Breaking News Bar
posted: 2/10/2013 10:41 PM

Buzz builds at Westminster for doberman

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Protocol's Veni Vidi Vici, a Doberman pinscher, who won its group, runs during the judging of the Working Group at last February's Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York. Oakley, a German wirehaired pointer, along with Veni Vidi Vici are top contenders for next week's 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

      Protocol's Veni Vidi Vici, a Doberman pinscher, who won its group, runs during the judging of the Working Group at last February's Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York. Oakley, a German wirehaired pointer, along with Veni Vidi Vici are top contenders for next week's 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
Bloomberg

NEW YORK -- In the run-up to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, which opens Monday, the buzz surrounding a 4-year-old Doberman Pinscher named Fifi was audible.

She's known as "The Fifinator" among her thousands of fans, who themselves are known as Fifians.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"She's my sentimental favorite," said David Frei, director of communications for Westminster, during an interview at a Manhattan hotel.

"I put money on that one," said David Fitzpatrick, the professional handler of the 2012 champion, a Pekingese named Malachy. "It's just an instinct."

Fifi ended 2012 ranked No. 3 by the American Kennel Club, a 128-year-old organization that promotes and oversees purebred dog competition. She was one of seven finalists last year at Madison Square Garden, besting Westminster's top Boxer, Akita, and other exemplars of breeds in the so-called Working Group.

About 2,700 dogs are expected at Westminster in 187 breeds and varieties. While she has her own Facebook page -- which has received more than 6,500 "likes" -- Fifi is neither shown by a professional nor subsidized by a multimillionaire in a field dominated by wealthy backers.

Josh Dean, author of "Show Dog," a 2012 book about the purebred circuit, said people invest in top dogs and professional handlers (who can earn six-figure pay) for the reflected glory.

"It's competition like anything else," he said. "You're going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to win some medals and ribbons. But that really is the motivation."

Big Spenders

Jocelyn Mullins, a 44-year-old breeder and co-owner of Fifi, said her dog was outspent 10-to-1 by rivals on advertising in such publications as "Dog News" and "Dogs in Review."

"The other dogs have been in every single issue of every publication that's out there," she said last week from her home in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. "We've been able to accomplish an amazing amount with our resources."

According to the AKC, the Doberman Pinscher originated in Germany about a century ago, taking its name from a tax collector, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, who sought a guard dog as well as a companion. The AKC breed standard said the gait is to be "free, balanced and vigorous," its coat "smooth-haired, short, hard, thick" and permitted colors are "black, red, blue and fawn (Isabella)."

"This is not supposed to be a beauty pageant. It's supposed to be an evaluation of breeding stock," Mullins said, adding of Fifi, "And she has a stunning personality."

Amassing Debt

Fifi's official name is CH Protocol's Veni Vidi Vici. Mullins has incurred substantial debt -- she won't say how much -- traveling the country showing the dog. She said she's fighting the perception that a top contender needs a professional handler to excel.

"She walks in that ring as though she owns it," Mullins said. "I could've found someone to show her and pay the bills, but it wouldn't be the same."

Her top Westminster rivals include a German Wirehaired Pointer named Oakley and an English Springer Spaniel, Peyton.

The best-in-show judge is Michael Dougherty, a professional handler who works in public relations and co-owns, with his wife, the Windsong Resort for Pets in Escondido, California. Featuring a "pup pool" with a waterfall, it is the area's "finest boutique pet resort," according to its website.

Muse highlights include Jeremy Gerard on theater, Greg Evans and Craig Seligman on movies.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.