Happy meal: Poodle stops for fast food, wins at Westminster

Thor the bulldog naps before competition at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. Thor most recently won the Kennel Club of Philadelphia's National Dog Show in November, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Thor the bulldog naps before competition at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP/Mark Lennihan)
Lhasa Apso's compete during the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Lhasa Apso’s compete during the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP/Mark Lennihan)
Dalmatians compete at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Dalmatians compete at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP/Mark Lennihan)
Azawakhs compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. The Azawakh is a new breed to the Westminster show this year. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Azawakhs compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. The Azawakh is a new breed to the Westminster show this year. (AP/Wong Maye-E)
Baker, a Tibetan Terrier, is ready to compete in the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Baker, a Tibetan Terrier, is ready to compete in the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP/Mark Lennihan)
Pink Border Collie
Pink the border collie leaps through a course obstacle en route to winning the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility title Saturday Feb. 8, 2020, in New York. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
Liberty, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, and owner Marcia Lyons of Seattle get ready to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club's agility championship in New York, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. The retrievers, known as "tollers," aren't too common in the sport, but "I like to be a little different," Lyons said. (AP Photo/Jennifer Peltz)
Liberty, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, and owner Marcia Lyons of Seattle get ready to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility championship in New York, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. The retrievers, known as “tollers,” aren’t too common in the sport, but “I like to be a little different,” Lyons said. (AP/Jennifer Peltz)
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Thor the bulldog naps before competition at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. Thor most recently won the Kennel Club of Philadelphia's National Dog Show in November, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Lhasa Apso's compete during the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Dalmatians compete at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Azawakhs compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. The Azawakh is a new breed to the Westminster show this year. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Baker, a Tibetan Terrier, is ready to compete in the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Pink Border Collie
Liberty, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, and owner Marcia Lyons of Seattle get ready to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club's agility championship in New York, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. The retrievers, known as "tollers," aren't too common in the sport, but "I like to be a little different," Lyons said. (AP Photo/Jennifer Peltz)

NEW YORK (AP) — Chic and strong-headed, Siba the black standard poodle will only eat chicken — no meat, no veggies, not even turkey. That became a problem when handler Crystal Murray-Clas couldn’t find any at the Westminster Kennel Club show Monday.

So this prim and proper poodle chowed down on the closest thing her humans could find — a fast-food treat that proved to be the perfect fuel for her final show.

“It’s usually all about the chicken,” Murray-Clas said.

After lunching on grilled chicken sandwiches from a nearby McDonald’s, Siba won the nonsporting group at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, one of four dogs to qualify for the best in show final ring. Bono the Havanese took the toy group, Bourbon the whippet was named top hound, and Conrad the Shetland sheepdog won herding.

Winners for the other three groups — and best in show — will be crowned at the Garden on Tuesday night.

A finalist at the dog show out of 2,630 entries, Siba earned her way with a most dignified showing. The 3 1/2 year old struck a pose waiting for the judge to start, planting her feet firm and pointing her perfectly cut head high. She strutted confidently across the green carpet, not a hair out of place on her carefully clipped coat.

“She knows she’s special,” Murray-Clas said. “I think everything she does shows that.”

A princess at times, Siba isn’t always so elegant. She lives with Murray-Clas and adores her rambunctious 2-year-old son. When she’s off show duty, Siba is happiest running around the fields near Murray-Clas’ home in Hanover, Pennsylvania — and tracking mud into her house.

She’ll have plenty of time for that when she retires from shows after this week.

“You would never know she was a show dog,” Murray-Clas said.

Going out as top dog won’t be easy.

Bourbon, for instance, comes from a top-shelf litter. Her brother Whiskey won the National Dog Show in 2018 and was a favorite here last year — until Bourbon upset her go-to cuddle buddy in the breed competition.

Whiskey stayed home this year, giving Bourbon a clearer path to the breed ribbon. The 4-year-old, colored more like a pale Scotch than an amber Kentucky liquor, could become the first whippet since 1964 named America’s top dog.

As strong a shot as any, she’s won a breed-record 73 best in show ribbons in the past year.

“I can’t even believe it,” handler Cheslie Pickett Smithey said.

Then there’s Bono, every bit the rock star that his U2 namesake would suggest. The crowd fawned over slo-mo replays on the Garden’s video boards — a striking highlight with Bono’s exaggerated mustache flowing at his side. They roared in approval when he was awarded best in group.

When Bono won the breed competition earlier Monday, he was immediately swarmed by dog show judges-in-training eager to inspect the superb example of the national dog of Cuba.

“He wants to be out there,” handler Taffe McFadden said. “And he makes people look at him.”

Also fitting for Bono: this 3-year-old still hasn’t found what he’s looking for.

