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Owners at Westminster: The bigger the dog, the bigger the love

| Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 9:42 p.m.

NEW YORK — Banana Joe is America's top dog.

The affenpinscher with the monkeylike face and wagging tail was picked as best in show on Tuesday night at the Westminster Kennel Club.

The 5-year-old earned his 86th best in show, a day before he was set to fly back to the Netherlands with his owner.

An old English sheepdog only 20 months old was picked as the runner-up at Madison Square Garden.

Also in the best-of-seven final ring were a German wirehaired pointer ranked as the nation's No. 1 show dog, an American foxhound, a Portuguese water dog, a bichon frise and a smooth fox terrier.

There were 2,721 entries in the 137th Westminster.

Earlier, sound asleep in her crate and a red rabbit stuffed toy at her paws, Fifi looked like the most docile dog in the world. Not exactly how many people see a Doberman pinscher.

“They can be intimidating,” Jocelyn Mullins said.

That's why thousands of the Fifinator's Facebook fans and Mullins — her owner, breeder and handler — hoped she could win the 137th Westminster dog show.

“It would humanize the breed,” Westminster Kennel Club President Sean McCarthy said. “A win for the Doberman would be an acceptance of that breed.”

No luck, though. Fifi was beaten out in the working group by a Portuguese water dog. Judge Michael Dougherty was set to pick best in show shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

A German wirehaired pointer ranked as the nation's No. 1 show dog won the sporting group earlier in the day. The top terrier was to come later.

Already assured a place in the best-of-seven final ring at America's premier dog competition were an American foxhound, an affenpinscher, an old English sheepdog and a bichon frise. They won their groups Monday.

Fifi, a finalist on the green carpet at the Garden last year, won best of breed Tuesday afternoon. Eyes alert, ears pointed, the 4-year-old champion officially named Protocol's Veni Vidi Vici barked in the ring and then jumped on Mullins when the judge pointed to her.

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