Video: Swagger, Colorado Springs sheep dog, is Westminster Kennel Club's Cinderella story

Can a dog wear a glass slipper? Bugaboo's Picture Perfect, nicknamed "Swagger," nearly did at the Westminster Kennel Club's annual dog show last night. Swagger, who hails from Colorado Springs, nearly set the canine world on its collective ear, coming out of nowhere to challenge for the coveted Best in Show award, only to be beaten out, barely, by a pooch with the face of a monkey -- really. Photos, video, audio and the rest of the story below. Swagger's owners, Doug and Michaelanne Johnson, bought Sunrise Kennels in the Springs way back in 1977, and they're not new to the competitive-dog circuit. As pointed out in their website's bio, "the Johnsons have received many awards throughout their careers, but none as prestigious as the 2006 AKC Breeder of the Year and the 2006 Hearding Dog of the Year award with their son Colton and Old English Sheepdog 'Smokin.'"

Nonetheless, Bugaboo's Picture Perfect, another Old English Sheepdog (he's just twenty months old), was hardly a favorite when the Johnsons entered him in this year's WKC. As noted by Show Dog author Josh Dean in an NPR interview available here, he'd only taken part in three competitions before the kennel club pageant and had never won a championship -- a deficit that would have previously prevented him for taking part in what is essentially the Super Bowl of dog breeding. However, new rules put in place this year allowed the entry of so-called "class" dogs like Swagger.

He made the most of his opportunity, taking the top prize in the herding category and then winning hearts and minds in the Best in Show contest.

In the end, Swagger finished second to Banana Joe, an Affenpinscher -- a breed whose moniker translates, more or less, to "monkey face," which turns out to be a pretty apt description. Here's a look at him.

We would have gone with Swagger, if only because of his ballin' name (a big improvement over Bugaboo's Picture Perfect). But we're biased. Look below to see a WKC video of Swagger after topping the other herding dogs, followed by the NPR report.

More from our News archive: "Mandatory life jackets for dogs in kennels? Colorado could be the first."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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