Local dog makes good

February 25, 2014

By David Hayes

New: Feb. 25, 3:01 p.m.

To quote a famous Highlander, “There can be only one.”

For the Westminster Kennel Club’s 138th annual dog show Feb. 10-11, that one best in show was Sky, a wire fox terrier.

But, just because Sky got the top prize, doesn’t mean Westminster didn’t have plenty of other awards to hand out, especially to two local entries.

Binna, a Norwegian Buhund owned by Sammamish residents, waits eagerly for a command.  Photo by Kerrin Winter

Binna, a Norwegian Buhund owned by Sammamish residents, waits eagerly for a command. Photo by Kerrin Winter

The two Norwegian buhunds entered by Vali Eberhardt and John Bradstreet, of Sammamish, walked away with “best opposite sex,” for the male Chewie, and “select” for Binna, essentially a second place for the females in the breed.

Eberhardt said, unfortunately prior success played no part for Binna at this year’s Westminster — she is the reigning AKC grand champion for Norwegian buhunds.

Eberhardt has been showing the rare breed since 2007, when she and her husband started showing Binna’s grandparents in Canada, where they established their own pedigree, winning Canadian championships.

Eberhardt said many people have hardly heard of the herding dog, but it rarely makes it to family dog status.

“These types of dogs really need to be out running on a farm,” she said. “They were originally used herding sheep in Norway.”

Binna actually lives in Monroe with her handler, Amy McLaughlin. Eberhardt said the living situation is ideal for both parties, as Amy helps train Binna while Binna works as a sort of service dog for Amy’s mom, who is handicapped and can’t see.

Back in Sammamish, Eberhardt lives with Chewie and Binna’s sister, Bergritta. Eberhardt said they had planned to enter Bergritta at Westminster, but a last minute scheduling conflict got in the way. Her husband, Bradstreet, is the one who handles Chewie — full name Jotunn Cheval Bayard — at shows.

“But he likes entering the agility competitions more,” Eberhardt explained.

They enter the dogs in a competition at least once a month, with Binna having accumulated the most success at 24 placements. Last week, Binna was already off to another competition in Canada while Chewie and Bergritta were off to another in Oregon.

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