Banana Joe wins Westminster best in show - as it happened

Affenspinscher Banana Joe takes the top prize at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Banana Joe
Handler Ernesto Lara holds up Banana Joe, an Affenpinscher, who won the Best in Show at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York, February 12, 2013. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Thank you and goodnight...

That's all from Madison Square Garden. Once again, Banana Joe the Affenpinscher was named Best in Show at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club.

Thank you for joining us.


As his owner gives a post-game interview, Banana Joe barks to the crowd. And why shouldn't he? The little Affenpinscher came up huge on the dog world's biggest stage.

Tomorrow, as is tradition, Banana Joe will head to Sardi's for a post-Westiminster feast. I hope he gets a banana split.

Final Thoughts

From Josh Dean

Josh Dean (@joshdean66)

@mister_solomon There you have it! Well played by the judge. Throws a bone to the crowd with Swagger, and awards the more deserving dog.

February 13, 2013

What can I say?

Well...I don't mean to brag (too much) but I have believed in Banana Joe from the very beginning. I thought this was his year...and the little Monkey Dog came through.

Banana Joe

The Affenspinscher takes the top prize at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show!

This is it...


And for Best in Show....



Nearly there...

The dogs made their final circle around the ring. Will it be Banana Joe? The crowd loved him. Swagger? Or Oakley?Judge Michael Dougherty is about to make his final selection. First up is Reserve Best in Show...and it goes to Swagger! The Old English Sheepdog.

Still more predictions

Laura Hohnhold (@taterlyle)

@mister_solomon @joshdean66Swagger's my top banana...

February 13, 2013

More predictions

Dan Pierce (@DrNobody18)

@mister_solomon I'm really pulling for Oakley to win, but I'd also like to see Swagger take the win as well. #conflicted

February 13, 2013

The lights are dimmed in Madison Square Garden and the dogs make their way into the ring. Predictably, Swagger gets the biggest applause from the crowd.

Until Banana Joe makes his way into the ring. 85 Best in Shows under his hairy belt. Can he make it 86?

My prediction

I started off last night by predicting Banana Joe the Affenpinscher. And I'm not backing down. I love this little guy.

Oakley the German Wirehaired Pointer is going to be tough to beat though—he was the No. 1 dog in the country next year. And Swagger, the young Old English Sheepdog will be the crowd favorite.

But I believe in Joe.

Josh Dean's Prediction

Josh Dean (@joshdean66)

@mister_solomon I feel like one of two things happens now: Either Banana Joe wins, or the judge goes rogue and pleases crowd picking Swagger

February 13, 2013

The Final Seven

Here's who it comes down to tonight...

Hound: Jewel (American Foxhound)

Toy: Banana Joe (Affenpinscher)

Non-Sporting: Honor (Bichon Frise)

Herding: Swagger (Old English Sheepdog)

Sporting: Oakley (German Wirehaired Terrier)

Working: Matisse (Portuguese Water Dog)

Terrier: Adam (Smooth Fox Terrier)

Up Next...Best in Show

So there you have it. Two pre-Westminster favorites failed to make it out of the Group judging tonight—Fifi the Doberman and Sky the Wire Fox Terrier.

Does this bode well for my guy, Banana Joe the affenpinscher, or is it a night of more upsets?

Best in Group: Terrier

Another upset! The Smooth Fox Terrier wins the group!

Sky, the Wire Fox Terrier, was second. The Border Terrier was third and the Russell Terrier, the newcomer, was fourth.

Big upset there.

End of the Terrier Group

This is Sky, the Wire Fox Terrier's group to lose. But I just don't see it.

Still, as Show Dog author Josh Dean reminds me:

Other than Toys (& Joe), every group has been a surprise, so you can make a case that there's an upset theme building.

Another Cousin Itt hairstyle on the Skye Terrier. Cooper has black bangs covering his eyes—like the Bieber of yore. The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier follows but doesn't get the crowd going.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier looks like a bull. Go figure. Now we have the Welsh Terrier who resembles the Airedale. Jenny is very well-behaved. And she hails from Shanghai.

Finally, we have the West Highland High Terrier. Totally adorable. Titters from the crowd. I'm sorry, I love a Westie. This is like a white version of Banana Joe. My beloved Banana Joe.

Echo, the Parson Russell Terrier makes it into the ring, but seems distracted. And here's one of the two new breeds at Westminster this year—the Russell Terrier. This fellow looks happy to be here.

A classic Westminster dog—the Scottish Terrier. (Sadie, the 2010 winner at Westminster was a Scottie.) He's walking with purpose. Working it. Cute. But he's no Banana Joe. The Sealyham Terrier has so much hair in front of his eyes that it's a miracle he can find his way around the ring.

