Local bulldog owner breeds championship dogs for Best in Show

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Oh Oh, a champion bulldog (WTVD)

A local dog owner and her bulldog were in Best in Show at The Westminster Dog Show in New York City and won Best in Breed. But before she made it to the big show, Annabelle the bulldog won 57 specialty dog shows just for her breed.

Her owner, Jean Heatherington, seems to breed champions. Since the 1960's Heatherington has bred 100 champion bulldogs. How does she do it? She says she started with a good dog and she got lucky.

"If you start with a good dog, that helps," she says. "But a lot of people will start with one that isn't so good and go to performance and obedience events and training. Then they can decide if they want to get into showing it."

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Jean Heatherington shows off her champion bulldog

She says she went to several shows and liked the people, so she started doing it herself.

There's a standard for every breed and the judges evaluate using that standard. It describes every part of their body, shape of the eye, ear, nose, head, and neck.

Jean showed ABC11 what the judges look for in bulldogs. Jean used Oh Oh, another champion bulldog, as an example.

What a judge looks for in a bulldog.

And she also showed how a bulldog walks when on the big stage.

How a bulldog walks

She says she was nervous when she and Annabelle first hit the floor for Best in Show at Madison Square Garden.

"I was very nervous, you never know. She's never been in a situation like Madison Square Garden," she explains. "It's just screaming and yelling and carrying on and when we first walked in the ring, I thought she was a little nervous. But then she started gating out like she always does and then I relaxed."

Annabelle even watched herself up on the big screen in the Garden. Female Bulldogs don't win as many awards as the males because judges like big heads, and girls aren't as big as the boys. But Jean hopes Annabelle's win at Westminster helps girl bulldogs win more.

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petsdogwestminster dog show
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