NEW YORK (AP) – One of Westminster’s new breeds is also perhaps its shyest.
Inquiring dog show visitors kept walking past the staging area for the Nederlandse kooikerhandjes, hoping to say hello to the first-time competitors. They might have had an easier time pronouncing the breed’s Dutch name – it’s NAY’-dehr-lahn-seh KOY’-kehr-hahnd-jeh, by the way.
The medium-sized, orange and white dogs aren’t big on other canines, nor are they keen to meet strangers. Throughout Tuesday, they almost all stayed locked away in cages and hiding out from the backstage bustle – a rare occurrence in a warehouse full of gregarious labs and curious terriers.
Primadonna, the first ever Nederlandse kooikerhandje champion at an event in January of 2018, stuck close to handler Deborah Bean when dragged from her lair. Primadonna got a ribbon Tuesday, and now the 5 1/2-year-old is ready for retirement – something Bean revealed while wiping away a tear.
“She does this because she loves me, not because she loves this,” Bean said. “It’s my turn to say, ‘I will do what you like.'”