The Lakeland Terrier is a "gay little dog" according to the announcer at Madison Square Garden. (Which means he can get married in New York?) And old school Guardian readers, here comes the Standard Manchester Terrier. And he's a leaper. Or has ADD.

The Miniature Bull Terrier has the tiniest eyes you will ever see. But he won't. And the Miniature Schnauzer looks focused and intense.

Okay Christopher Guestfans, here's the Norwich Terrier. You remember him as Winky. He was preceded by his lookalike—the Norfolk Terrier.

Sky vs. Banana Joe?

Josh Dean (@joshdean66)

@mister_solomon Sky is Joe's real rival, if she gets out of this group (as I suspect she will). Judges love terriers.

February 13, 2013

The Glen of Imaal Terrier wags his tongue to the crowd. Pandering? Sure. But it's a competition. Next up is the Irish Terrier and he has great eyebrows and a beard. The Kerry Blue Terrier is actually grey with a black beard. And she's named Pink. For those who have color issues.

Sir Walter Scott made this next breed famous—the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. It's not the manliest dog I've ever seen. Not only does he have a powder puff face, he's prancing.

The Smooth Fox Terrier is up now. And he has a black and white face split down the middle. Like a cookie.

And here comes the dog to beat. Sky, the Wire Fox Terrier. If she can win tonight, she will have completed the Triple Crown of Dog shows this year. For movie buffs, Nick and Nora Charles' Asta was a Wire Fox Terrier.

The Colored Bull Terrier makes his way into the ring—and this one is Yum Yum. (That's the name, not my opinion.) And now we get the White Bull Terrier—the Spuds MacKenzie dog, or, if you prefer, the Target dog. The crowd loves it when he goes for the treat.

More cuteness—the Cairn Terrier. And for those who love the Wizard of Oz...Toto was a Cairn. The Cesky Terrier takes a spin in the ring. Another world-class beard.

The Airedale Terrier is first up in this group. As always...a great beard. Next is the American Staffordshire Terrier, who slightly resembles a pitbull. And now we move into serious cuteness with the Australian Terrier. This breed is a great bed warmer. For that matter, so am I.

The Bedlington Terrier has "the look of a lamb and the heart of a lion." (For that matter, so do I.) Eleanor Rigby has some adorable pompoms on her ears. And the Border Terrier is giving her handler some attitude. Maya has 12 Best in Shows, more than any other Border in history.

The Terrier Group

And now the final group of the evening. Release the Terriers!

State of the Union update

Joe Biden is wearing a purple tie. He's obviously thinking about 2016 and those purple states.

Or is it a Mardi Gras thing?

SOTU 2013
Some real Easter egg colors in those ties, fellas. Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP

Best in Group: Working

A lot of great dogs in the final grouping, but the title goes to...

The Portuguese Water Dog wins it!

It's an upset! Could this be because of Bo Obama and the SOTU?

Fifi the Doberman is second, the Boxer is third, and the Rottweiler came in fourth.

Best Badass Breed?

Josh Dean (@joshdean66)

@mister_solomon If I were compiling a Badass Dog Breed ranking, the Komondor would definitely sit at #1.

February 13, 2013

End of the Working Group

That concludes the Working Group. I think it's Fifi the Doberman's to lose.

Candy the Samoyed works the crowd now—big smile. Big paws, too. And the Siberian Husky doesn't look too husky to me. Lithe really. And Rumor is full of spunk.

The Standard Shnauzer has a superb beard. The breed started out as ratters...but Max is a champion squirrel hunter. (Same thing as far as I'm concerned.)

And finally we have the Tibetan Mastiff. Sasha is two years old and has some serious '80s rock band hair. If a lion played in an '80s rock band.

I'm always amazed when New Yorkers have a New Foundland. That's big dog for most apartments. Up next is the Portuguese Water Dog, or as you know him—Bo Obama. Matisse here has a tail that's a work of art.

The Rottweiler makes for a great family dog—and Pilot here sprints around the ring. Does he have somewhere to be? And who doesn't love a St. Bernard? I'd like one to bring me a drink right about now. But this one is named Cookie. So I'd also like a cookie.

The Great Swiss Mountain Dog is next up. Once an all-purpose farm dog, they can still haul ass. And Gus looks lively. And if you loved the Puli last night, you'll looooove the Komondor. Think of it as a white Rasta dog. Or a mop. Or a car wash.

The Kuvasz requires an owner who is at least as smart as he is. I'd take my chances. Tanner looks a little bored—he just yawned.

