In the first year as the lead sponsor of the ShowDog of the Year Awards, Purina Pro Plan, along with partner Dog News Magazine, toasted the top winners of 2017 in style at the annual ceremony that recognizes conformation and companion performance dogs and several honorees nominated and voted on by their peers.

The 63rd annual awards program, held Feb. 10 in New York before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, included many touching moments as the recipients recalled their joys, heartaches, passion, and memories of a year gone much too fast.  

The Best in Show and Working Group winner, having earned 69 Bests in Show and 130 Working Group Firsts, was GCH Ingebar’s Tynan Dance’s With Wildflowers, a Giant Schanuzer called “Ty” who was handled by Katie Bernardin.

Other group winners were:

  • Sporting Group: GCH Silverhall Strike Force (“Striker”), a Cocker Spaniel handled by Michael Pitts
  • Hound Group: GCH Belisarius JP My Sassy Girl (“Lucy”), a Borzoi handled by Valerie Nunes-Atkinson
  • Herding Group: GCH Cordmaker Mister Blue Sky (“Preston”), a Puli handled by Linda Pitts
  • Terrier Group: GCH Shaireab’s Bayleigh Daenerys Stormborn (“Khaleesi”), a Welsh Terrier handled by Luiz Abreu
  • Toy Group: GCH Yarrow Hi-Tech Drills N Skills (“Fiona”), an Affenpinscher handled by Ernesto Lara
  • Non-Sporting Group: GCH Belle Creek’s All I Care About Is Love (“Flynn”), a Bichon Frise handled by Bill McFadden

The Top Obedience Award winner for the second consecutive year was a Golden Retriever, OTCH Sunfire’s What’s On Tap UDX30 OGM GN GO, handled by owner Lynn Heidinger, a Purina Conformation Consultant. “Tapper,” who earned the most OTCH (Obedience Trial Champion) points in competition, has attained seven perfect scores of 200, 146 High in Trials and 197 High Combined Scores during his career.

New in 2017 were the Master Agility and Preferred Agility Champion Awards. A Border Collie called “Mysti” (Mystic Flame), handled by James Turner, won the MACH Award, and a Standard Poodle named “Tally” (Moonstones Femme Fatale), handled by Deva Wilson, took the PACH Award.

Also new was the Top Junior Handler Award. Taylor Del Duca of Pueblo, Colorado, who handles a Pharaoh Hound and was the Top Hound Junior in 2015, 2016 and 2017, received the honor.

Among those who won based on dog fancy voting were:

  • Best Owner-Handler: Julie Mueller
  • Best Professional Handler: Angela Lloyd
  • Best Breeder: Bill Shelton, Steve Leyerly and Dr. Becky Williams of Conventry Pembroke Welsh Corgis
  • Best Judge: Dana Cline
  • Best Show: Kennel Club of Philadelphia

Ron Menacker, chair of the board of the American Kennel Club, was inducted into the Anne Rogers Clark Hall of Fame.

Lynn Heidinger, Top Obeience Award Winner

Lynn Heidinger is the Top Obedience Award winner for the second consecutive year.

Katie Bernardin, winning Best In Show Award

Katie Bernardin, left, is shown with “Team Ty” after winning the Best in Show Award.