The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, February 10, 2004  

The Mysterious Allure of the Standard Poodle

Without cable or over-the-air television reception, Mildred and I are following the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the web.

The bulldogs were judged Monday night.

Best of breed went to Ch. Phenix’s Fire Chief, a fine specimen, though with a surprisingly small head for a dog (i.e., male). (Born: August, 7, 2000. Breeders: Jo Ann Menefee and Marcel R Daignault. Sire: Ch. Little Ponds Chief. Dam: Ch. DK’s PHD. Owner: Menefee.)

Best of opposite sex was awarded to Ch. All-Star’s Girl Scout Patch, who is truly outstanding. (Born: December 15, 1998. Breeders: Shane Twamley and J. Allen. Sire: Ch. Flippin Scout. Dam: Ch. Arthur’s Queen Miss Maybelline. Owners: Twamley and Allen.) [Photos of the best of breed and best of opposite sex may be found at the Westminster web site.]

No big surprise: In the group judging -- bulldogs are included in the non-sporting group -- the first-, second-, third-, and fourth-place awards went not to the bulldog, but to, in order, a standard poodle (one with the truly and characteristically pretentious name, Ch. Ale Kai Mikimoto on Fifth -- And do you just want to vomit?), a chow chow, a Tibetan terrier, and a French “bulldog.”

The bulldog (also known as the English bulldog) rarely wins in the group contest. Yes, I’m biased, of course, but with all due respect to the many fans of poodles, all of them fine animals I know (the poodles, I mean, not their fans), what is this thing the Westminster judges, among many others, have for standard poodles? I just don’t get it. But then, I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t “get” bulldogs either, a group that sometimes includes, when the question hits directly at home -- and yes, I’m talking about you, Mildred -- even me.

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