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Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex spaniel, named Best in Show at Westminster

February 10, 2009 |  9:42 pm

Stump, a ten-year-old Sussex Spaniel, wins the 133rd annual Westminster dog show

Stump, the 10-year-old Sussex spaniel who only recently emerged from retirement, has been named Best in Show at the 133rd annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show.  He's the oldest dog to ever win that title.  (An 8-year-old papillon won in 1999.)

In making senior-dog history, Stump (registered name: Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee) beat six other group winners, among them Spirit, the giant schnauzer who's ranked the No. 1 show dog in the nation; Lincoln, the smooth-coated Brussels griffon who was considered a favorite; Yes the standard poodle; Sadie the Scottish terrier, whose breed has won Westminster seven times before; Tiger Woods the Scottish deerhound; and Conrad, the cord-coated puli.

The Associated Press explains Stump's five-year absence from the show ring:

Stump won the sporting group at Westminster in 2004, then went into retirement. Soon after, he nearly wasted away and spent 19 days in a pet hospital.

"It was very traumatic," [handler Scott Sommer] said.

Once he recovered, Stump mostly spent his days hanging out with Sommer, living a dog's life. That was more than fine with Sommer. He'd already handled a great bichon frise to the best in show at Westminster in 2001, and wasn't looking for Stump to try again.

Then five days before this show, Sommer thought Stump might enjoy one last walk on the green carpet at the Garden. And what a walk it was.

Vegas odds expert John Avello, who compiled odds for this year's Westminster show, gave the Sussex spaniel odds of 275-to-1 to win it all.  But Stump showed Westminster watchers that age does, once in a while, trump youth.  Take that, whippersnappers!

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images

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