updated 11/27/2009 AT 8:21 AM ET
•originally published 11/26/2009 AT 3:19 PM ET
With her shining black coat and confident strut, Sadie, a 4 year-old Scottish terrier, won Best in Show at the National Dog Show Presented by Purina. “She’s a hardy, wonderful little show dog that never let up,” David Frei, an expert analyst and the show’s co-host, tells PEOPLEPets.com. “She showed to perfection and was presented to perfection by one of our greatest professional dog handlers, Gabriel Rangel.”
“I’m just very proud of Sadie because she accomplished such a win,” Rangel tells PEOPLEPets.com. “She’s such a wonderful show dog and I was very excited to see her reach that level. It was an overwhelming feeling of happiness.”
An estimated 18 to 20 million people tune in each year to watch the National Dog Show, making it the largest audience to watch a dog competition, says Frei. The event is hosted by Frei and actor John O’Hurley and features nearly 1,600 canine competitors.
Sadie, whose full name is Ch. Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot (the “Ch” stands for champion), is owned by Amelia Musser of Mackinac Island, Mich. For the past two and a half years, Sadie has been living full-time with her handler, Rangel, in southern California. “We’ve been showing her for two years,” says Rangel. “[Show dogs] start like any other athletes, they start little by little.” Sadie started winning – a lot. Her win at this year’s National Dog Show marks the 100th Best in Show title that Sadie has won.
“She did all the things that a terrier is supposed to do and what a great show dog is supposed to do,” says Frei. “She was on her toes, she’s at the end of her lead, she was ready to take on the world, which is what terriers are supposed to do.”
Rangel, a professional dog handler for nearly 30 years, knew just how to show Sadie off to best advantage. Using noises and perfectly-timed treats, he got Sadie to look her best at the right moments. “Your timing is very important,” says Rangel. “You can have a great dog and if the judge is looking and you’re not paying attention or not having the dog the right way, they’re not going to be able to see them.” That’s his job, Rangel says, to make sure the judges see her at her best. “But she’s so pretty,” he adds, “there is not a bad angle she has.”
What is Sadie like at home? “She’s just the perfect dog,” says Rangel. “When we travel and go to hotels, she’s so used to being with us and being indoors. She’s just our pet, basically. She’s just like any other dog. She’s very nice.”
You’ll never guess her favorite pastime. “Sadie likes to watch television,” Rangel laughs. “It doesn’t matter what [program is on], she gets hooked into the TV, especially if animals are on. I have many pictures of her sitting like a little kid watching TV in front of the screen.”
Will Sadie look to repeat Rufus’ feat of winning back-to-back Best in Show titles at the National Dog Show in November and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show the following February?
“It all depends on what happens at Westminster,” says Rangel. “Definitely we have a beautiful dog who we love regardless of what she does. But she will probably give a good performance. She will be hard to deny – put it that way.”
Read more about the National Dog Show on PEOPLEPets.com:
National Dog Show Is John O’Hurley’s ‘Favorite Day of the Year’
Watch & Wag: An Insider’s Guide to the National Dog Show