2024 Westminster Dog Show: Best in Show Champion and Group Winners

Miniature Poodle named “Sage” and her handler Kaz Hosaka

A powerfully moving, perfectly coifed 3½-year-old black female Miniature Poodle named “Sage” (MBIS/MBISS GCHG Surrey Sage) captured a place in history winning Best in Show at the 2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Presented by Purina Pro Plan.

The highly sought-after Best in Show title was bittersweet for handler Kaz Hosaka of Greenwood, Delaware, who is retiring after 45 years in the sport. “I have been very lucky,” he said.

With an impressive record, Kaz Hosaka has secured seven Westminster Non-Sporting Group Firsts, and Sage now marks his second Westminster Best in Show winner. In 2002, Hosaka handled the Miniature Poodle “Spice” (CH Surrey Spice Girl) to Best in Show, the first Miniature Poodle to win at Westminster since 1959. Spice is the great-great-granddam of Sage. Hosaka bred both Miniature Poodles.

“Sage made me very proud tonight,” Hosaka said after the show. “Poodles are not easy to show. There were lots of echoes, lot of people, and she managed it. She did it for me.”

“The Miniature Poodle has beautiful type, an incredible head and incredible coat. She has a great tail set and showed like a million bucks,” said Rosalind Kramer of High Point, North Carolina, the Best in Show judge.

Sage won her career 35th Best in Show at the 148th Westminster Dog Show on May 14, 2024, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. The Miniature Poodle topped more than 2,500 dogs representing 200 breeds. Sage makes 17 of the past 18 Westminster Best in Show winners who has been fueled to victory by Purina Pro Plan.

In 1977, Kaz Hosaka made his way to the United States to apprentice under the esteemed Poodle breeder Anne Rogers Clark. Following her passing, he carried on the legacy of the bloodline, dedicating almost 50 years to the renowned Surrey breeding program.

“It took 22 years to win the first Westminster Best in Show, and another 22 years today to win the second one,” Hosaka said. “It was always my dream to win at Westminster.”

The No. 1 all-systems Miniature Poodle in 2023, Sage currently is the No. 1 all-breed Miniature Poodle. Among her wins, she claimed the Non-Sporting Group title at the AKC National Championship in 2023. Kathleen Wallen co-bred Sage, while Cathy Gauche of Houston is the proud owner. 

The Westminster Best in Show winner is fed Pro Plan All Ages Sport Performance 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula dog food.

Sharing the spotlight with Sage are these Westminster Group winners:

Reserve Best in Show & Herding Group Winner

“Mercedes” (MBIS/MBISS GCHG Kaleef’s Mercedes), a 4-year-old female German Shepherd Dog, was handled by Kent Boyles of Edgerton, Wisconsin. Bred by renowned German Shepherd Dog breeders Sheree Moses Combs, Lauren Figler, M. Llewelyn, and J. Hamilton, Mercedes is owned by Moses Combs and Cynthian Wilhelmy. The current No. 4 all-breed dog in the country and No. 1 Herding dog, Mercedes was the No. 1 all-systems German Shepherd Dog in 2023. Notably, Boyles also handled the 2017 Westminster Best in Show winner, the German Shepherd Dog "Rumor" (GCH Lockenhaus' Rumor Has It V Kenlyn). 

At just 6 months old, Mercedes showcased her exceptional potential by winning Best Puppy and Reserve Winners Bitch at the German Shepherd Dog Club of America National Specialty. Throughout her career, she has achieved an impressive record of 35 Bests in Show victories. In 2023, Mercedes further solidified her standing by winning Reserve Best in Show at the AKC National Championship. 

Mercedes, the remarkable German Shepherd Dog, has an impressive lineage. Her paternal grandsire is "Dallas" (CH Kismet's Sight For Sore Eyes), who held the prestigious title of the No. 1 all-breed dog in the country in 2002. Additionally, Dallas achieved great success by winning the Westminster Herding Group in 2003.

Toy Group Winner

“Comet” (MBIS/MBISS GCHP Hallmark Jolei Out Of This World), a 3½-year-old male Shih Tzu, was handled by Luke Ehricht of Monclova, Ohio, the breeder and owner with his wife, Diane Ehricht. Bonnie J. Miller, DVM, is also a co-owner. Comet stands out with his stunning style and exquisite flowing coat and achieved the remarkable feat of being the No. 1 all-breed dog in the country in 2023.

