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February 14th, 2013
10:27 AM ET

'Best in show' winner Banana Joe takes a victory lap

Five year old affenpinscher Banana Joe is looking forward to a quiet retirement after winning "best in show" at the 137th annual Westminster Kennel Club Show.

Out of all the dogs in the show, what makes the monkey-faced dog stand out among the crowd?

“He’s a very sensible dog and this breed has a human-like aspect to them,"  Banana Joe's handler Ernesto Lara says on Starting Point this morning. "They posses a wonderful personality and they’re great to have around.”

David Frei, co-host of the Westminster show, joins Joe and Lara on set to discuss the affenpinscher's performance and to weigh in on why these types of small dogs always seem to win out over the larger American breeds.

"Labs and goldens are such wonderful dogs but it happens they haven’t won best in show. The terriers have an advantage because they were bred to look for trouble, to look for vermin and rats and things like that," Frei says. "So they’re always on their toes and their attitude is 'its our world and you’re living in it,' while the labs and the goldens want to be with us all the time and they’re so loving of their people it takes that edge away."

 


Filed under: Westminster Dog Show
Behind-the-scenes: 'Starting Point' welcomes 2013 Westminster Dog Show winner Banana Joe and contenders
"Banana Joe," was named Best in Show at this year's 2013 Westminster Dog Show. He appeared on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" Thurs., Feb. 14th.
February 13th, 2013
08:01 PM ET

Behind-the-scenes: 'Starting Point' welcomes 2013 Westminster Dog Show winner Banana Joe and contenders

EDITOR NOTE: "Banana Joe," the Affenpinscher who won Best in Show at this year's 2013 Westminster Dog Show, appeared on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" live this morning. Check out the segment here.

We here at "Starting Point" are used to covering hard news stories, and speaking to big newsmakers. But what you may not know is...we've got a big soft spot for dogs. Like, epic.

So when we heard that the 2012 Westminster Best in Show, Malachy, his owner David Fitzpatrick, and two new breeds were coming to visit "Starting Point"... why, we jumped for joy!

The dogs arrived promptly to our Time Warner Center studio, and let's just say we were more than excited. The two new breeds in this year's competition were getting ready for air: Perla, a Russell Terrier and Meg, a treeing walker coonhound. The green room...had gone to the dogs.

One even admired the view of Columbus Circle just before the big blizzard hit the Northeast.

This dog was up pretty early, so a big yawn was to be expected. And was adorable.

We thought about resurrecting the dog cage we were hoping to use for the Puppy Bowl guests, but we quickly realized that the awesomeness of Westminster dogs couldn't be contained.

Even our crew were smitten with the dogs.

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While we got the set ready for our four-legged guests, 2012 winner Malachy and his owner had to make sure his hair looked just right.

Yes, the grooming does take a while.

Of course, shenanigans were bound to occur once the dogs got a look at each other.

Soledad was only too excited to meet the new breeds and reigning champ!

Malachy was especially happy to see Soledad.

Everyone had a great time and we were sad for the segment to be over.

But we knew we would be speaking to Banana Joe, the 2013 Westminster Dog Show winner on Thurs, Feb. 14th, so we were happy again.

John Berman might have fallen in love just a little bit.

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And Soledad...well...let's just say dogs really like Soledad.
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If you missed our segments with Malachy, Perla, Meg and Banana Joe, check out the video below.

February 8th, 2013
12:33 PM ET

Westminster Dog Show to include two new breeds in 2013 top dog competition

Who is going to be top dog? The 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is back this Monday and Tuesday. For 24 years, David Frei has been the voice of the show, and he talks with Soledad on "Starting Point" this morning about the changes to this year's competition.

He's joined by Malachy, a Pekingese that snatched the 2012 best in show spot, and his owner David Fitzpatrick. Also, the two new breeds in this year's competition were on set: Perla, a Russell Terrier and Meg, a treeing walker coonhound.

The new breeds were a big topic of conversation.

"The breed has to demonstrate a good following in this country, a certain number of them," Frei says. "They have a parent club that watches out for them. But we say new breeds, they're new to Westminster, but the reality is these breeds have been around for hundreds of years."

Frei adds that for a dog to win best in show, it can't just look good.

"They're great specimens but they have to have a certain charisma, personality and showmanship," he says.

And so what does a best in show dog like Malachy have to look forward to after a big win? Well, the "lap" of luxury, of course.

"He's had a lot of events to attend. He hasn't competed since then, he's been retired. He mostly enjoyed life at home. We live in the country and likes being a country dog," Fitzpatrick says.

The 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will crown its best in show Tuesday, February 12th live at 8:00 pm Eastern on "USA Network."


Filed under: Westminster Dog Show