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Best In Show: Rufus Wins By A Head

Seven outstanding dogs were in the running for the top prize at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.

And the winner of the prestigious Best in Show award was Rufus, a four-year old colored bull terrier.

He visitedThe Early Show Wednesday morning, along with his handler, Kathy Kirk, USA Network co-host David Frei, and correspondent Debbye Turner, who was there watching as the judge announced the winner.

This was Rufus' fourth time competing at the show but his first big win and the first time a bull terrier has ever won the coveted "Best in Show."

"I said, 'Thank God,' because this was his last year to compete," Kirk told co-anchor Julie Chen "This was his last chance and he pulled it off."

Rufus was up against some tough competition in the final showdown: a Rottweiler, a golden retriever, an English sheep dog, a Dalmatian, a Scottish deerhound, and a pug.

In the end, the charming bull terrier had what it took.

"He's a great specimen of his own breed as a bull terrier. He's got, probably, the perfect head you'll ever see on this breed," said Frei. "It comes down to charisma and showmanship and those kinds of things."

The bull terrier descends from an ancient breed, known as an English terrier, and the modern mix, with its distinctive egg-shaped head, dates from the 1950s. After Tuesday's history-making triumph, the bull terrier now jumps to the head of the line.

"This is America's dog for the next year and everybody thinks they need to have one," said Frei.

Turner points out that bull terriers make great pets but people considering buying one should keep in mind that they are sturdy, active animals and need a lifestyle that will accommodate their high energy.

For now, Rufus and his fans are savoring a victory that's been a long time coming.

"Rufus has it all. He's been the hottest dog going for a long time," said Frei.

The annual Westminster Dog Show is a two-day extravaganza featuring more than 2,600 dogs and 165 breeds.