NEW YORK (AFP) - The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday picked a Beagle as its best in show, scoring a knockout blow for America's Snoopy breed for the second time in seven years.
Peyton, also known as "Miss P," outperformed a cadre of higher-ranked Westminister stalwarts to take the nation's most prestigious dog show.
A tri-color beagle weighing about 13.6kg, Peyton glided across the vast expanse of Madison Square Garden as she outperformed six other finalists selected from the more than 2,700 participants in the annual canine competition.
"She just never let me down," said her handler Will Alexander. "She just didn't make any mistakes." To get to Tuesday's "Best in Show" round, Peyton first had to eclipse Nathan the Bloodhound, the top-ranked hound in a competitive group that also featured highly-touted Afghan Hounds and Whippets, among others.
After dispensing with Nathan on Monday night, Peyton, whose full name is Tashtins Lookin for Trouble, took care of the nation's top two ranked dogs, Matisse the Portuguese Water Dog, and Swagger, the Old English Sheepdog.
Both dogs had prior experience navigating the rowdy finale of Westminster, which opens with a darkened auditorium as each dog is introduced individually before raucous cheers.
Yet, Miss P betrayed no nerves, gracefully navigating the garden with the ease of a pro.
The burly Swagger won the loudest cheers from the crowd and the elegant Matisse, who is related to one of President Obama's dogs, had the polite reception of a veteran and highly-decorated campaigner.
Yet, Miss P took the crown.
"Certainly some other dogs had more credentials," said David Frei, the official spokesman for Westminster.
Still, Frei said the beagle victory did not qualify as an upset. Miss P finished 2014 as the ninth-ranked dog in the country and has already amassed a slew of best in show wins.
Win or lose, Miss P had been planning to retire after Westminster and Alexander said that was still in the cards. She will ultimately reside with her owners, Lori and Kaitlyn Crandlemire, a mother and daughter, in Enderby, British Columbia.
Miss P is a grand-niece of Uno, which made history in 2008 as the first beagle to win Westminster.
Uno's win sparked an unprecedented standing ovation from the Madison Square Garden crowd. While Miss P's win did not quite lift the audience from its seats, it prompted loud cheers commensurate with the seal of approval for one of America's five most popular breeds.