A Westminster wow: Bichon frise becomes America's top dog

Handler Bill McFadden reacts as Flynn, a bichon frise, is named Best in Show at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Handler Bill McFadden reacts as Flynn, a bichon frise, is named Best in Show at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK (AP) — Flynn the bichon frise was picked as best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club on Tuesday night, a choice that seemed to surprise almost everyone in the crowd at Madison Square Garden.

Fans who had been loudly shouting for their favorites fell into stunned silence when judge Betty-Anne Stenmark announced her choice.

No matter, the white powder puff was picked and walked off as America's top dog.

Guided by expert handler Bill McFadden, Flynn beat out Ty the giant schnauzer, Biggie the pug, Bean the Sussex spaniel, Lucy the borzoi, Slick the border collie and Winston the Norfolk terrier.

The giant schnauzer, who was the nation's No. 1 show dog last year, was chosen as the runner-up.

The 142nd Westminster event drew 2,882 entries in 202 breeds and varieties.

Lily Mancini of Sherman, Conn., and her English springer spaniel won the junior showmanship competition at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

The juniors finals were Tuesday night, before judging continued toward best in show.

Ninety-five junior handlers were invited to the nation's most prestigious dog show. Its top juniors prize increased this year from a $6,000 scholarship to a $10,000 scholarship. The eight finalists all get some education money.

Junior handlers are between 9 and 18. They're judged on their presentation of their dogs, not the dogs' particulars.

 

Ty, a Giant Schnauzer, right, is hugged by handler Katie Bernardin after winning the working group during the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Ty, a Giant Schnauzer, right, is hugged by handler Katie Bernardin after winning the working group during the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

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