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Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Whippet Chanel wins hound group

February 16, 2010 |  3:22 pm


Ch. Starline's Chanel, a 2-year-old female whippet owned by Lori and Carey Lawrence, beat a top-ranked petit basset griffon vendeen to win the hound group at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday.

Handler Lauri Wilson, who guided Chanel to Monday's victories and will accompany her in the best-in-show ring Tuesday night, told USA Today that the dog stays in top athletic condition by chasing tennis balls. (See, show dogs might look nicer than the average couch-potato canines, but they're not really any different from ball-chasing mutts like ours, deep down.) "She also loves jumping straight up and down," Wilson told USA Today. Well ... everyone needs a hobby.

The American Kennel Club categorizes the 164 breeds it recognizes into seven groups. To take the hound title, Chanel first had to be named best of breed in a competition held earlier in the day. Four groups -- hound, toy, non-sporting and herding -- were judged Monday evening at Westminster. The remaining three groups -- sporting, working and terrier -- will be judged Tuesday evening, followed by the best-in-show competition, in which the seven group winners go head to head.

Chanel edged out a female greyhound named Ch. Grandcru Clos Erasmus, a female Scottish deerhound named Ch. Foxcliffe Hickory Wind and a male petit basset griffon vendeen named Ch. Rokeena Carte Blanche to win the hound group. (Those dogs came in second, third and fourth, respectively.) Another Scottish deerhound, a male named Ch. Gayleward's Tiger Woods (a name which, we're sure, had a much more positive connotation when the dog was given it a few years back), won Westminster's hound group in 2009.

(The "Ch." before each of these dogs' names, by the way, signifies that they have all been certified as champions of record by the AKC. To become a champion, a show dog must receive 15 points, including two "majors," worth three to five points each. At each dog show, points are awarded to the best male and female in each breed, with the number of points determined by how many dogs competed. Dogs that continue to compete in conformation classes after becoming champions, like those competing at Westminster, are called "specials.")

If Chanel wins best in show Tuesday, she'll be the first whippet to have done so at Westminster since 1964, when the award went to a whippet named Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth.

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Day 1 in pictures
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: A hectic place for a bulldog (or a Scottish terrier or a golden retriever)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Ch. Starline's Chanel. Credit: Henny Ray Abrams / Associated Press

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