NEW YORK — She is a hot dog, this little Sadie.
Tongue out and wagging tail up, the perky, 4-year-old Scottish terrier has won more than 100 best-in-show ribbons and completed dogdom’s Triple Crown Tuesday at the Westminster show at Madison Square Garden, New York.
What in the show world could have gone wrong for America’s top dog at America’s top pooch pageant?
Well, plenty could have.
Two years ago, she got spooked at the same venue — her handler’s new shoes were too squeaky, the wooden boards covering the ice-hockey rink thumped too loudly. There was a stray TV monitor that threw her, too.
Then, in February last year, she had a disastrous potty accident on the green carpet soon after coming out to take her place in the final round.
“That’s what we always say,” said David Frei, longtime host of the Westminster telecast on the USA Network and CNBC. “It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past. It’s what you do inside that ring on any given day.”
But Tuesday night, Sadie did the right kind of business.
Dogs from 173 breeds and varieties began competing Monday morning, with three newcomers to Westminster: the Irish red-and-white setter, the Norwegian buhund and the Pyrenean shepherd.
There were 2,500 entries — up from last year, when a slow economy took a bite out of the show — including a 12-year-old shiba inu and 10-month-old miniature bull terrier. Australian shepherds were the most popular with 44 while there were just two kuvaszok.
Judge Elliott Weiss opted for Sadie from among the final best-of-show seven. She was listed as the 8-1 favorite by the bookies.
Weiss also chose Sadie as best in show at an event in North Carolina in September. It’s common for top judges to see the best dogs at competitions around the country during the year.
Plenty of judges have picked the coal-black Sadie, whose registered name is Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot. She won the prestigious National Dog Show in November and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in December.
Scotties have won best in show at Westminster seven times, surpassed only by 13 wins for wire fox terriers. Then again, not since a perfectly primped bichon frise called J.R. in 2001 has America’s reigning No. 1 show dog won Westminster.
“Dog on the day,” host Frei said.
An underdog, so to speak, wound up winning best in show last year. Crowd favorite Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex spaniel, took the ribbon and silver bowl. He’s now retired, living a dog’s life in Texas.