Banana Joe’s show career may be over, but his victory lap continues.
The 5-year-old Affenpinscher, GCH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, won Best in Show Tuesday night at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York’s Madison Square Garden. According to the WKC, 2,721 dogs were entered in the show, including 26 dogs from Missouri and eight from Kansas. Besides “Joey,” the six other dogs that competed during the Best in Show judging were an American Foxhound, a Bichon Frise, a German Wirehaired Pointer, a Portuguese Water Dog, a Smooth Fox Terrier and an Old English Sheepdog. The OES, Bugaboo's Picture Perfect, won Reserve Best in Show.
Joey’s first stop early Wednesday morning was an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” followed by a trip to the “Today” show. Cradled in the arms of his handler, Ernesto Lara, Joey appeared unfazed by the studio lights and attention, his little pink tongue peeking out from his fluffy, monkey-like face.
“I think it’s the most prestigious show to win,” Lara said to “Today” news anchor Natalie Morales. “And he finally got it, so it was wonderful.”
Like many Westminster Best in Show winners before him, Joey has now retired from showing. The little black dog has won more than 80 Best in Shows during his career. He was the top Toy in the nation for 2012. “Dog News,” a weekly magazine that publishes show results and statistics, had Joey ranked fifth among all breeds. Bred in the Netherlands, Joey first made a name for himself in European shows before arriving in America to do the same here.
After “Today,” the media tour continued for Joey, Lara and WKC spokesperson David Frei. Other stops on their busy agenda included appearances on “Anderson Live,” “The View” and a local talk show. Joey had lunch at the famous Sardi’s, munching steak off a silver platter, which is a tradition for Westminster Best in Show winners. Another tradition is a visit to the Empire State Building, where Joey and Lara stood on the observation deck for pictures and a view of the city. The dog was also scheduled to briefly appear in a Broadway show Wednesday night.
Ahead for Banana Joe is Thursday’s visit to the New York Stock Exchange, where he will ring the opening bell. But soon, the hoopla over the perky pooch will settle down, and he’ll leave Lara to travel back to the Netherlands. There, Lara said, Joey will “just enjoy life.”