He was rated the No. 1 show dog in the country last year, but he’s yet to fetch the top prize at the circuit’s two most heralded shows. He was runner-up at Westminster last year to King the wire fox terrier, and also finished second to Thor the bulldog at the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving Day.

Bono has 90 best in show victories, and McFadden is hoping to get to 100 before the dog retires. Either way, a comfortable life as McFadden’s pet awaits.

“He sleeps on my bed,” she said. “And he loves my cats. Which is more than my husband does.”

Even without ribbons, a few other dogs emerged as big winners Monday.

Relic became the first Azawakh to strut the Garden floor. The West African sighthound — built a bit like a skinny greyhound — made its Westminster debut for this year’s show.

And a bit of drama from last year’s show was resolved when Colton the schipperke took his turn. After earning a spot in the final ring of seven in 2019, Colton was ruled ineligible for best in show due to a conflict of interest involving the top judge.

This time, he was greeted with big applause. The black lapdog pranced proudly when his turn came.

___

AP Sports Writer Ben Walker contributed.

___

Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Siba, the standard poodle, poses for photographs after winning Best in Show in the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York. (AP/John Minchillo)
Siba, the standard poodle, competes for Best in Show during 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York. (AP/John Minchillo)
A komondor competes during 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York. (AP/John Minchillo)
A Spinone Italiano competes during 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York (AP/John Minchillo)
A Great Dane yawns in the working group competition during 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York. (AP/John Minchillo)
A miniature bull terrier competes during 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York. (AP/John Minchillo)
Bourbon, the whippet, wins second place in the Best in Show competition during the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York. (AP/John Minchillo)
Thor the bulldog naps before competition at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. Thor most recently won the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show in November 2019. (AP/Mark Lennihan)
Bono the Havanese poses with handler Taffe McFadden on the way to a best of breed win at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Bono finished second overall in the event last year. (AP/Ginger Tidwell-Walker)
A Lhasa Apso competes during the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP/Mark Lennihan)
A handler with a Yorkshire terrier waits on the sidelines before participating in the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 in New York City. The 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show brings more than 200 breeds and varieties of dog into New York City for the competition that began Saturday and ends Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden with the naming of this year’s Best in Show. (Getty Images/Stephanie Keith)
A Chinese crested dog is judged during the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show on February 10, 2020 in New York City. (Getty Images/Stephanie Keith)
Baker, a Tibetan Terrier, is ready to compete in the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP/Mark Lennihan)
A Rough Collie competes at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. (AP/Wong Maye-E)
A Pulik looks up at its handler at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. (AP/Wong Maye-E)
Old English sheepdogs compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. (AP/Wong Maye-E)
Azawakhs compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. The Azawakh is a new breed to the Westminster show this year. (AP/Wong Maye-E)
Ghost, a Norwegian buhund, competes at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Ghost is also a therapy dog that makes weekly visits to a Delaware hospital with his owner, Patricia Faye Adcox. (AP/Jennifer Peltz)
An old English sheepdog competes at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in New York. (AP/Wong Maye-E)
Tag, a Labrador retriever weaves, through a series of poles during Westminster Kennel Club’s agility competition Saturday Feb. 8, 2020, in New York. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
Pink the border collie leaps through a course obstacle en route to winning the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility title Saturday Feb. 8, 2020, in New York. Pink’s win extends an all-but sweep for border collies in agility’s seven years at Westminster, save for an Australian shepherd’s 2016 win. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
Pink the border collie competes next to handler Jennifer Crank on the way to winning the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility title Saturday Feb. 8, 2020, in New York. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
Handler Andrea Samuels holds the first-place ribbon that Gabby, a papillon, won in the 8-inch division of the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility competition Saturday Feb. 8, 2020, in New York. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
Mason the Dalmatian leaps in an obstacle course during Westminster Kennel Club’s agility competition, Saturday Feb. 8, 2020, in New York. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
Dog handler Grace Buzanoski runs with her golden retriever Punk through an obstacle course during the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility competition, Saturday Feb. 8, 2020, in New York. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
Liberty, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, and owner Marcia Lyons of Seattle get ready to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility championship in New York, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. The retrievers, known as “tollers,” aren’t too common in the sport, but “I like to be a little different,” Lyons said. (AP/Jennifer Peltz)
Niner, a pug, relaxes after competing in the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility championship in New York on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. Handler Dan Webster of Minneapolis calls her “a supermodel pug who happens to do agility.” (AP/Jennifer Peltz)
Valkyrie, a Bedlington terrier, and owner JoAnn Burtness of Louisburg, N.C., relax after competing in the Westminster Kennel Club’s agility championship in New York on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (AP/Jennifer Peltz)
In this Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 photo, Aliya Taylor shows an Azawakh at the Westminster Dog Show preview in New York. Competition begins Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 with the agility event that’s open to mutts and everyone else. (AP/Jennifer Peltz)
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