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

Maple Ridge mom wants justice on two-year anniversary of daughter’s death

Megan Kinnee, 19, died July 13, 2018 after motorcycle crash in Abbotsford

Maple Ridge neighbourhood rallies together for Saturday garage sale

Event aimed to bring Albion residents together – but not too close – while the financially strapped

Farmers market returns to downtown Maple Ridge

Next Saturday, July 18 people can shop at the newly reconfigured market in Memorial Peace Park

Ridge Meadows RCMP catch three more impaired drivers overnight

Local Mounties served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Cocooning pays dividends for local environmental group

A butterfly adoption program helps keep the Alouette River Management Society in Maple Ridge afloat

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Most Read