Local woman’s dog wins ‘Best of Breed’ award

Flash takes honor at Westminster

Special to the Tribune Chronicle Sue Davis of Vienna, center, with her 4-year-old dog, Flash, a black curly coated retriever, show off an award Flash won last year that enabled them to compete Tuesday at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. Flash won “Best in Breed.”

VIENNA — A Vienna woman and her dog bested six others, receiving a first-place award at the Westminster Kennel Club’s Dog Show in New York City.

Flash, a 4-year-old, black, curly coated retriever was awarded “Best in Breed,” Tuesday night.

“I’m very proud of him,” said owner, Sue Davis. “This isn’t something everybody gets the chance to do.”

In each breed, dogs with this award go on to the second round to compete in its specific dog group.

Flash strutted his stuff at Madison Square Garden, performing against 32 other dog breeds in the sporting dog group, but was not selected to be a part of the top seven moving on to the third round for “Best in Show.”

The breeds competing for “Best in Show” were a borzois in the hound group, a pug in the toy group, a bichon frise in the non-sporting group, a border collie in the herding group, a Sussex spaniel in the sporting group, a giant schnauzer in the working group and a Norfolk terrier in the terrier group. Flynn, the bichon frise, won Best in Show.

Despite not moving onto the third round, Davis, who breeds curly coated retrievers, said being in the show and then receiving best in breed, “it’s a big deal.”

“Only one dog in the breed can win it every year and he has that now and very few dogs can say that,” Davis said.

After competing and winning several shows throughout the year, Flash, who is considered in the top five in the U.S. for his breed, was invited to participate in the dog show, Davis said.

Specifically bred to fit the breed’s standards, Flash has been in shows since he was six months old, Davis said. Curly coated retrievers are solid black or liver colored dogs with short, tight curls all over their bodies, according to the dog show. The breed is smart, has outstanding hunting abilities and are dedicated companions. In all breeds, judges look at the way the dog stands, moves, its coat and its shape, matching it to the breed’s standards, Davis said.

Enjoying the competition and being around dogs, Davis said she originally had no intention of showing dogs, but after a suggestion from a friend she decided to go for it.

Now, Davis has been showing dogs for more than 10 years and has shown at this dog show before, but has never “gone this far” at the prestigious dog event.

“I’ve worked for a long time for this,” Davis said. “We all go in there thinking we have a chance. I didn’t really expect it to be honest with you. I was hoping it would happen, but I wasn’t prepared for it.”

Going home with his award, Flash will take a break from shows this year.