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Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Upset in the sporting group

February 16, 2010 |  8:00 pm


A 5-year-old female brittany named Ch. Willowick Talltean is the winner of Westminster's sporting group -- but perhaps a bigger shocker is the dog that didn't make the top four.

The dog favored by many to win the group was a 5-year-old golden retriever named Ch. Toasty's Treasure Island, who's one of the top-ranked show dogs in the country but is expected to retire after Westminster. (And competing with other goldens, one of the most popular breeds in the U.S., is no small feat in itself.) Treasure won her breed Tuesday, but her sporting-group win was not to be.

The winning brittany, called Tally for short, is owned by her breeder, Catherine Fitzgerald. Tally's handler, Kellie Miller, told USA Today that the dog is often a bit of a scatterbrain in the ring. She sometimes decides she'd rather play than show, but Tuesday evening Tally "held it together for me," Miller said.

Rounding out the top four sporting group placements were a male Irish water spaniel named Ch. Poole's Ide Got Water RN, a male Gordon setter named Ch. Firethorn and Sandpiper Easy on the Eyes and a male Labrador retriever named Ch. Beechcroft Study's Top Secret.

Treasure Tally competes Tuesday night against a whippet, a toy poodle, a French bulldog, a puli, a Doberman pinscher and a Scottish terrier for the title of Best in Show.

Last year's sporting group winner was Stump the Sussex spaniel, who went on to become one of Westminster's unlikeliest winners and most touching human -- er, canine -- interest stories.

A brittany has never won Best in Show at Westminster -- but then, a Sussex spaniel never had, either. (And, for the record, although many people refer to the breed as a "brittany spaniel," the correct name is simply "brittany.")

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Scottish terrier Sadie is the odds-on favorite to win
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Day 1 in photos

-- Lindsay Barnett

Top photo: Tally looks to her handler. Credit: Henny Ray Abrams / Associated Press

Bottom photo: Clint Livingston shows Treasure, the golden retriever that was shut out of a group placement Tuesday. Credit: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

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