A loveable little beagle got the loudest applause from the audience as dog show finalists pranced around the ring, but a perfectly sculpted Airedale terrier won top honors Sunday in the Western Pennsylvania Kennel Association show.
Old Iron Margaret River, a 3-year-old female, won yesterday's "Best in Show" after beating the beagle and other best-of-breed winners in the final round of this weekend's competition at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.
"She has the right size, she has the right proportions, she has plenty of substance and yet she is really feminine," said Ernesto Lara, of Bowmansville, Lancaster County, the professional handler of the winning dog.
The dog tied an American Kennel Club record for total show points won by an airedale. She is owned by Frances Linder, of Cincinnati, Stephanie Ingram, of Nashville, Tenn., and Terrydale Kennels of Raleigh, N.C.
The top prize came after a weekend in which hundreds of dogs of all shapes and sizes competed for honors. Trainers, groomers and owners, both professional and amateur, primped and preened the contestants. A Best in Show winner also was named Saturday.
As she waited for another round of competition yesterday, Cheryl McGowan, 51, of Silver Spring, Md., sprinkled milky-white chalk dust on the dime-sized paws of Greta, a diminutive tassel-eared of a breed known as the papillon. The white powder covers little stains and is allowed in shows as long as not too much is used, she said.
"If she went and puffed a white cloud as she runs, that'd be a little too much," said McGowan, a professional groomer for about 35 years.
McGowan entered Greta and several other dogs for clients at the show, but also entered Rumor Has It, her own field spaniel. About 1,600 dogs, representing about 150 breeds, competed in the weekend show.
The husband-and-wife team of Ed Mallinak, 57, and Ann McHugh, 60, of Cleveland, groomed and handled their own keeshonds, a fluffy, dark gray work dog that was originally bred for guarding Dutch canal barges.
The couple described themselves as serious dog people and have brought progressively larger motorhomes to transport their canine family on twice-monthly show trips around the region.
"That's the main reason we have the mobile, so we can take them all with us," said Mallinak, a computer programmer.
The pair recently took in an American eskimo dog that was lost or abandoned in Hurricane Katrina. While the dog doesn't have the pedigree needed to enter regular shows, McHugh said, the couple hope it can eventually compete in obedience or agility competitions.
Attendance figures for the show were not immediately available, but several hundred spectators and participants stayed long enough to see the top prize awarded.
Professionals said many of the most competitive shows are on the East Coast. But pro handler Michael Kemp, 69, of New Kensington, said there are enough in the Midwest to make Pittsburgh a good hub for the competitive dog-showing business.
"We can make a lot of shows from here," Kemp said as he brushed Lakeland terrier Ch. Tallydale's Lil'Traveln Man, otherwise known as Louie.
Sunday's winners in the 67th annual Western Pennsylvania Kennel Association Inc. Dog Show
1st -- Ch. Felicity's Diamond Jim, an English springer spaniel owned by Mr. and Mrs. Allen Patton and Dehmel and D. Hadsall.
2nd -- Ch. Lamar's Bentley CDX OA OAJ, a cocker spaniel owned by Carolee Douglas.
3rd -- Ch. Snowshoe's Kiss for Luck, a golden retriever owned by Steve and Susan Schnarr and Brian and Mary Clegg.
4th -- Ch. Remedi's Medicyne Man, a Sussex spaniel owned by David J. McAllister and Debra P. Miller.
1st -- Ch. Torquay Central Station, a beagle owned by Marco and Alessandra Botelho and Marcelo Chagas.
2nd -- Ch. Drycreeek's Mr Gene, an English foxhound owned by Art Johnson and C. Stewart.
3rd -- Ch. Foxglen Bracken Brown Beauty, a basset hound owned by Lynne Hamilton, Scott and Betsy Deans and Suzanne Garcia.
4th -- Ch. Spritzkof's Have No Fear, a dachshund owned by Margery Hegrenes.
1st -- Ch. Rexann's Blazin Jaylin, a samoyed owned by Bill and Tina Griffin.
2nd -- Ch. Bear Trax Midnite Report, a Newfoundland owned by Jan Boggio.
3rd -- Ch. Mt Joy's Fear This, an akita owned by Margaret Salkind and Patricia Ellis.
4th -- Ch. Keil's Frozen Assets, a boxer owned by John and Michele Keil.
1st -- Ch. Old Iron Margaret River, an Airedale terrier owned by Stephanie Ingram, Frances Lindner and Terrydale Kennels.
2nd -- Ch. Cb's Kenny Pat, a border terrier owned by Priscilla B. McCune, Charles R. McCune.
3rd -- Ch. Shawn-Rae Lord Buchanan, a Skye terrier owned by James and Jane Bradner.
4th -- Ch. Hartagold Devil In Disguise, an American Staffordshire terrier owned by Timothy Brashears and Lora Bauer Brashears.
1st -- Ch. Deco's Look No More, a Japanese chin owned by Joel D. Fisher, K.R. Wall, M.A. Burr and J. Burr.
2nd -- Ch. Rinposhay's Captain Courageous, a shih tzu owned by Maurene J. Baum.
3rd -- Ch. Happi Daze Will Of Her Own, a Chihuahua owned by Susan D. Ritenour.
4th -- Ch. Backroads Man About Town, a English toy spaniel owned by Richard LeBeau and Dr. Michael White.
1st -- Ch Keenen's Reflection-N-Time, a Dalmatian owned by Margaret E. Keenen Friedrich.
2nd -- Whisperwind Valley Personality, a standard poodle owned by Linda Caldwell and Linda Blackie.
3rd -- Ch. Alpine Walk On The Wild Side, an American eskimo dog owned by Bonnie Hardenstine and Glenn Hardenstine.
4th -- Ch. Masada's Spinnakees Leo Bloom, a keeshond owned by Elizabeth Stover.
1st -- Ch. Dunhill Inspiration, a bearded collie owned by Ray and Dr. Kathy Harrington and Carolyn O'Neil.
2nd -- Shagshadow's Sweet Baby Joe, an Old English sheepdog owned by Thomas and Patricia Schulte.
3rd -- Ch. Prydain Vertigo, a pulik owned by Jodell Grandey.
4th -- Ch. Ungar of the Coastline HT, a briard owned by Ellen J. Meyers.