Uno's zeal lights up Westminster

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NEW YORK --- Uno barked at his handler, bayed at the crowd, tried to grab his leash and took a flying leap at a piece of pork loin. Oh, and he gnawed away at a newly printed sign.

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Uno is the crowd favorite this week at Madison Square Garden. He won best of breed Sunday, but he still has a long way to go. A beagle has never won best in show at the event.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Uno is the crowd favorite this week at Madison Square Garden. He won best of breed Sunday, but he still has a long way to go. A beagle has never won best in show at the event.

Now that's one great beagle.

His white-tipped tail in perpetual motion, Uno turned the green carpet of Madison Square Garden into his own personal backyard Monday. He also took his first winning steps at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, earning best of breed.

"Snoopy would be proud," handler Aaron Wilkerson said. "He was being his merry little hound self."

A perfectly trimmed toy poodle, a top Sealyham terrier and a prized Akita were among the 2,627 entries at this year's show. The dogs came in 169 breeds and varieties.

Nearly 3-years-old, Uno moved into Monday night's judging in the hound group. But he's still got a long way to go.

Westminster has presented best in show 100 times, and a beagle has never won. In fact, no beagle has even won the hound group since 1939 -- that drought is 483 years, in dog years.

With pleading, golden-brown eyes and a playful nature, Uno could end the drought. His official name is K-Run's Park Me in First, and he topped 12 other entries in the 15-inch category.

"He did great out there," co-owner Eddie Dziuk said.

Wilkerson wiped his brow after the victory. Earlier, he cooled down Uno with a few squirts from a spray bottle full of water.

Uno already has won 32 best-in-show titles and finished 2007 as the sixth-ranked show dog in the nation. After the latest win, he retreated to the safety of his crate, complete with his favorite stuffed frog toy and a fluffy pillow sporting a Hollywood star.

In December, Uno won the hound group at the big AKC/Eukanuba show in Long Beach, Calif. The winner of that event, a Sealyham named Charmin, also advanced in breed competition.

The hound, terrier, nonsporting and herding groups were judged late Monday night. Judge J. Donald Jones, former a dean at Emory University, will point to his choice as best in show right before 11 tonight.


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