In the dog show world, they call it a "free stack." That's when a pooch strikes a pose, holds perfectly still and tries to win over the judge.
Just the way a German shorthaired pointer did it Tuesday night.
Standing like the very symbol of the Westminster Kennel Club, a 5-year-old female called Carlee won best in show at America's most prestigious canine event.
"She was spectacular," star handler Michelle Ostermiller said.
With soft eyes and a gliding gait that she mastered by running three to four miles a day, Carlee beat out a popular Norfolk terrier, a champion bloodhound and a wobbling Pekingese.
All seven finalists gave fine performances on the green carpet of Madison Square Garden. But the sellout crowd and judge Lynette Saltzman were clearly won over by Carlee's stack.
Paying rapt attention to Ostermiller, Carlee pointed with perfection as the cheers grew louder and louder. A living statue for a good 10 seconds — it seemed like an eternity inside the ring.
"It's a dog show, and you've got to show," USA Network host David Frei said on CBS News' The Early Show. "She went out there and threw a free stack in front of God and everybody that said: 'I'm the winner, you've got to hand it to me right now.'"
Last year, Ostermiller neatly guided a big Newfoundland named Josh to this best in show title. This time, she came back to be the tops among the 2,581 entries in 165 breeds and varieties.
"I'm stunned," she said.
"I've got some great dogs and they perform beautifully on the big night, it's just luck," Ostermiller said during an
While the coveted sterling silver bowl was presented, Carlee celebrated by catching treats in the air tossed by Ostermiller.
Carlee, with a brown face and white-and-liver spotting, now will retire to her favorite squeezy toys back home in Castle Rock, Colo.
"She's a mountain dog," Ostermiller said. That is, when she's not lounging on the couch at home.
Officially named Ch. Kan-Point's VJK Autumn Roses, Carlee won the sporting group earlier in the evening and wound up with her ninth best in show title overall.
Before she goes back West, Carlee was to take a tour of New York on Wednesday, visiting several morning television shows and later seeing David Letterman. For anyone who missed her victory, NBC Sports will present a one-hour special on Westminster this Sunday afternoon.
Carlee became the second German shorthaired pointer to win at Westminster, and was a direct descendant of the other winner in 1974.
"She just did everything right," Saltzman said.
Just like Josh last February. The barking, slobbering Newfie was back in the ring, too.
Josh got a nice round of applause when he bounded out during Westminster's tribute to its Angel on a Leash program, where therapy dogs help the healing process for pediatric patients. He retired after his big win — it's rare for Westminster champions to try for a repeat.
A sprightly Norfolk terrier named Coco represented the terriers. She was the favorite at Westminster last year, and came back this time at 6½ years old after taking off six months to deliver three puppies — Tom, Dick and Harry.
Fans called out Coco's name when she showed for the last time, her tongue hanging out and her ears flopping. She might've been No. 2 overall, but there's no way to know — only a winner is picked.
Knotty, a bloodhound that won the AKC/Eukanuba show last month, was trying to become the first hound in 22 years to take best in show at Westminster. Instead, he's headed home to Topanga Canyon, Calif.
"He's a beach bum," handler Ken Griffith said.
A Pekingese called Jeffrey was the toy winner. His father won the largest show in the world — Crufts in England, with upward of 25,000 dogs — in 2003.
An elegant Great Pyrenees, the first of its breed to take the working group, was fondly described as an animated snowdrift. Named Fame, he was a surprise winner a day before, leaving breeder Karen Justin without tickets for the final night.
A silky Tibetan terrier — not really a terrier, despite its name — also was the first of its breed to take the non-sporting group. Named Baloo, for the "Jungle Book" character, he spent his down time snacking on his favorite dog biscuits.
Merlin, a border collie, represented the herding group.