The Latest: Lab three-peats as Westminster obedience champ

Monday , February 12, 2018 - 4:04 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the Westminster Kennel Club dog show (all times local):

6 p.m.

Looks like you’ve got to have Heart to win the Westminster Kennel Club dog show obedience championship.

A Labrador retriever named Heart and handler Linda Brennan won the competition Monday for the third year in a row. That’s every year the contest has been held.

About two dozen dogs competed. The event includes elaborate, six-minute routines.

Heart’s and Brennan’s had a “once in a blue moon” theme. The 5 ½-year-old dog fetched a crescent-moon-shaped balloon on a string and picked out crescent pillows from clusters of star-shaped ones. Heart also wove between Brennan’s legs as they walked, among other tricks.

Brennan is an obedience trainer from Columbia, New Jersey. She says Heart “really sparkles in this particular setting,” in front of crowds at the nation’s premier dog show.

2:40 p.m.

For some breeders at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, the sport is a family tradition. For Louise Brooks-Lowe and Stacey Hawkes, it was a bucket-list item.

After being laid off from their information technology jobs in 2007, the Londoners asked themselves what they wanted to do with their lives.

One answer: Bring a dog to the U.K.‘s top dog show, Crufts.

One problem: They had never bred or shown dogs.

So they researched. They launched their kennel, Pugalicious, in 2008. Four years later, their pug Mac won his breed at Crufts.

On Monday, they were at Westminster to see of Mac’s grandsons, Humphrey, compete. He’s owned by Heidi Merkli of Ottawa, the Canadian capital.

As for the bucket list, Brooks-Lowe says “the dogs have pretty much taken that over.”

11 a.m.

Patricia Hearst-Shaw has picked up another prize at Westminster, an award of merit for a French bulldog she co-owns called Tuggy.

Her Frenchies have done well here in the past and often have been “in the ribbons,” as dog fanciers like to say.

Hearst sat ringside for the breed judging, a day after CNN debuted the start of its docuseries on the famed heiress titled “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst.”

9:30 a.m.

A German shepherd that survived a brutal highway accident a few years is out of Westminster, and his show career might be over.

Fanucci was unable to walk into the ring Monday, the first day of two days of America’s most prestigious dog show.

His owners think he might have been nipped by a playful puppy recently, or perhaps he shook his ear too hard and broke a blood vessel.

The 5-year-old was considered by many the nation’s top German shepherd. But his left ear, the one closest to the judge, bubbled up and knocked him out of the competition.

Fanucci’s right rear leg was shattered in 2014 when he jumped out of a van that was being towed. He was injured so badly his owners considered euthanizing him.

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