'Stump' steals show at Westminster

February 11, 2009 8:06:23 AM PST
An old Sussex spaniel taught dogdom a new trick.[IMAGES: See photos from the Westminster Dog Show]

At 10, Stump became the oldest best in show winner ever at the Westminster Kennel Club, coming out of retirement only last week and walking off with the top prize Tuesday night.

A nearly full crowd at Madison Square Garden cheered loudly when judge Sari Tietjen pointed to the new champion. Perhaps the fans knew Stump's backstory -- he almost died in 2004 from a medical condition, saved by the vets at Texas A&M.

Or perhaps the people just liked rooting for the old guy. He's almost 70 in human years!

Never before had a Sussex spaniel won the nation's top pooch show. The previous oldest winner was 8.

With floppy ears and a slow gait, the golden-red Stump beat out a sparkling field. Expert handler Scott Sommer guided him past a giant schnauzer that was ranked the nation's No. 1 show dog, a favored Brussels griffon, a Scottish deerhound named Tiger Woods, a standard poodle with 94 best in show wins, a Scottish terrier and a puli.

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