The dog world was shocked today when a mutt won the Best in Show award at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club competition in Madison Square Garden. Delbert, an unheralded multi-breed mix, bested over 160 purebreds to snag the award. The announcement grew hisses from the crowd, accustomed to winners from obscure and elegant breeds.
The judges were taken by Delbert's vivacious personality and his array of impressive tricks. "I suppose it's time a real dog won at Westminster," said judge Wesley Habersham III. "Who really gives a crap about a Portuguese Water Dog or a Dandie Dinmont Terrier anyway?" But many veteran trainers were outraged. "I can't believe that that thing won," said one angry contestant as she consoled her stunned Bichon Frise.
Due to numerous death threats, Delbert has a 24-hour security detail provided by the SPCA.
Delbert's victory came as no surprise to his owner, twelve-year-old Ashley Walters of Baltimore. "He's the best dog in the world," she gushed, "though I did feel bad when he bit that little Brussels Griffon."
Judges were especially impressed with Delbert's ability to collapse and remain motionless for an extended period of time. "I don't know how on earth they trained Delbert to pretend he is dead like that," said one judge. "I am quite amazed that you could teach a dog the concepts of life and death," he added.
Delbert's complex maneuvering when placing certain portions of his rear on one judge's leg also seemed to have a deep impact, with several other judges requesting the same treatment. Delbert's friendly sniffing appeared to win over some of the female judges, many of whom were unaccustomed to such attention
This is the first year that mutts, technically called Mixed Variety Amalgamations, were allowed into Westminster. The decision caused an uproar at the American Kennel Club, the premier dog organization in the country. Tempers were soothed when organizers agreed to have all mutts wear tags that read, "My parents were never properly introduced."
Some long-time observers of the dog world feel that Delbert's triumph may put the whole concept of rigorous breeding into question. "Saying any dog can win at Westminster is like saying anybody can be President," sighed one fancier.