A local dog recently took home high honors at one of the most notable dog shows in the U.S.
Pancho, a 3-year-old American Staffordshire terrier, nabbed a "best in breed" award at the famous Westminster dog show before eventually placing second in the entire terrier category, beating out hundreds of other dogs.
“Overwhelming. A lot of joy," said Ed Thomason, Pancho’s breeder and owner, of the distinction.
The Westminster show, which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City a couple of weeks ago, has been held for decades following the Westminster Kennel Club's formation in 1877.
Thomason and his wife live with Pancho in Spokane County while Thomason works at a dog crate company in Rathdrum. The couple has bred American Staffordshire terriers for twenty years.
It didn't take long for Pancho to establish himself as one of the Thomason's more notable dogs.
“He’s a really good example of the breed,” said Thomason, noting Pancho's physique and friendly nature. “He was pretty special from the minute he was born.”
At the Westminster show, Pancho first beat out six other American Staffordshire terriers to earn the "best in breed" award. From there, he placed second out of roughly 350 dogs entered into the terrier category, Thomason said.
Moreover, the terrier that Pancho took second place to went on to win the coveted "best in show" award at Westminster.
In other words, as far as terriers go, Pancho lost to the eventual champion dog, a wire hair fox terrier named "King."
“For us to do so well and place so high, it was the time of our lives. Something we’ll never forget,” Thomason said of the experience. While it was Pancho's second time competing at Westminster, Thomason said the energy and prestige surround the event was amazing.
While Pancho took home some impressive hardware, Thomason added that he's enjoying increased exposure for the American Staffordshire Terrier breed. The breed, he says, can often be unfairly portrayed and misunderstood as dangerous, like pit bulls.
“Promoting this breed in a positive light means much more to us than it does winning a ribbon at a dog show,” he said. Pancho, he added, is as much a friendly lap and family dog as any other pup. “He’s happy, he’s goofy, he’s loving,” he said.
For now, Thomason said he and his wife plan to continue to show Pancho at various dog shows across the country. The couple hope to show Pancho at Westminster next year as well.