A Charlotte bloodhound named Nathan won the hearts of dog show fans along with a top honor at the recent Westminster Kennel Club competition in New York City.
After becoming the first bloodhound to win the Hound Group, Nathan advanced to Best in Show. Throughout the prestigious competition, his long floppy ears, droopy face and antics made him the favorite of spectators, owner Shirley VanCamp said.
“Nathan was by far the people’s choice,” said VanCamp, who has worked with show dogs as a hobby since the 1970s. “They were hollering his name. He loves to show. He likes going in the ring and hearing the clapping. He thinks it’s all for him.”
Nathan just turned 3 and is already in the Bloodhound Hall of Fame. In 2013, he won the American Bloodhound National Specialty and Top 20 awards. Currently, he’s the only bloodhound with a Best in Show and a Maintrailing title.
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Bloodhounds are the oldest of the scent hounds and have the keenest sense of smell of any dog, experts say.
VanCamp purchased Nathan from a breeder in Illinois, and has trained him to track. She’s had some training help from Summit Search & Rescue in Virginia, and also practices with the Behind The Hound club in Charlotte.
Nathan can track scents that are up to 4 days old.
“He’s got the best nose there is,” said VanCamp, who has three other bloodhounds.
Nearly every weekend, Nathan – nicknamed “Baby Nathan” or “Cam Nathan” – goes to dog shows up and down the East Coast.
At home, the 135-pound bloodhound eats eight cups of dog food a day and keeps in shape by trotting behind a golf cart for three miles daily. His special treat is a hamburger.
“Nathan likes people and gives them kisses whether they want them or not,” VanCamp said. “He’s spoiled rotten.”