Affenpinscher Banana Joe Wins Westminster Best in Show

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Photographer: Philip Lewis/Bloomberg

Ernesto Lara with "Banana Joe," the Dutch-born Affenpinscher who won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club's 137th Annual dog show at Madison Square Garden. Banana Joe plans to retire to the Netherlands.

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Photographer: Philip Lewis/Bloomberg

Ernesto Lara with "Banana Joe," the Dutch-born Affenpinscher who won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club's 137th Annual dog show at Madison Square Garden. Banana Joe plans to retire to the Netherlands. Close

Ernesto Lara with "Banana Joe," the Dutch-born Affenpinscher who won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club's... Read More

Photographer: Philip Lewis/Bloomberg

"Banana Joe," a Dutch-born Affenpinscher. He is the first of his breed to win Best in Show at the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Close

"Banana Joe," a Dutch-born Affenpinscher. He is the first of his breed to win Best in Show at the annual Westminster... Read More

Photographer: Philip Lewis/Bloomberg

Colton Johnson with Swagger, his 90-pound Old English Sheepdog, during the Westminster Kennel Club's 137th annual dog show. Swagger, competing in just his fourth show, came in second place this year. Close

Colton Johnson with Swagger, his 90-pound Old English Sheepdog, during the Westminster Kennel Club's 137th annual dog... Read More

The 9-year-old Affenpinscher Banana Joe that was named best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York Tuesday night. He's pictured after winning the toy group earlier, with his handler, Ernesto Lara, and owners Tina Truesdale and Mieke Cooijmans. Photo: Philip Boroff/Bloomberg. Close

The 9-year-old Affenpinscher Banana Joe that was named best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New... Read More

A sparkling black Dutch-born Affenpinscher that goes by the name Banana Joe was the first of his breed to win the Westminster Kennel Club dog show at New York’s Madison Square Garden last night.

“This little fellow seemed to want it just a touch more,” Michael Dougherty, the best-in-show judge at the 137th annual contest, told the media after selecting him over six other finalists. “He has a fantastic face and an absolutely perfect body.”

The breed originated in Central Europe and earned the nickname “little devil with a moustache,” according to the American Kennel Club.

“This is a breed they call the ‘monkey dog,’ and they’re really human-like,” the dog’s handler, Ernesto Lara, said as he cradled the five-year-old, its mouth ajar and tongue protruding. “This isn’t a breed you train. You really befriend them.”

Lara said the dog has a comically serious mien. “He doesn’t know his size. He doesn’t know that he has a pushed-in face.”

Dougherty, the judge, works in public relations and is a former professional handler of purebred dogs. He bypassed other compelling canine narratives in selecting the Affenpinscher.

A 90-pound (40-kilo) Old English Sheepdog named Swagger, competing in just his fourth show, was a crowd favorite. He took second place.

Obamas’ Breed

Another finalist was Matisse, a Portuguese Water Dog, which is the same breed as the dog the Obama family has. It would have been a newsy choice on the night of the president’s State of the Union address.

“I thought about seven dogs and seven standards and compared each one to its standards,” Dougherty told reporters.

The other finalists were: an American Foxhound, a Bichon Frise, a German Wirehaired Pointer and a Smooth Fox Terrier. The Westminster Kennel Club is a tax-exempt New York organization that holds one dog show a year. This year’s winner was chosen from about 2,700 entrants.

A Pekingese named Malachy was 2012’s best in show. Lara said Banana Joe, known as Joey, will retire from the purebred circuit and return to the Netherlands.

Jocelyn Mullins, whose Doberman Pinscher Fifi was bested by the Portuguese Water Dog in the working-dogs group, called the Affenpinscher an excellent choice.

“He’s a lovely little dog and has lots of personality,” she said in an interview. “I’d take him home.”

To contact the reporter of this story: Philip Boroff in New York at pboroff@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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