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

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

COVID-19: Coast Mountain College cancels, postpones programs on Haida Gwaii

General interest and workforce training courses cancelled, field school postponed

UPDATE: Mother of missing Indigenous woman pleads for her safe return

23-year-old Shaylanna Lewis, who also uses the surname Brown, was last seen on March 21

UPDATE: Non-emergency ePACT alert provides information about COVID-19 response

Haida Gwaii communities sent out the alert on March 27

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

‘Community is amazing’: Williams Lake woman organizes drive-by birthdays

With self-isolation the norm due to COVID-19 children are missing out

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read