Westminster Dog Show 2013: Banana Joe Gives Hope to Non-Traditional Breeds

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 13, 2013

Banana Joe, with handler Ernesto Lara. Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer (Associated Press)
Banana Joe, with handler Ernesto Lara. Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer (Associated Press)

In an unprecedented development, Banana Joe won the Best in Show award at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday evening.

It marked the first time that an affenpinscher won the accolade but also the second year in a row that a toy group dog won the top prize. Such a result provides hope for other breeds of dogs not traditionally associated with the show's top prize to succeed in the competition moving forward.

This was only the 11th win ever for a toy group dog, but it appears a trend is emerging to favor that sort of breed, which has a typically cute appearance and can be among the most crowd-pleasing.

Leave it to ESPN's Twitter page to throw out a witty congratulatory statement to the extraordinary, monkey-faced dog:

The toy group hadn't been quite as kind to Banana Joe in recent years. Two runner-up finishes defined the past two shows for the black bundle of fur, which didn't allow him to make it to the final seven. He entered each event with a lot of hype and fan support but couldn't quite do enough.

This time around, however, Banana Joe made sure the job was finished.

That should serve as an inspiration to those who do not believe their dogs are quite cut out for this prestigious competition.

If Banana Joe can go against the grain in an event that has a 137-year history, why can't another breed?

Banana Joe hadn't won anything this big, yet had won 85 other best-in-show distinctions around the world and was able to establish himself as a prolific competitor despite the perception that his breed couldn't win (h/t ESPN).

Breeders of Brussels Griffon should be the most excited about Banana Joe's success as an affenpinscher. The two breeds are very closely related, and a Brussels Griffon has never won the Best in Show honors at this prestigious competition.

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel has also garnered more popularity in the United States in recent years (h/t CavalierHealth.org), which gives that breed hope in having a similar landmark triumph.

The odds of winning are essentially one in seven at best when toy dogs make it out of the group stage, as the award often goes to some type of terrier—which has happened 44 times.

But Banana Joe has shined a beacon of hope by taking home the silver bowl.