Douglas dog takes best in breed

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Nevada Appeal News Service

GARDNERVILLE - Sam, a Belgian Malinois owned by Douglas County resident Sue Haase, trumped the competition at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York this week.

He was judged best of breed in a field that included five of the best Malinois in the country, Haase said.

"This has been very exciting for me. We're so pleased," she said.

The pair are newcomers at Westminster.

Sam, who's official title is Ch. Roulets The River Samber HSAs, has been on the show circuit for just a year. This show was the first time Haase has competed in Westminster. Haase has been breeding and showing Malinoises for 20 years.

"Sue did this all by herself," said Sandy Moore, who co-owns the dog with Haase. "That makes this an even greater win."

Established in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club's influence has been felt for more than a century through the dog show, held every year at New York's Madison Square Garden. The show is America's second longest continuously held sporting event, second only to the Kentucky Derby.

Haase said she felt very much in the spotlight. The press was always visible, and there was a lot of pressure. The dogs spend the day on public display.

Sam didn't get into the show ring until 9:30 p.m.

"That's a lot of stress for a dog," Haase said. "But he did so well. He had a lot of energy in the ring."

In mid-January, Sam won his breed at the Eukanuba Invitational in Tampa, Fla., an advantage when he stepped into the ring at Westminster.

"We didn't think he had much of a shot at going any further this year," Haase said. "We felt pretty good about this competition, but it was a real surprise when we won."

For this show, Haase stood on the sidelines as her professional handler, Russ Beach of Zanesville, Ohio, did the honors.

"Russ breeds Malinois, too. He's a good friend," Haase said.

Now that the show is over, it will be business as usual for Sam, Haase said.

"This win shows me we're on the right track. It also means the public gets to see a good representative of this breed," Haase said. "This a very nice win for my breeding program."

Sam, who is 4 years old, will be on the road for a while yet, Moore said.

"But it's going to be great when he comes back," she said. "He's a real character. We miss him."

In addition to his talents in the show ring, Sam was one of the few dogs in his class to hold a herding title. When he returns to the Carson Valley, he will be spending part of his time herding sheep.

Sam lives at the Three-Quarter Circle H Ranch with Sue and her husband, Ed Haase.


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