German shepherd in rare bid for Westminster’s top prize!

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A German Shepherd named Rumor will attempt Tuesday night to claim the crown at the Westminster Dog Show for just the second time in the popular breed's history.

Rumor, who was edged out in the final stage of the prestigious dog show last year, emerged as a clear crowd favorite late Monday, beaming from the floor of New York's Madison Square Garden as she took the hotly contested Herding Group.

But Rumor will have her paws full when she returns to the Garden for the grand finale Tuesday.

Her rivals include Chuckie, a Pekingese who is the scion of the 2012 Westminster Best in Show champ, as well as Duffy, the latest offering from legendary breeder Patricia Trotter, whose dynasty of Norwegian Elkhounds has won the Hound group 10 times, but who has yet to snag Best in Show.

Those dogs, along with a Miniature Poodle, emerged as the survivors in the competition's penultimate round. Additional finalists will be named tonight prior to the Best in Show decision.

There are nearly 2,800 dogs competing overall in the 141st annual event from which seven “Best in Group” winners will emerge. Of those seven dogs one will be picked as Best in Show.

Among the others waiting in the wings are defending champion C.J., a German Shorthaired Pointer, as well as a handful of representatives from the dominant Terrier Group.

Rumor's potential win will no doubt lift the spirits of the German Shepherd's considerable fan base. The breed, widely used in law enforcement, is second in popularity only to the Labrador Retriever in the United States.

“Her movement is superb,” Judge Robert Smith said of Rumor from the floor of Madison Square Garden.

“She just stole the show.”

Monday's causalities included the previously number-one ranked dog, Preston, a Puli whose mop-like hair also wowed observers.

Fans of dogs with elaborate hairdos will have other options Tuesday, including Aftin, a Miniature Poodle who will sport the breed's iconic cut, which first came about when the dogs retrieved ducks from rivers.

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