New Hampshire’s official state dog breed made its debut at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show with one of the Granite State’s own taking home top honors.
Lakeside Run’s Little Bear, aka Birr, was named best in breed of the Chinook competition on Tuesday. The 3-year-old male is owned by Kristine and Chester Holleran of Londonderry.
Birr and the other Chinooks took to the green carpet at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday afternoon for the breed’s competitive debut at the event, which dates to 1877 and is second only to the Kentucky Derby as the longest continuously held U.S. sporting event.
As the breed winner among four Chinooks that competed, Birr advanced to the finals of the sporting group later Tuesday, where he didn’t place among the group’s top four. The top dogs from each of the competition’s seven groups moved on to the best in show competition.
According to the Chinook Club of America, the breed was developed by Arthur Treadwell Walden, a sled-dog driver, author, explorer, and innkeeper from Wonalancet early in the 20th Century. Chinooks have a reputation for being friendly, gentle and intelligent with the necessary strength and speed to pull a sled.
The New Hampshire Legislature voted in 2009 to recognize Chinook as the Granite State’s official dog; the breed received its official recognition from the American Kennel Club in 2012.
This is the first year Chinooks competed at the Westminster show, which featured dozens of other dogs from the Granite State in other breeds and groups. Gus, formally known as Grand Champion Belquest Fergus N Trouble@Snoo, received select honors among Labrador retrievers for owner Emily Elliot of Errol. Celtia’s Riverdance, a black Labrador retriever owned by Kathleen Coleman of Swanzey, was selected third among open division Labs.