Bella the German shepherd, seen here with Parker Duin, is in New York City competing in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which runs Feb. 9 to Feb. 11. (Jody Duin)

Chilliwack dog in New York vying for top spot at 144th annual Westminster dog show

Bella is the only German shepherd from B.C. competing this weekend

A Chilliwack dog is in the Big Apple this weekend vying for top spot in one of the most prestigious dog shows in North America.

Bella, a German shepherd, and her handler Courtney Penner landed in New York City today (Saturday) ready to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

“Westminster is the Super Bowl of dog shows,” said Jody Duin, one of Bella’s owners. “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,” Duin said.

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 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this weekend.

Approximately 2,800 dogs from around the world will be competing this year. Bella is the only German shepherd from B.C.

She will start by competing Sunday morning in her breed along with 12 other German shepherds. If Bella wins, she will continue on to compete Monday in the herding group. If she’s successful there, she moves on to Tuesday night’s best in show competition.

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 and will be tuning in from their home in Chilliwack throughout the weekend either by Westminster Kennel Club’s live streaming of the competition or via Facebook live video.

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].”

So what’s next for this young German shepherd if she wins best in show at Westminster? Duin admits there’s not really anywhere else to go.

“In our sport, I think when a dog wins Westminster you probably retire on a high note,” she said.

RELATED: B.C. Newfie wins Best in Breed at Westminster Dog Show 2018

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

 

Bella the German shepherd and handler Courtney Penner from Chilliwack are in New York City competing in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which runs Feb. 9 to Feb. 11. (Jody Duin)

Bella the German shepherd and handler Courtney Penner from Chilliwack are in New York City competing in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which runs Feb. 9 to Feb. 11. (Jody Duin)

Just Posted

Memorial Arena set to host high school graduation ceremonies

Western Financial Place expected to be unavailable due to ongoing construction during summer months

PHOTOS: Taking in the action at Winter Blitzville

The second annual Winter Blitzville was bigger and better this year as… Continue reading

Bucks sign defenseman Rhys Bentham

The Bucks’ roster — and D-line — continues to grow in advance… Continue reading

RCMP arrest Kimberley woman after Invermere robbery

RCMP in the Columbia Valley are pleased to share that as a… Continue reading

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Woman charged after alleged fuel thefts, ramming of RCMP car in B.C. Interior

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

No dramatic shifts expected as B.C. government tables new budget today

Finance Minister Carole James has promised to stay the course when she tables the budget in the legislature

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Most Read