German shepherd Bella, seen here with her handler Courtney Penner, was the runner up in her breed at the 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York on Sunday. (Lindsey Hudspeth)

B.C. German Shepherd wins female breed prize at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Bella was the only German shepherd from B.C. competing at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

A Chilliwack dog is bringing home a runner-up ribbon from one of the most prestigious dog shows in North America.

Bella, a German shepherd, won “Best of Opposite Sex” in her breed during the 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the weekend. She and her handler, Courtney Penner, are in New York City for the competition which runs Feb. 8 to Feb. 11.

“We couldn’t be happier or more proud,” said Jody Duin, one of Bella’s owners. “Winning Best of Opposite Sex at Westminster among such an amazing group of German shepherds is an honour and something we are so very thrilled about.”

There were 13 German shepherds in total competing in that breed category on Sunday. A male dog named Hermes V Kenlyn placed first, and Bella was right behind him. Hermes was the number one German shepherd in all of the U.S. last year, while Bella was the number one in Canada the same year.

“They essentially met head-to-head – Canada versus the U.S.,” Duin said.

READ MORE: Chilliwack dog in New York vying for top spot in 144th annual Westminster dog show

It has been a lot of work for Bella to make it to Westminster.

“Westminster is the Super Bowl of dog shows,” Duin said. “In order to be able to go to Westminster, you have to be a champion.”

The year 2019 was a “banner” year for Bella.

“She far exceeded our highest expectations.”

The young three-year-old dog had been shown countless times throughout 2018 and 2019 and during that time she won 18 best in show titles in B.C. and Alberta.

Each time she won best in show, Bella would receive points – the larger the entry of dogs in a competition, the greater the number of points a dog can earn. Bella garnered enough points and show wins to be given the title “Canadian grand champion” and “American champion,” pointing her in the direction of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Approximately 2,800 dogs from around the world are competing at Westminster this year. Bella was the only German shepherd from B.C.

It’s not an agility competition, but rather conformation where dogs are judged by how closely they are to the breed standard with evaluations on movement, structure and more.

Bella is owned by Duin, her daughter Parker, and Cortnie Partner of the U.S. She was bred by Woodside German Shepherds in Langley.

In New York, Bella is joined by Cortnie Partner, Courtney Penner, and the breeder. The Duins were unable to join Bella but they were cheering them on from their home in Chilliwack.

Despite all her success, Duin said Bella is as much a typical family pet as she is a show dog.

“For a dog that has done so much winning and is such a cool dog in terms of the show world, she’s also a regular dog,” Duin said. “She’s just like any other pet dog except she’s an athlete.”

Bella has a “village” of people who train her including her owners, breeder, handlers and fill-in or assistant handlers.

Duin’s seven-year-old daughter, Parker, showed an interest and ability to help train and condition Bella at an early age. The family has an active lifestyle and they enjoy biking and swimming with Bella to ensure she stays in prime condition.

“She’s wild and fun but also knows when to turn it on,” Duin said. “It’s very evident that she really does love [competing].”

RELATED: Chilliwack teen off to Canadian dog handling championships in Newfoundland


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Dogs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: No more international flights at Kelowna International Airport

All international flights at YLW have been suspended, airport to operate just nine flights a day

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in West Kelowna amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

‘Share the road’: More cyclists hitting Kelowna streets amid COVID-19 pandemic

Increased bicycle, pedestrian traffic due to shifting seasons and social distancing

Unemployment up, Kelowna loses 2,000 jobs in March: StatCan

March unemployment rate 5.9 per cent, highest in Kelowna since January 2018

Peachland residents living in lockdown in central Philippines

Kevin and Gracelyn Bennett have been in the Philippines since December

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

Public warned to stay away from algae bloom near Herald Park in Shuswap Lake

Interior Health states that people, pets should not drink the water in the area or touch the algae

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

South Shuswap residents criticize upgrades to Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Reliance on frontage roads and narrow underpasses near Blind Bay not good enough

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Serious assault leaves Osoyoos woman in critical condition: RCMP

A 60-year-old Osoyoos woman suffers life threatening injuries following assault inside home

COVID-19: Vernon pet grooming store closed temporarily after symptoms shown

Wet Spot Grooming and Pet Care to announce return Easter Monday

Most Read