The Margin: People are doggone mad that this dachshund didn’t win Westminster

Every dog has its day — just maybe not at Westminster.

A dachshund has never won the Best in Show title at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, but many viewers got excited this year when Burns, a longhair dachshund, won the hound group to become one of the finalists for the purebred pageant’s top prize.

Instead, the ribbon went to a wire fox terrier named King on Tuesday night — the 15th time that a wire fox terrier has taken the dog show circuit’s most coveted crown. In fact, the terrier group (which includes the Airedale Terrier, the miniature Schnauzer and Parson Russell Terrier) has fetched Best in Show a whopping 47 times in Westminster’s 143-year history.

The New York Times reported that Madison Square Garden was filled with “boos and grumbles” when King was crowned the winner. And the sentiment was widely shared across social media, as well.

Bean, a Sussex spaniel, was another crowd-favorite, while the runner-up Bono, a Havenese, was cooed over by “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday morning.

This year’s Best in Show round was also marked by the awkward disqualification of a schipperke named Colton, who was deemed ineligible due to a conflict of interest between his owners and Best in Show judge Peter Green. A Westminster Kennel Club spokeswoman said there was a disqualifying relationship between the owners and the judge’s family, which remains unclear. This led many viewers to complain that Colton was robbed, as well.

Of course, America’s most popular pups — including 2017’s top three, the Labrador retriever, the German shepherd and the golden retriever — rarely win best in show. In fact, no Labrador retriever, golden retriever or French bulldog has ever won the title, the Times noted, and the only times a German shepherd ever won were in 2017 and 1987.

Longhair dachshund Burns did not fetch Best in Show at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

This is in part because, when these breeds become so popular, that means that a lot of them are bred. Larger breed gene pools make it harder to set a brand standard that dog show judges can follow to pick the perfect specimen. And it should be noted that many best in show judges aren’t as familiar with the breeding of some of these more crowd-pleasing dogs, like retrievers, dachshunds and bulldogs, as they are with terriers. Patricia Ropp, the vice president of the Bulldog Club of America and a licensed bulldog judge, told the Times that these judges “have different breed backgrounds and experiences that can affect the outcome.”

Burns the dachshund’s handler Carlos Puig also told the publication that dachshunds are often dwarfed by the competition. Their fellow hound group competitors include bloodhounds, Borzois and greyhounds, after all. “In a ring like this, they have to be as flashy and fancy as some of the fancier hounds — like Afghans or greyhounds — but its hard because they’re the shortest and smallest in their group,” he said. “They kind of get lost because of their size.”

But Burns has still done a very good job — he’s scored 26 best in show titles, even if he didn’t snag Westminster’s this week. And you can expect to see King doing a press tour this week — starting with visiting the Empire State Building Observation Deck on Wednesday morning before enjoying a steak at Sardi’s.

One thing that the winning and losing canine contestants have in common, at least: No one is taking home any prize money. Although owners competing in the dog show circuit can drop more than $250,000 a year on entry fees, travel, grooming and hiring a professional handler to walk their pedigree pooch around the ring, Westminster doesn’t offer prize money. (Breeding your prizewinner is where the money comes in, considering pedigree puppies can cost $100,000 a piece.)

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