British Columbia

Bella of the ball: B.C. German shepherd wins female breed prize at prestigious Westminster Dog Show

Bella, a tenacious three-year-old German shepherd from Chilliwack, B.C. has won best female German Shepherd at the Westminster Dog show in New York.

'It's a dream come true,' says Bella's owner

Bella and her trainer Courtney Penner pose for a photo after their win at the Westminster Dog Show competition in New York on Sunday. (Courtney Penner)

Bella, a tenacious three-year-old German shepherd from Chilliwack, B.C., has won best female German Shepherd at the Westminster Dog Show in New York.

Guided by her handler Courtney Penner, Bella pranced and posed during the Best in Breed competition, parlaying her way to the win and title of Best of Opposite Sex at the prestigious event in Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.

Best of Opposite Sex is awarded to the top dog that's the opposite sex to the Best of Breed winner.

"To be recognized in this venue, against these top dogs, is thrilling," said Bella's owner Jody Duin.

Owner Jody Duin (left), handler Courtney Penner and seven-year-old Parker Duin with Bella in Chilliwack, B.C. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

More than 3,000 dogs from around the world enter the show's various competitions. Bella was the only dog from the Lower Mainland to compete this year.

Bella has spent most of her life atop podiums, winning medals at an array of competitions, much to the delight of her owners, handlers and groomers. 

She was ranked the top German shepherd in Canada last year. And she's won numerous Best in Show titles. 

Those many accolades landed her a spot in the internationally acclaimed Westminster show.

Tenacious pooch

Duin had other commitments in Chilliwack over the weekend and watched the competition via livestream with her seven-year-old daughter Parker. 

Duin describes Bella as a tenacious, people-loving pooch who commands a presence when she's in competition.

But it's the hard work and connection Bella shares with her trainer Courtney Penner that puts them in the winner's circle, she says.

"They both adore each other and it really shows. They have a bond that is unmistakable," said Duin.

However, this show is now over for Bella. To compete for the top dog position in Tuesday's Best in Show event she needed to win her entire category.  

Still, Duin couldn't be more proud of her Bella's performance.

"The show goes on," said Duin. "But we couldn't be happier, it's a dream come true."

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