texas with his longtime owner. Presumably he’s baying in delight for yet another beagle triumph.
[Editor's note: The original version identified the wrong Obama family pet as being related to Matisse, the Portuguese water dog in the Westminster show.]