Odin the Leonberger is a local boy from Irvington, New York. A great mane on him—like a lion. The Mastiff—Spartacus—came out focused. And the crowd likes him. But he's no match for the face of the Neapolitan Mastiff. Bring on the drool with this guy! And the iron—he's wrinkly.

The Dogue de Bordeaux has one of the best faces you will ever see. And that German Pinscher came out intense. The Giant Schnauzer has one of the best beards we've seen tonight. And God bless that Great Dane—he owns that ring.

And here comes the Great Pyrenees, a dog that was bred to be a smuggler. Go figure. Baron looks far too regal to be involved in smuggling.

The Bullmastiff came out feisty. And the crowd loves him for it. And the Cane Corso has some sad, sad, eyes.

And here comes Fifi—the Fifinator—she's the dog to beat in this group. And possibly in Westminster itself.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Piper may be the saddest dog I have ever seen. Cheer up, Piper!

Alaskan Malamute

Super Ricky is a seven-year-old who loves to snowboard. I'm guessing Sarah Palin is rooting for him.


After hearing about all the friendly's one that's aloof. As I recall, Nicole Brown Simpson had one.

Scouting report

As I mentioned earlier, the dog to beat here is the Doberman Pinscher—Fifi.

The Working Group

Here they come—the big dogs! Release the Working Group...

Say "Fleas!"

Want to see photos of the dogs in and out of competition yesterday? Here’s a gallery featuring the best of day one at Westminster.

Expert commentary

Last night, I was lucky enough to get some color commentary by Show Dog author Josh Dean. Tonight he's back for more. Fetch his book when this is over.

Josh Dean (@joshdean66)

@mister_solomon Not technically an upset, since that dog was #1 all year, but I still thought Beckham would take it. Once again, no golden.

February 13, 2013

An interview with Oakley

"He's had a career that dreams are made of," says Oakley's handler. "He'll probably play with a toy and come back for the fourth quarter."

Best in Group: Sporting

And Oakley, the German Wirehaired Pointer takes the group! (David Frei called it.)

Beckham, the Cocker Spaniel, was second. The English Springer Spaniel was third. And the Clumber Spaniel was fourth.

A tough group.

End of Sporting Group

Who do you like in this breed? I have to go with Beckham. But I have a few other favorites.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Now that's a beard! And his face matches his name—Higgins. Pour that dog a gin.


The dogs that photographer William Wegman made famous. And Schwinn is a beauty.


A beautiful dog—he looks so focused as he parades around the ring.

Spinone Italiano

How can you not love a dog that's known for its wet beard? If I were man enough I'd grow one. Big crowd pleaser.

Welsh Springer Spaniel

Ali's father was best in breed at Westminster. Twice. Dog shows are like horse racing that way—breeding truly matters.

Susses Spaniel

The late (great) Stump who won Westminster in 2009 was this breed. And this entry is trying hard to live up to that legacy.

Irish Water Spaniel

Claire looks like a Labradoodle with a rat tail. But in a good way.

Field Spaniel

Reportedly more English than any other Spaniel in this group. And who can argue—her name is Ginger.

English Springer Spaniel

A huuuuge hand for this dog—the No. 2 Sporting dog in the country. I think Peyton could be a contender in this group.

English Cocker Spaniel

Stevie has a really interesting coat—grey and black. And he is amped up.

Cocker Spaniel (Parti-colored)

Parti people in the house! Lance has a beautiful coat—almost like hairy chaps. (Not that I own a pair.)

Cocker Spaniel (ASCOB)

What's ASCOB you ask? Any Solid Color Other than Black. And Tucker has some spirit tonight. But he's no Beckham.

Cocker Spaniel (Black)

Here's a dog to watch in this group—Beckham. He's won 122 Best in Shows. I expect him to be in the final four of this group.

David Beckham
The original Beckham is almost as handsome as his four-legged namesake. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images


Clumber Spaniel

Is it me, or does Seymour have a bit of a limp? Also, how can he be named Seymour when he's from South America? Great face though.

Boykin Spaniel

This dog's name is Taker because he's a pirate—"he even steals hearts" according to David Frei. Just in time for Valentine's Day.

No Love for the Golden or Lab?

Laura Hohnhold asks:

How can the beloved golden retriever be too good-natured and devoted to win Best in Show? That makes no sense!

Ditto the beloved lab...

How did Cary Grant never win an Oscar for Best Actor? Both breeds have been shut out and never won at Westminster.

American Water Spaniel

Digger came out intense. He brought his A-game tonight,

Irish Red and White Setter

A classic bird dog, here's an Irish setter who's actually from Ireland.

