Cambridge Springs cocker spaniel wins at Westminster | New
CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS – 3-year-old ASCOB Cocker Spaniel Berry enjoys running around the yard and playing with his toys.
A real lady, she also likes to be stilted and correct and to win at dog shows.
And that’s exactly what she did at the Westminster Kennel Club’s 145th Annual Dog Show, a two-day event held on Saturday June 12 and Sunday June 13.
Berry, whose registered name is Raspberry Beret from GCHS Bleu Moon, won the Best of Variety award at the prestigious dog show.
And what makes Berry’s win more special in these areas is that she’s a local bitch. Berry lives in Cambridge Springs with Esther Kostelnik and her husband, Mike. Esther Kostelnik is Berry’s handler.
“I felt good and I was very happy that the judge recognized his qualities,” Kostelnik said of the victory. “I was happy that she won the Best of Variety award. This was our first time in Westminster.
Kostelnik is not only the manager of Berry, she is also one of the four owners of Berry. The other three are Michelle Mitchell and Bart Hetrick of Mohnton, who are also the breeders of Berry, and Beth Moore of Amarillo, Texas.
“I manage for Michelle, so whatever she wants to show, I get it,” Kostelnik said. “I usually return them, but this one I kept.”
Berry was named the nation’s Best Female Cocker Spaniel Any Solid Color Other Than Black (ABSOC) in 2019 and 2020.
“She didn’t come lightly,” Kostelnik said of Westminster’s victory.
Kostelnik, owner of Telme Cockers, is retired from Ainsworth Pet Nutrition LLC in Meadville. She is no stranger to Berry’s lineage.
“His mother’s side is sired by a dog that I raised, and his father’s side is sired by a dog that I raised,” Kostelnik said. “Even though I didn’t raise her, I think this is my breeding.”
Berry turned 3 on January 24. Kostelnik has had her since she was 6 months old. Kostelnik got it in July 2018.
Berry is one of the three varieties of cocker spaniel. They are ASCOB, black and black party.
“These are divided and displayed by color,” Kostelnik said. “Berry won the Best of Variety award in the ASCOB category.”
At Westminster, the top five of each race are invited.
“Whether they come in or not, you don’t know,” she said.
Some dogs enter after the guests are determined. There were finally nine dogs, including Berry, in the category this year.
“That’s about the average for Westminster because they are all champions,” Kostelnik said.
After winning the Best of Variety award at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Kostelnik had all day to tour the mansion and grounds where the show took place.
Berry then competed Sunday night for a victory in the sports group for a chance at the Best in Show. This group was won by Jade, the German shorthaired pointer.
The other group winners this year were: Group Hound – Bourbon the Whippet, Group Toy – Wasabi the Pekingese, Non Sporting Group – Mathew the French Bulldog, Group Herding – Connor the Old English Sheepdog, Task Force – Striker the Samoyed and Terrier Group – Boy the West Highland White Terrier. Wasabi the Pekingese won the Best in Show award.
“This Pekingese fit the standard perfectly and was the best representative of his breed,” Kostelnik said.
This year, due to COVID 19 restrictions, Westminster has been moved from its usual location of Madison Square Garden in New York to the grounds of the Lyndhurst Mansion in the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York. Because the show was held outdoors, it was moved to June rather than its normal February month for weather reasons.
The annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second oldest continuous sporting event in the United States after the Kentucky Derby, according to published reports.
Due to COVID restrictions, vendors or public spectators were not allowed at this year’s event. However, every dog that won the Best of Breed / Variety award got two tickets for someone to sit in the audience.
For her win, Berry received a purple and gold ribbon and an engraved Best of Breed / Variety medallion on one side and Westminster Dog Show 2021 on the other.
Kostelnik said the prices are cool, but there is more to this dog show than a ribbon and a medallion.
“It’s the prestige of winning at Westminster that counts,” she said.