Sadie, the Scottish terrier and heavy favorite at the 134th Westminster Dog Show, lived up to her billing as top dog.
Judge Elliott Weiss named Sadie best in show at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.
“Expectations? Never expectations,” said handler Gabriel Rangel earlier in the day of the chance Sadie could walk away with best in show honors. “If you think that way, you get nervous and in trouble.”
Sadie's victory was delayed slightly when a pair of PETA protesters stormed the center ring before the big announcement and held up signs that said “Mutts Rule” and “Breeders Kill Shelter Dogs’ Chances,” the latter a slogan popularized by PETA. Dana Sylvester and Hope Round were booed by the crowd and arrested on charges of criminal trespass, police said.
A Brittany named Tally, who recently had two litters, walked away as winner of the sporting group. Other finalists for best in show were a whippet, a French bulldog, a toy poodle, a puli and a Doberman pinscher.
A playful Norfolk terrier with Long Island ties, affectionately called Tom Kat, was named best of his breed in a victory for Old Brookville breeder Barbara Miller.
But Tom Kat wasn't the only prize winner Tuesday for Miller, who was honored by the American Kennel Club in 2007 as the best dog breeder in the country.
Three of her Norfolk terriers nabbed ribbons in the breed competition: best of breed for Tom Kat, whose show name is Max-Well's Mr. Cruise; best of opposite sex for Max-Well's Violet; and an award of merit for 1 1/2-year-old Max-Well's Vanessa.
"We totally cleaned up!" Miller beamed, hugging Constance Coleman, an animal portraitist.
Tuesday was the second and final day of the 134th Westminster Kennel Club show, which drew 2,500 dogs from 173 breeds and varieties, and is regarded as the nation's most prestigious show.
Tom Kat was resting in his crate Tuesday afternoon before another round of grooming for the terrier group competition, when Miller scooped the small dog out of his cage to introduce him to visitors.
"Hi, sweetness," she said, kissing his snout. "He is hot and tired."
Tom Kat, 3, is co-owned by Susan Kipp, of Union Grove, Wis., and lives with his handlers, Gwen and Kent Meyer, in Rockton, Ill.
"It's a team effort," Miller said. Late last night, Tom Kat circled the ring again but did not place in the terrier group. The winner was Sadie, a Scottish terrier overwhelmingly favored to win best in show.
The Max-Well team had seven of the 11 dogs in the Norfolk terrier competition.
Kipp's daughter Devon, 13, ran Max-Well's Vanessa around the ring.
"She's just like a baby," Devon said, cuddling the young dog, who along with Violet and other Max-Well dogs lives with the Kipps in Wisconsin. "She loves playing with squeaky toys."
Miller, president of both the national Norfolk Terrier Club and the Long Island Kennel Club, said she has won best of breed "more times than I can remember."
Her first Westminster best of breed was a two-time champion named Crunch. There followed a line of winners: Weatherman, his son Cyclone, and Cyclone's son Viper, who won best of breed in 2008.
Nevertheless, Miller said, when the judge pointed to Tom Kat, she couldn't help but cry.