Although there were 2,058 dogs at the 34th annual Kennel Club of Beverly Hills dog show at Cal State Northridge on Sunday, the talk of the show was the absence of one particular canine--a 6-year-old Welsh Terrier named "Anasazi Billy the Kid."
Billy, the winner of 94 best-in-show titles, would have been the odds-on favorite to win had he been entered. It turned out that Billy's owner, Bruce Schwartz of Los Angeles, decided to give his champion dog a respite.
His absence left an opening for a giant schnauzer named Champion Skansen's Tristen II to win best of show. The dog, who is from Newton, N.J., is owned by Marilu Hansen and Arthur T. Brown.
The show, which was conducted under the rules of the American Kennel Club, drew an audience of 10,000.
Winners of the best-in-breed went on to compete in one of seven best-in-group categories--terriers, hounds, toy dogs, nonsporting dogs (including bulldogs and Dalmatians), sporting dogs (retrievers), herding dogs (German shepherds and collies) and working dogs (Siberian huskies and Great Danes).
Even though he was absent from the show, Billy was well-represented by his 2-year-old son, Dillon, who captured the best-in-breed title in the Welsh terrier category.
"We made a commitment a long time ago to show the son at this event," said Wood Wornall, Dillon's handler. "He's a young dog and you really don't know what to expect."
Billy's break from the dog show circuit will be a short one, Wornall said.
"Our goal is for him to win 100 best-in-breeds before he retires," he said.
Should he accomplish that feat, Billy would become the ninth dog in the history of dog shows to win 100 or more best-in-show titles, Wornall said.