NEW YORK -- Swagger has swagger, and why not? The relatively untested Old English sheepdog scored an upset of sorts at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show by trouncing more mature and show-tested sheepdogs to win best in group in the herding category, putting him in contention for the title of best in show on Tuesday.
Like the hundreds of other dogs in this year’s competition, Swagger, who hails from Colorado Springs, Colo., has a formal name used in competition.
It is Bugaboo’s Perfect Picture.
For the sake of simplicity and, might we say, dignity, we’ll stick with Swagger, who joined the other finalists Tuesday evening before showtime, soaking up the admiring stares of spectators streaming through the dogs’ rest area. Looking into his large crate, it was impossible to tell which end was up with Swagger, whose gray and white hair fell in silken sheets over his eyes, nose and mouth.
He weighs about 90 pounds, said Swagger’s owner, Colton Johnson. Eighty if you don’t include the hair.
Swagger’s success is due to the Westminster show being opened this year to so-called “class” dogs, which lack the points scored in competition to earn the label “championship” dogs. The rules change meant that Swagger, who had appeared in only three shows before entering the ring for the herding group competition Monday, could go head-to-head against dogs with years of experience and rooms full of trophies and ribbons.