Bichon frise Flynn top dog at Westminster

Associated Press

New York — Flynn, a bichon frise, won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club.

The choice was a surprise to most of the crowd at Madison Square Garden, with many fans falling silent when the white powder puff was picked. They had been loudly shouting for their favorites but fell into stunned silence when judge Betty-Anne Stenmark announced her choice.

No matter, the white powder puff was picked and walked off as America’s top dog.

Guided by expert handler Bill McFadden, Flynn beat out Ty the giant schnauzer, Biggie the pug, Bean the Sussex spaniel, Lucy the borzoi, Slick the border collie and Winston the Norfolk terrier. The giant schnauzer was the runner-up.

The 142nd Westminster event drew 2,882 entries in 202 breeds and varieties.

Earlier, Winston the Norfolk terrier won the terrier group at Westminster, which set the stage for the final seven dogs to enter the best in show ring at a mostly full Garden.

The fans were loud as the group winners strutted around the ring for a final showing.

What tickled the crowd and announcers was when after Ty the giant schnauzer won the working group, affirming his pedigree as the top-ranked show dog in America. His handler, Katie Bernardin, gave Ty a kiss on the mouth before leading him around the ring. After the judge picked him, Ty jumped up and put his front legs around Bernardin.

“He knew,” she said, adding they have a great connection.

Also amusing the crowd was Bean. He knows how to beg.

Sitting up on his hind legs, the Sussex spaniel was rewarded with a win in the sporting group at Madison Square Garden. Then he did his little trick right on cue for the judge, and the crowd loved it. Handler Per Rismyhr gave him a treat, too, a nice piece of chicken.

At 61/2, Bean is the grandson of the oldest best in show winner in Westminster history. Remember ol’ Stump in 2009?

In case anyone is wondering, by the way, about his coat. Officially, the color is golden liver.