Irish Setter

To keep this dog relaxed before his trip around the ring, his handler placed an ear over his eyes—Fifty Shades style.

Gordon Setter

Teddy (named because he resembles a teddy bear) is the heaviest of the setter varieties. I just like to say "big boned."

English Setter

Trevor is a four-year-old male with a beautiful speckled coat—and a great stride.

Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)

Diana has a lot of spirit. And she's laser-locked on her handler.

Retriever (Labrador)

Another crowd pleaser—this is the most registered AKC breed for the last 20 years. Kiefer is really working the ring.

Retriever (Golden)

Well...obviously everyone loves a Golden. And the crowd at the Garden loves Cody.

Retriever (Flat-Coated)

And the retrievers keep on coming. Here's Showman Roman...and he has racked up a lot of titles in his career. Another great grin.

Retriever (Curly-Coated)

A "wicked smart" breed and not for the average owner, picture a retriever with a perm. Ariel is smiling for the crowd.

Retriever (Chesapeake Bay)

It may be the state dog of Maryland, but Special is from Denver.

Pointer (German Wirehaired)

This is commentator David Frei's favorite—Oakley, the number one dog in the country this year. He should be a contender in best in group.

Pointer (German Shorthaired)

Look! Another pointer! This is Bella and her grandmother was Best in Show at Westminster in 2005.


Look! It's a pointer! Look! It's Ginger, a four-year-old female. And she seems spry.


This dog is known for its exuberance...but Rocky seems pretty chill tonight. Maybe it's because he's getting ready to retire after tonight.

For those who are bravely ignoring President Obama’s State of the Union  Congress later tonight, fear not. I have you covered. I’ll post excerpts from the speech in between the judging.

Here’s an early excerpt:

“It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.

It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.

It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours.”

 Sorry, did I lose you?

The Sporting Group

And we're off! Release the Sporting Group...

Once again, please rise for the ceremonial singing of God Loves a Terrier.


Last night’s winners: Swagger

What would a canine competition be without an underdog? Swagger, the Old English Sheepdog who took top honors in the Herding group last night, is just 20 months old and this is only his fourth dog show. But the crowd clearly loved him last night. As did the judge.

Swagger Westminster dog show 2013
Swagger in action last night—living up to his name. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP


Last night’s winners: Honor

Having two dogs in the final seven at Westminster is a rarity. But Ellen Charles has accomplished that feat: She co-owns Honor, the Bichon who won the Non-Sporting Group, and Jewel, the winner in the Hound Group. So if Westminster is the Super Bowl of dog shows, she’s kind of the Jack and Jackie Harbaugh of this competition.

Honor Bichon Frise Westminster Dog show 2013
Honor, a Bichon Frise, was top dog in the Non-Sporting Group. Is Best in Show next? Photograph: MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS


Last night’s winners: Banana Joe

Before Westminster began, Banana Joe was my pick for Best in Show. The little monkey dog has won his breed three years in a row, but last year he was edged out in the Toy group by Westminster’s eventual champion, Malachy the Pekingese. Will this be his year?

Banana Joe, Westminster dog show 2013
Banana Joe, an Affenpinscher, won the Toy group last night. Look at that face. He ain't playin'. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP


Last night’s winners: Jewel

Although not a favorite to take home Best in Show at Westminster, Jewel, an American Foxhound, will be among the final seven tonight. What makes Jewel’s presence special, however, is that she is co-owned by Ellen Charles, whose Bichon Frise, Honor, won the Non-Sporting Group last night.

Jewel, American foxhound, Westminster 2013
Jewel, an American Foxhound, celebrates after being named top hound. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP



The competition was intense on opening night of the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, but tonight it gets really hairy. In addition to the Sporting, Working, and Terrier groups, at the end of the evening, judge Michael Dougherty will name one dog Best in Show.

Last night, four breeds advanced to the Best in Show competition: Jewel, an American Foxhound, was named Best Hound; an Affenpinscher known as Banana Joe, won the always competitive Toy group; Honor, a Bichon Frise, took the Non-Sporting title; and in something of an upset, Swagger, a youthful Old English Sheepdog won the Herding group.

In the three categories this evening, watch for two favorites to emerge in Best in Show. In the Sporting group, the Wire Fox Terrier known as Sky, is the one to beat. He took the AKC title back in December. And in the Working group, look out for Fifi the Doberman Pinscher. The “Fifinator” (as she is known) was the pre-show favorite according to Las Vegas oddsmaker Johnny Avello.

Who will be named Best in Show for 2013? The fur is about to start flying…


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