Raleigh dog takes prize at Westminster

Whiskey, a 3-year-old Vizsla from Raleigh, took home Best of Breed title at the Westminster Dog Show this week.
Whiskey, a 3-year-old Vizsla from Raleigh, took home Best of Breed title at the Westminster Dog Show this week.

A few years ago, Andrea and David Martin’s puppy, Whiskey, swallowed a small bag of diamonds Andrea used for her job as a jeweler.

Whiskey wasn’t the best dog in the world that day, but he’s made up for his puppy shenanigans. The 3-year-old Vizsla, who lives in Raleigh with his humans, won Best of Breed at the Westminster Dog Show in New York on Tuesday.

“We are on cloud nine,” said David Martin, 51.

Vizslas are sporting dogs, typically medium sized with short coats. Whiskey was judged against 23 other Vizslas from across the country, competing in the sporting group.

Although Whiskey won his breed group, he wasn’t selected for the Best in Show competition.

This year’s Westminster Dog Show featured more than 2,000 dogs – 194 breeds in seven categories. Eight of the dogs, including Whiskey, were from North Carolina.

The Martins returned to Raleigh on Wednesday, but Whiskey continued on the dog show circuit. His next stop was Florida, where he is competing with a professional handler.

He will probably be in at least one show a week until the Vizsla Nationals in Ohio in April, Martin said.

Whiskey has done well in dog shows since he was a puppy. In December, he took home Best of Breed at the American Kennel Club Eukanuba National Championship.

“He’s a gorgeous dog, he likes to show, and he glides across the ring,” Martin said. “He’s confident when he’s out there, and it’s hard not to notice him.”

Vizslas are low-maintenance – no curls to fluff or extra fur to trim. So it’s fairly easy to prepare Whiskey for a show, Martin said.

“You basically spit and shine him, and he’s good to go,” he said.

In competitions, judges look at overall hygiene and how a dog walks and stands. Whiskey’s success is probably due to how well he matches the description of a standard Vizsla.

He didn’t win anything for his Best of Breed title this week, but Martin said the competitions have become a serious hobby for the family. He and his wife have a 13-week-old Vizsla puppy named Brandy and a 14-week-old pointer puppy named Bourbon.

When they’re 6 months old, they will likely start competing.

They should probably stay away from diamonds.

Hankerson: 919-829-4802;

Twitter: @mechelleh