04/19/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Lucky Beams with Terrier Pride for this Year's Best in Show!


Here's Scotty! She is known as Sadie, her competition name is Roundtown Mercedes Of Maryscot, she's a Scottish Terrier and this year she's the biggest star of the Westminster Dog Show, taking home the top prize: Best in Show. As a Maltese Terrier, Lucky is ecstatic that one of her fellow country dogs have taken home the prize. Now she can understand how I feel each time the US wins a medal at the Olympics!

This week marked the 134th year of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which, to date, is the second longest continuously held sporting event in the United States, just one year behind the Kentucky Derby. But you don't need your Derby hat for Westminster, and don't expect to gamble either. Despite its long-running history, to the untrained spectator, the show may seem a bit confusing and there are a few basic things anyone needs to know about the greatest sporting event in the dog world.

To begin, who is competing? Only American Kennel Club approved breeds can participate in the dog show, which means rescues, albeit purebred rescues, cannot participate. Lucky has always held a grudge against the dogcademy for that. The AKC has broken dog breeds down into seven categories: sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding. And despite rescues being omitted, the list keeps growing. New for 2010? Irish Red and White Setter, Norwegian Buhund, and Pyrenean Shepherd.

Winners come in Best of Breed, Best of Group and the most coveted: Best in Show. We have all seen the Christopher Guest movie (Lucky and my personal favorite), but this honor is no joke to the 2,500+ canine competitors and their entourage of owners, trainers and handlers. After days of competition winners go home with the real prize: a ribbon, or in Sadie's case, a Best in Show trophy. But the real, ever-lasting honor is a title to go home and brag about (and Lucky tells me that Scotties love to brag).

One of the more confusing aspects to Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the name game. In 1984 the Westminster Dog Show ruled that dogs cannot have names longer than seven words, but that has not stopped the peculiarity of names of dogs in competition. Past Best in Show winners have included: Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, Surrey Spice Girl, Darbydale's All Rise Pouch Cove, Special Times Just Right and Rocky Top's Sundance Kid.

Finally this year as a side note, I'd like to congratulate 14-year-old Katherine R. Menches, a Massachusetts teen who handled an Australian Shepherd at this year's competition. Pretty impressive for a young lady, dog only know what I was doing at 14 back in Ohio!

That should answer some basic questions about the dog show. But if you love dogs and don't dream of being the proud owner of a "Best in Show" or even "Best in Breed," then go out and rescue! In my new book, It's a Dog's World, I teach you how you can rescue just about any breed of dog, like I did with Lucky (a purebred Maltese). Check out for more information!