German shepherd Bella, seen here with her handler Courtney Penner, was the runner up in her breed at the 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York on Sunday. (Lindsey Hudspeth)

German shepherd Bella, seen here with her handler Courtney Penner, was the runner up in her breed at the 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York on Sunday. (Lindsey Hudspeth)

B.C. German Shepherd wins female breed prize at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Bella was the only German shepherd from B.C. competing at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

A Chilliwack dog is bringing home a runner-up ribbon from one of the most prestigious dog shows in North America.

Bella, a German shepherd, won “Best of Opposite Sex” in her breed during the 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the weekend. She and her handler, Courtney Penner, are in New York City for the competition which runs Feb. 8 to Feb. 11.

“We couldn’t be happier or more proud,” said Jody Duin, one of Bella’s owners. “Winning Best of Opposite Sex at Westminster among such an amazing group of German shepherds is an honour and something we are so very thrilled about.”

There were 13 German shepherds in total competing in that breed category on Sunday. A male dog named Hermes V Kenlyn placed first, and Bella was right behind him. Hermes was the number one German shepherd in all of the U.S. last year, while Bella was the number one in Canada the same year.

“They essentially met head-to-head – Canada versus the U.S.,” Duin said.

READ MORE: Chilliwack dog in New York vying for top spot in 144th annual Westminster dog show

It has been a lot of work for Bella to make it to Westminster.

“Westminster is the Super Bowl of dog shows,” Duin said. “In order to be able to go to Westminster, you have to be a champion.”

The year 2019 was a “banner” year for Bella.

“She far exceeded our highest expectations.”

The young three-year-old dog had been shown countless times throughout 2018 and 2019 and during that time she won 18 best in show titles in B.C. and Alberta.

Each time she won best in show, Bella would receive points – the larger the entry of dogs in a competition, the greater the number of points a dog can earn. Bella garnered enough points and show wins to be given the title “Canadian grand champion” and “American champion,” pointing her in the direction of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Approximately 2,800 dogs from around the world are competing at Westminster this year. Bella was the only German shepherd from B.C.

It’s not an agility competition, but rather conformation where dogs are judged by how closely they are to the breed standard with evaluations on movement, structure and more.

Bella is owned by Duin, her daughter Parker, and Cortnie Partner of the U.S. She was bred by Woodside German Shepherds in Langley.

In New York, Bella is joined by Cortnie Partner, Courtney Penner, and the breeder. The Duins were unable to join Bella but they were cheering them on from their home in Chilliwack.

Despite all her success, Duin said Bella is as much a typical family pet as she is a show dog.

“For a dog that has done so much winning and is such a cool dog in terms of the show world, she’s also a regular dog,” Duin said. “She’s just like any other pet dog except she’s an athlete.”

Bella has a “village” of people who train her including her owners, breeder, handlers and fill-in or assistant handlers.

Duin’s seven-year-old daughter, Parker, showed an interest and ability to help train and condition Bella at an early age. The family has an active lifestyle and they enjoy biking and swimming with Bella to ensure she stays in prime condition.

“She’s wild and fun but also knows when to turn it on,” Duin said. “It’s very evident that she really does love [competing].”

RELATED: Chilliwack teen off to Canadian dog handling championships in Newfoundland


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Dogs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A picture of Bug before the attack by the dogs on Nov. 17, 2020. (Submitted photo)
Three dogs almost kill cat in Miller Road area near Duncan

Efforts to catch the canines unsuccessful so far

Beautiful morning with the sun peaking through, as viewed from Thetis Island. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
November characterized by a record high, no snow and plenty of rain in Chemainus region

Temperature almost hits the 20 degree Celsius mark on Nov. 4

Group wants to start a pilot program for regenerative farms in North Cowichan. (File photo)
Group looks to North Cowichan for farmland

Land could also be used for affordable housing

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after receiving complaints

Distict only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read