A dog from a breeding company owned by the Deputy Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador won Best of Breed at the 146th Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York on Wednesday.
Siobhan Coady, also the province’s finance minister, told CBC News the victory makes Beau, a Labrador retriever, one of the best dogs in the world.
“Having him here at Westminster, seeing him compete against the best of the best, it’s certainly an honour,” Coady said.
Beau, whose full name is Beaumont Hamel, was bred by GoFetch Labradors, the St. John’s dog breeding business run by Coady and her husband.
“My husband and I bred Labradors because we wanted to have the best Labradors in the world,” she said. “They are a heritage animal in Newfoundland and Labrador and they are the best animals in the world.”
The retriever’s name also has significance for Newfoundland and Labrador – Beaumont Hamel is the site in France where over 700 members of the Newfoundland Regiment were killed, wounded or missing on July 1, 1916, during the First World War .
Coady said Beau, who was already a top champion in Canada and the United States, won Best of Breed out of 67 dogs.
He was led to his victory by handler and co-breeder Fabian Negron, who said he was “delighted” with Beau.
“Every box was ticked. His attitude was there. His movement was there. He just put on a fantastic performance and the judge recognized that,” he said.
Negron said the Best in Breed title is “incredible recognition” for Beau, as well as his owners and breeders.
“We’re just really excited and we just want Newfoundlanders to know how proud we are to represent the breed with one of their own,” Negron said.
Coady owns Beau’s mother, Jersey, and Negron owns his father. Despite his status as a world champion, Coady said Beau was “a sook.”
“He’s a lovely, kind, sweet dog. He’s a typical Labrador. He likes to swim and fetch. He likes to sleep. He likes to give kisses. He’s a really kind, sweet soul,” Coady said.
Coady said Beau will be attending a dog show in Bay Roberts this summer.