The No. 1 all-systems Shih Tzu since 2022, Comet represents the sixth generation of No. 1 Shih Tzu bred by Hallmark Jolei. 

From the very beginning, Comet soared to success, winning the Toy Group at his first show at just 9 months old. Furthermore, Comet has an impressive record of 80 Bests in Show victories, including a remarkable win as Best in Show at the AKC National Championship in 2023. The Ehrichts, who have dedicated over 50 years to honing their Hallmark Jolei breeding program, were honored as the AKC Breeders of the Year in 2023. 

Comet is fed Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Lamb & Oat Meal Formula dog food.

Hound Group Winner 

“Louis” (MBIS/MBISS GCHP Sunlit’s King of Queens), a 6-year-old black male Afghan Hound, was handled by Alicia Morrison Jones of Roseville, California, the co-owner with Jamie Souza-Bartlett. The No. 1 all-systems Afghan Hound and No. 10 all-breed dog in the country, Louis has earned 71 Bests in Show during his career. Tara M. Richardson is the breeder.

Depicting the timeless elegance and grace of the breed and moving effortlessly with powerful reach and drive, Louis is reminiscent of his parents. His sire, “Finn” (GCHP Agha Djari’s Fifth Dimension of Sura), was the No. 1 all-systems Afghan Hound from 2017 to 2019. The dam, “Araina” (GCHG Sunlit’s Queen of Everything CGC), was bred by Richardson out of a Swedish champion from the world-famous Kingsleah Kennels that she brought to the U.S. in 2012.

Louis is fed Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula dog food.

Working Group Winner

“Monty” (MBIS/MBISS GCHS Hearthmore’s Wintergreen Mountain RN CGC TKN), a 4½-year-old male Giant Schnauzer, was handled by Katie Bernardin of Chaplin, Connecticut. Bernardin is the owner along with Sandra Nordstrom and Cherlann Ambrose, who is the breeder.

Monty has achieved the remarkable feat of being a two-time Westminster Working Group winner, adding to his previous victory in 2023. His sire, "Ty" (GCHG Ingebar's Tynan Dances With Wildflowers), also claimed the Westminster Working Group title in 2018. Currently, Monty holds the position of being the No. 1 all-breed dog in the country. With an impressive record of 20 Bests in Show victories, he is also the No. 1 all-systems Giant Schnauzer.

Monty is fed Pro Plan All Ages Sport Performance 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula dog food.

Sporting Group Winner

“Micah” (MBIS/MBISS GCHG Rejoices To The Point), a 2½-year-old female black-and-tan Cocker Spaniel, was handled by Per Ingar Rismyhr of East Granby, Connecticut, who has specialized in handling Cocker Spaniels for 43 years. Joy E. Stevens is the breeder and owner. The No. 1 all-systems Black Cocker Spaniel since 2023, Micah is currently the No. 3 Sporting dog.

The winner of eight all-breed Bests in Show, Micah also has won Best of Breed at specialty shows including the American Spaniel Club National Specialty in 2023 and the American Flushing Spaniel Club National Specialty in 2024.

Micah is fed Pro Plan All Ages Sport Performance 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula dog food.

Terrier Group Winner

“Frankie” (MBIS GCHB Grabo Frankie Goes To Magor), a 3-year-old male Colored Bull Terrier, was handled by Sarah Byzewski of Rosslyn, Ontario, Canada, the co-owner with Joe Byzewski. Grace S. and Robert K. Thomas are the breeders.

With a rich heritage in Bull Terriers, Byzewski's involvement in the breed spans over 50 years, as her parents are renowned breeders under the Magor kennel prefix. Frankie has not only earned a Grand Champion title in the Canadian Kennel Club but has also achieved the distinction of winning three Bests in Show in Canada. 

Frankie is fed Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula dog food.

Congratulations to the 2024 Westminster winners!

Related articles

2023 top show dogs with the image of a west highland white terrier
Unleash success with Purina® Pro Plan®! In 2023, 9 out of Canada's top 10 show dogs chose Pro Plan®, dominating the ring with their exceptional talent and beauty. Congratulations to these extraordinary dogs and their dedicated owners and handlers for their remarkable achievements!
Dog on the table
border collie mix dog on the left and sheltie dog on the right