Dalmatian earns spot in Best In Show

Experts judged the 4-year-old's every move as he trotted in front of spectators and was prodded by judges in New York City last week.

Ian, a Dalmatian also known as the Grand Champion Spotlights Ruffian, won Best In Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, and he placed ninth in the non-sporting category.

His owner, Laguna Beach resident Barbara Lyons, couldn't be prouder.

"It's like a once-in-a-lifetime win," she said. "The Westminster Dog Show is the cream of the crop."

Winning the category put Ian in the race to win the coveted Best In Show on Feb. 14, along with six other dogs.

Lyons said Dalmatians rarely get picked and it was only the fifth time the breed had a chance of winning Best In Show. However, a Dalmatian has never won the title.

Lyons has been breeding and showing Dalmatians since 1989 and hasn’t looked back since. She also owns Champion Quiksilver Rhythm and Blues — his  call name is Crosby —  who won at Westminster in 2005. He’s now 12. From him, Lyons has bred 100 puppies, producing 27 champions. 

Lyons called Ian a "dark horse" for Best In Show and said although his career hasn't been long, he was competitive with dogs who have anywhere from 20-75 awards. Ian only has a few under his collar.

The local dog breeder said she wants people to know that the dogs truly enjoy the show, and Ian proves that Dalmatians are an outgoing and even-tempered type of pooch.

The phone has been ringing since his win, she said, with eager owners wanting to partner up their female Dalmatian with Ian.

"He's very popular with the ladies now," she said. "He can't be a dad right now. He's too busy."

Ian currently lives in Maryland with his handler, Michael Scott, who was with him at the dog show last week.

Lyons said she plans to show Ian at the National Dalmatian Club of America Show this year, where he's placed in the top 20 before.

"When his show career is done, maybe at the end of this year, we'll concentrate on having some puppies from him, and he can come back to Laguna Beach," she said.


Twitter: @joannaclay

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