David Moffitt and best in breed at Westminster dog show, Zola, named after writer Emile Zola. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Maple Ridge couple wins second time at Westminster

Miniature bull terrier Zola best in breed

Terry and David Moffitt may have the ultimate power couple on their hands.

After Saxon, their miniature bull terrier won best in breed at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2016, their other minature bull terrier, Zola, just did the same thing.

Zola, three and a half years old, won best of breed at the same event earlier this month. That follows a win at the North American championships in the U.S. in 2017 and best in breed in the Canadian show in 2018. “She was number one in her breed in Canada this year,” said David.

Now with accolades and ribbons, the pair is likely to retire, so they can breed more show-stopping show winners.

While Zola is a winner, edging out heavy competition from top U.S. breeders, she is way too friendly and frisky to seem to fit into the formality that’s the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

She greets a newcomer like a long-lost friend and drowns them in affection and love.

David said Zola also runs the kitchen which is likely her favourite place. “She’s a bit of a food-a-holic. We have to control her eating habits because she does love her food.”

Breeding dogs to win in shows is a challenging task that requires studying lineage and characteristics of ancestors in the hope that the progeny will have the ultimate, winning physical form. “I like to think we have a reasonable idea and are able to follow the lineage of the dogs that have the correct conformation.

“Her conformation is spectacular. That’s what the judges said at the show,” he adds.

“She won because she represents the standard … for the breed in an exceptional way. That’s what the judge said at Westminster – a beautiful representation of the breed.”

Bull terriers, like Don Cherry’s Blue, were originally bred to herd bulls to slaughter and are tough and resolute and can withstand a knock on the head. They’re also not afraid to move into a rat-infested building and clean it out, unlike some feline species who shrink away from the task.

“They have to be strong. They have to have good muscle.”

Zola won because of the shape of her head and her body shape, as well as her physical ability, and the sheer mental toughness to be able to endure a competition that goes on for hours, David said.

“There are 12,000 people in Madison Square Garden when you walk in there. So the dog has to be able to handle that pressure,” David said.

The win is even a bigger accomplishment for Terry who’s been dreaming of winning the best of breed title since she was a teenager. To be able to do that twice is “quite amazing,” said David.

“So it’s a big deal.”

The Maple Ridge couple have been competing in dog shows for 40 years and the triumphs are adding up.

The Moffitts have lived in Maple Ridge for 22 years, but their dog breeding goes back 40 years. They switched to low-maintenance mini bulls about five years ago. It’s a lot of but it’s a labour of love, David says.

“They do refer to them as a three-year-old in a clown suit. Their temperament is so comical.”


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David Moffitt and best in breed at Westminster dog show, Zola, named after writer Emile Zola. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

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