Tiny, but Mighty, Banana Joe Takes the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Affenpinscher GCH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, also known as Joey, became the first in his breed to win the coveted Best in Show Award at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Tuesday.

“He doesn’t know he’s small, he doesn’t know he has a pushed-in face—he thinks he’s Mr. America.” That’s how handler Ernesto Lara described Joey.

Best in Show judge Michael Dougherty called Joey “a perfect little gentleman,” and said that he was “smitten.”  He chose Joey from a line-up of top dogs from the seven groups judged at Westminster that included an American Fox Hound, a Bichon Frise, a German Wirehaired Pointer and a Smooth Fox Terrier. 

Those not following Westminster were probably listening to the President Obama’s State of the Union message instead, and coincidentally, the winner of the Working Group was Matisse, a Portuguese Water Dog, the same breed owned by the Obama family.

Dougherty wasn’t the only one smitten by Joey.  The crowd at Madison Square Garden roared its approval. But there was also a lot of love for Dougherty’s choice for Reserve Champion, Bugaboo's Picture Perfect, an Old English Sheepdog.

The reserve award was given for the first time since 1925.  Another big change for the show this year was the move to Piers 92 and 94 for the daytime breed classes.  Construction at the Garden has done away with most of the “benching” area for dogs, and Westminster is one of the few shows that offers members of the public the opportunity to meet competing dogs and learn about the various breeds from breeders, owners and handlers.

On Wednesday, the benches come down and the crates move out, as hundreds of dogs head home to continue another year on the show circuit. 

But not Joey.  He’s spending the day on a traditional New York City victory lap that includes opening the Stock Exchange and dining at Sardi’s Restaurant, before he goes home to Holland with his breeder and co-owner (with Tina Truesdale) Mieke Cooymans.

Handler Lara says that Joey has an international following of people “who consider him part of their lives,” and for them, this is a happy, and sad, moment. 




Produced by:

Sarah Montague


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