Banana Joe, a 5-year-old Affenpinscher who hails from Allenboro, Mass., was named Best In Show at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night.
The victorious pooch, who was born and bred in the Netherlands, outshined six other dogs, including an Old English sheepdog named Swagger who claimed runner-up, a Bichon Frise, a smooth fox terrir, an American foxhound, a German wirehaired pointer, and Portuguese Water Dog, who is the same breed as the U.S.’s beloved First Dog, Bo.
The Portuguese Water Dog, named Matisse, beat out another fan favorite: a Doberman pinscher named Fifi, whose fans took to Facebook to express their frustration and disappointment. “Head high, Fifi,” another user posted. “You are a true winner in my book!”
“My 14 month boy ‘Destro’ was pulling for FiFi yesterday. She looked awesome and was robbed again,” Roe Lemons wrote on the social media site, along with a photo of his dog watching the competition.
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“We did it!” Joe’s handler, Ernesto Lara, shouted after Joe was declared a winner.
“He’s won a lot of big, big shows, but none like this one,” Lara said. “I’m not bragging, this is just the way he is. The best thing is that I was in cue with him.”
“This isn’t a breed you train. He’s like a human. You befriend him,” he added.
Now that Westminster is behind him, Lara says that Joe, who turns 6 in March, will be retiring from competing, and will return to the Netherlands.
Michael Dougherty, the judge who picked Joe seemed resolute about his decision. “This little fella seemed to want it a touch more,” Dougherty said. “He’s a fantastic affenpinscher, with a fantastic face, a great body. I’ve never had my hands on a better affenpinscher. Ever.”
“He has the muscle tone of a big dog,” Dougherty added.