On Saturday, February 10, nearly 350 guests donned tuxedos and evening gowns, then headed to the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City to attend the Purina Pro Plan Show Dogs of the Year Awards, presented by Dogs in Review magazine. The prestigious annual awards dinner, in its 52nd year, kicks off the festivities that lead up to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the country’s most prestigious dog show, to be held at Madison Square Garden February 12 and 13, 2007.
Guests at the Show Dogs of the Year Awards included breeders, owners and handlers of the top-winning show dogs of 2006. Dogs from the American Kennel Club’s seven Groups (Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding), as well as the top-winning Obedience Trial Champion of the year, were honored for having won the greatest number of Group Firsts.
This year’s winners were:
Sporting: Ch. Felicity’s Diamond Jim (English Springer Spaniel), owned by Teresa and Allen Patton, Ruth Dehmel and Diana Hadsall; bred by Teresa Patton and Ruth Dehmel; and handled by Kellie Fitzgerald.
Hound: Ch. Topsfield Beethoven (Basset Hound), owned by Claudia Orlandi and Claire K. Steidel; bred by Claudia Orlandi; and handled by Bryan Martin.
Working: Ch. Bayview Some Like It Hot (Boxer), owned by Cheryl and Keith Robbins, and Ronnie and Sheila Cormier; bred by Ken and Paula Morrison, and Tom Spridgen; and handled by Michael Shepherd.
Terrier: Ch. Hobergay’s Fineus Fogg (Dandie Dinmont Terrier), owned by Dr. Emma Greenway, Capt. Jean Heath and Dr. William Cosby Jr.; bred by Josie Whittall; and handled by Bill McFadden.
Toy: Ch. Smash JP Win a Victory (Toy Poodle), owned by Ron Scott; bred by Yukiko Omura; and handled by Kaz Hosaka.
Non-Sporting: Ch. Merry Go Round Mach Ten (Dalmatian), owned by Richard and Linda Stark; bred by Julie Bryant and Patti L. Strand; and handled by Michael Scott.
Herding: Ch. Bugaboo’s Big Resolution (Old English Sheepdog), owned by Doug and Michaelanne Johnson, Randy and Karen Brown, Bridgette Callahan and Pam Henry; bred by Doug and Michaelanne Johnson, and Bridgette Callahan; and handled by Colton Johnson.
Obedience: OTCH First String’s Liv’n on the Edge, UDX9, NA, NAJ (Golden Retriever), owned by Kathleen J. Rasinowich-Platt and Joanne A. Gaulke; bred by Joanne A. Gaulke; and handled by Kathleen J. Rasinowich-Platt.
This year, a new award was given to the dog with the most Best in Show wins in 2006. That honor went to the Terrier Group representative, the Dandie owned by the team of Greenway, Heath and Cosby, with 57 all-breed BISs. Although Dr. Cosby was unable to attend the awards dinner, he did send a video of himself and Harry accepting the award, much to the delight of the crowd. Also present was Cosby’s daughter Erin who was genuinely thrilled with Harry’s success.
Another high point of the evening was a tribute to longtime all-breed judge Mrs. Anne Rogers Clark who passed away on Dec. 26, 2006. A montage of nostalgic photos reminded all present of Mrs. Clark’s innumerable contributions to the sport of purebred dogs.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame was Peter Green, a professional handler who retired after Westminster 2006 to become a well-respected American Kennel Club judge. It was his son, Andrew, who had the honor of recapping his father’s career — from his native Wales to his many American triumphs in the show ring over the course of five decades.
Several Special Industry Awards were presented to those who work for the betterment of dogs at the grassroots level. These included:
- Outstanding Trainer of the Year, sponsored by Comfort Zone with D.A.P.: Kellyann Conway and Traci Theis (co-winners).
- Veterinarian of the Year, sponsored by Schering-Plough: Comparative Pain Research Laboratory at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
- Shelter of the Year, sponsored by the ASPCA: Houston SPCA.
- Cardinal Crystal Grooming Achievement Award, sponsored by Cardinal Labs: Vero de Sylva.
The awards culminated in the Winkies for Annual Achievement, sponsored by PetAg. These special awards, kept secret until revealed at the awards dinner, are presented to the best owner-handler, professional handler, breeder, judge and show of the year. The 2006 winners were:
- Owner-handler: Sandra D’Andrea
- Professional handler: David Fitzpatrick
- Breeder: Joseph Vergnetti (Dassin Poodles)
- Judge: Ken McDermott
- Show: International Kennel Club of Chicago
The evening ended with emcees Richard Beauchamp and Florence Males inviting BowTie Inc. Chairman of the Board Norman Ridker to say a few words. Mr. Ridker commended those present for their devotion to dogs and the sport.