02/17/2010 at 10:00 AM EST
A confident little Scottish terrier named Sadie, a crowd favorite with 112 career best in shows under her belt, won Best in Show at the 134th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
held at New York City's Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
There were muted cheers when judge Elliott Weiss announced that the 4 1/2-year-old silky black pooch, who had been a predicted winner, received the prestigious title. But die-hard fans held signs that read "Sadie Rocks" as photographers barked in hopes of getting her attention for photos.
"She's very special. She's a total package," Weiss told PEOPLEPets.com immediately after the announcement. "A dog of this quality comes along about once every 10 years
. She's pleasing to the eye at any angle, and she's beautiful to the hand."
'She Was Perfect'
Formally known as Ch. Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot, Sadie was selected from some 2,500 competing dogs, and beat out a whippet, a doberman pinscher, a brittany, a French bulldog, a puli and a poodle for Best in Show.
"She was perfect. I couldn't ask for anything else," Gabriel Rangel, the dog's handler, told reporters. "She was gangbusters." Joking that Sadie, who lives with him (and 15 other terriers!) in southern California, is like his wife, Rangel said he felt "happily married" after the big win. "It's all 'yes dear' from here."
Spooked by moving floorboards at Madison Square Garden during competition two years ago, Sadie, whom Rangel calls a "very happy dog," has faced challenges during her show years. And this year wasn't any different: Since the Terrier group was the last to compete, Sadie and Rangel had just a commercial break's time to mentally prepare for the Best in Show competition. But a lucky lead made from whale skin – and a weekend's stay in a balcony suite at the luxe New Yorker hotel – definitely helped.
The Scottish terrier originated in the Scottish highlands and is known for its power and independence, despite its diminutive size, the Westminster Kennel Club says. The breed's personality can be stubborn but also sensitive. This is the eighth Westminster win for the Scottie. A Job Well Done
Owner Amelia Musse of Mackinac Island, Mich., was moved to tears by the victory. "It was her time. It was her moment," she told reporters. Asked about future plans for her pooch, Musse said breeding with a Swedish suitor was in the cards. As for retiring? "I don't call anything retiring," Rangel said. "But she's won everything she had to win."
The Westminster Dog Show was established in 1877 and is the second longest continuously held sporting event in the U.S., just a year behind the Kentucky Derby, the club says. This year the Irish Red and White Setter, Norwegian Buhund and Pyrenean Shepherd were eligible for competition for the first time. The show, which aired live on the USA Network Tuesday, has been televised since 1948.Did the best dog win? Leave your thoughts in the comments area below!Read more about the Westminster Dog Show:PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes at WestminsterVIDEO: Something to Bark About! All the Action at Westminster5 Things You Don't Know About Westminster