Northern California dogs earn best of breed honors at N.Y. show

02/13/2013 12:00 AM

02/13/2013 3:48 PM

Their formal names may be mouthfuls and their accolades many, but they're still down-home, lovable companions who just happen to be blue ribbon-wearing celebrities and the current toast of New York.

On Tuesday, after his fourth consecutive breed victory at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Magnum the Canaan dog from Davis got stopped on the streets of Manhattan while taking his morning walk.

" 'Oh my God, that dog looks exactly like the dog on TV!' (exclaimed a fan)," recalled Pamela Rosman, Magnum's co-owner. "That's because he is that dog on TV."

The two-day show culminated Tuesday night with an affenpinscher, nicknamed Banana Joe, winning the Best in Show award.

On America's biggest canine stage, local dogs had their day as pedigreed pooches with Northern California ties won honors Monday and Tuesday at the 137th Westminster dog show at Madison Square Garden.

For some, the leap to dog stardom seemed hard to imagine. Cardigan Welsh corgi Coco – that's Riverside Telltails Coco Posh in the show ring – had champion blood from her mother Lola, but she's spent most of her life as the mascot of her owners' Salmon King Lodge in Red Bluff. Monday, she became best of her breed.

"At home, she's just another loving member of the family who loves to play Frisbee and hunt lizards," said co-owner Julie Divens, whose sister, Debbie Shindle, handled the dog at Westminster. "She went from fishing dog to now a super show dog."

Magnum – a.k.a. Pleasant Hill Magnum of Samara – finished fourth in the herding group, a huge accomplishment for his little-known breed.

"For the first time in the history of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, a Canaan dog placed in the herding group," Rosman said. "Magnum has broken every single Canaan dog record. This is the ultimate level of competition. This is the epitome of the dog world, the Super Bowl of dogs."

Part of the Westminster show's mission is to publicize and preserve breeds. For example, Canaan dogs – an ancient breed that dates back to Biblical times – are endangered.

"When Moses came down Mount Sinai, a friendly Canaan dog walked with him," said Dr. Richard Vulliet, Magnum's co-owner and a UC Davis professor.

Magnum often can be seen on the university's campus, visiting Vulliet's veterinary classes or serving as a four-legged ambassador. The 8-year-old dog also likes to go sailing.

"I can't tell you how much he's raised recognition of the Canaan dog breed," Rosman said. "We're so proud and privileged to be owned by Magnum."

Dr. Rebecca Hahn of Grass Valley won back-to-back best of breed honors with her Entlebucher mountain dogs, a breed added to Westminster's list last year.

Queso Von Adhem, a working mom who gave birth to seven puppies last summer, won Monday, following the triumph of Hahn's Jumanji V. Brunswick in 2012.

Both veterinarians, Hahn and her husband, Dr. Jay Schuff, have bred these Swiss herding dogs for 18 years.

"Queso is fifth generation for us," Hahn said. "That's very very nice. She not only competes in confirmation, but agility and rally obedience, too. And she's a good buddy."

Dozens of Westminster's 2,700-plus invitation-only entries came from Northern California.

"We're a hotbed of dog shows," Hahn said. "The weather's good, we have room for dogs (to be outdoors) and a lot of good breeders."

Queso, who likely will travel to Switzerland soon "to meet a new boyfriend," celebrated with a nap on their hotel's king-size bed, Hahn said.

After his past Westminster wins, Magnum got steak on a silver platter engraved with his name. Said Rosman, "We'll have to come up with something better this time."

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