Wire Fox Terrier With Southland Ties Wins Best In Show At Westminster

NEW YORK -- A Southern California dog took the Best in Show title at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show Tuesday night, adding to her collection of top prizes.

Sky, a ginger-and-white wire fox terrier, beat six others in the finals -- whittled down from more than 2,800 – to take the prize. 

She is 5 years old and lives with handler Gabriel Rangel in Rialto, Calif. One of her owners, Tori Steele, lives in Malibu. 

PHOTOS: California dog wins top prize at Westminster Dog Show

As is tradition, there was no rest for the winning dog, which had a host of appearances scheduled in New York on Wednesday. They included lunch at Sardi’s restaurant, a visit to the top of the Empire State Building and a string of TV appearances, at which Sky appeared calmer than the humans fussing over her.

“She’s a rock star without the drama,” David Frei of the Westminster Kennel Club said on CBS’ “The Couch” as Sky stared straight ahead. “You can see how calm she is, but when she had to turn it on, she did.”

This was Sky’s 129th Best in Show title in her two years competing. “She’s just perfection in her breed,” said Steele.

“It’s like winning an Oscar,” Steele said after Sky was tapped for the top prize after two days of competition, which brought together more than 2,800 dogs from 187 breeds.

Or perhaps a Tony.

Sky was scheduled to have a brief walk-on part later this week in the Broadway hit “Kinky Boots.”

Like Sky, Rangel is no novice to Best in Show titles. He was the handler for Sadie, a Scottish terrier who won the trophy at Westminster – arguably the nation’s most prestigious dog show – in 2010. The Westminster win comes on top of two other major Best in Show titles for Sky: at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in 2012 and at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia in 2012. 

Sky stood up on her hind legs when she was named the winner, then was scooped into Rangel’s arms. “She was happy,” he said, calling her very “people-oriented.”

But like every other dog, either competing in the ring or rolling in the mud, Sky is also a normal dog, said Frei.

“They steal food off our counters and sleep on our couches, just like any other dog would,” he said.

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tina.susman@latimes.com