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Every dog has its day, but the wire fox terrier has it twice

November 23, 2012|By Matt Pearce

Well, there you have it: A record-breaking dog.

For the first time in history, a breed captured back-to-back “Best In Show” titles at the National Dog Show on Thursday in Philadelphia: a wire fox terrier named Sky.

The 4-year-old won the 1,500-dog competition, continuing the reign started last year by another wire fox terrier, Eira.

Thursday’s show was broadcast by NBC to a turkey-drowsed holiday audience, and millions would be further basted by waves of golf-hush commentary on the usual array of bizarre, beautiful dogs: A Great Dane that looked bigger than its handler, a bearded collie that seemed more coat than animal, dogs sometimes more high-end sports car than man's best friend.

Sky -- owned by Torie Steele of Malibu, who also co-owns last year’s winning wire fox terrier, and Victor Malzoni of Sao Paolo, Brazil -- has a tube-shaped head, fur-fattened legs and paws that seemed to barely touch the ground when running.

Best in Show judge Vicki Abbott drifted across the competition’s blue carpet in a long, imposing black dress as she scrutinized each dog’s body, gait and coat, while the trainers -- themselves, arguably, sometimes as unusual as the animals -- fussed with, prodded, and bribed their partners with treats to behave.

Abbott then settled on Sky as the winner.

“She has a keen expression and that dense, wiry coat,” Abbott said, according to a release from the National Dog Show. “The handler let her show herself and she performed.” Sky's handler, Gabriel Rangel of Rialto, added, "She has a beautiful head, and her face is unbelievable.”

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times’ Patt Morrison in February, owner Steele said: “I didn’t get into [terriers] wanting to show. I just got into them as a pet. One that I loved dearly died, and the [breeder] wouldn’t let me have the new one unless I agreed to show it.”

She added, “I [was] in the fashion business, and to my eye the fox terrier is one of the most fashionable dogs, because of their angles and design.”

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