Edmonton

On Cloud 9: Wetaskiwin malamute wins at Westminster dog show

Ron Pohl is on Cloud 9 after his dog Taolanquest Flying Cloud took home a ribbon the Westminster dog show.

'It's an extreme honour to have him finish that high'

Cloud the Alaskan Malamute competed at the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.

Ron Pohl is on Cloud 9 after his dog Taolanquest Flying Cloud took home a ribbon at the Westminster dog show.

The Alaskan malamute from Wetaskiwin, 70 kilometres south of Edmonton, was named in best in show for his breed at the the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The five-year-old canine went paw-to-paw with more than 2,800 top dogs from around the world during the competition in New York City this week. 

"He didn't reach the pinnacle this time, but he did win within his breed," said Pohl, a breeder with SilverIce Alaskan Malamutes.

"We got a ton of response already from people worldwide who admired him ... It's an extreme honour to have him finish that high. We're very proud of him."

'I was too nervous, I couldn't even watch'

It was nail-biting to watch for Pohl, who was back at home while his partner Laurie Newburn led a prancing Cloud before the judges at Madison Square Garden.

"I have to be totally honest, the best of breed competition is online but I was too nervous, I couldn't even watch that," Pohl said in an interview with CBC Edmonton's Radio Active. 

"I didn't watch, I just waited until it was over and my partner contacted me and told me that we had won best of breed and that point I was OK." 

Cloud has competed for years but Pohl was concerned the Big Apple might be too much, even for his mighty malamute.

Backstage at Westminster is chaotic, with a parade of pooches being primped for competition. Making an appearance before the judges is no less stressful. 

'He's a cheese man'

"There are big booming speakers in the Garden so there is a lot of noise going and there are 20,000 people in the stands and they're applauding and cheering. It's very raucous," Pohl said. 

"We were a little bit unsure how that would go, but Laurie said he took it extremely well and he seemed to be less nervous about it than she was."

Pohl plans to reward Cloud with plenty of treats and the chance to compete in California this weekend.

"He's a cheese man. He loves his cheese treats so he will absolutely get those and he'll be back in competition,  which may not sound like a reward, but he loves these things.

"He loves of all the attention and the fuss and the muss."

With files from Ken Dawson

now