Star the Bulldog won Best in Show at the AKC National Championship

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet your new Queen: Star the Bulldog. Monday night we learned the gorgeous and aptly called Star was named Best in Show (to which Star sniffed, “as if I didn’t already know that”) at the 2022 American Kennel Club’s (AKC) National Championship. The actual contest took place mid December but the world was kept in rapt suspense until this week when Star, whose show name is GCHG CH Cherokee Legend Encore, trotted over 5,300 dogs and allowed the world to bask in her shine.

Meet the “Star” of the 22nd annual AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin.

On Monday, the American Kennel Club announced the winner of its annual canine competition. Star the bulldog went home with the event’s top prize, winning the Best in Show title and $50,000.

Star — show name GCHG CH Cherokee Legend Encore — beat out over 5,300 canines to win the dog show, which took place December 17-18, 2022, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The 2022 AKC National Championship aired as a three-hour special on ABC on January 1, 2023.

A family from Glen Rose, Texas, owns the talented Star, who was also crowned “America’s National Champion” by Best in Show judge Mr. Desmond Murphy at the AKC dog show.
Star won Best in Group in the event’s Non-Sporting Group before moving on to the Best in Show round, where six other talented pooches joined the canine: Bogart the Schnauzer, winner of the Working Group, Trumpet the Bloodhound, winner of the Hound Group; Josie the Spinone Italiano, winner of the Sporting Group; Stache the Sealyham Terrier, winner of the Terrier Group; Clark the Havanese, winner of the Toy Group, and Mercedes the German Shepherd, winner of the Herding Group.

[From People]

If you find yourself in need of a pick me up today, please go to the ACK website and read their Ode to a Rising Star (my title) write up on her win. I swear it’s the first draft of her biopic that’s being pitched to four major studios and already has Angelina Jolie attached to direct. Here’s a taste:

The Masons know that firsthand, having purchased a promising Bulldog that has become so successful she now has her own trophy room. And hanging on one of the walls, amid Star’s ribbons and win photos, is that original Bulldog photo from Kevin Mason’s final year of college, signed by Sickle on the day Star went to her new home.

[From American Kennel Club]

Can you imagine what Star’s Trophy Room looks like? She probably lets her little bulldog friends select which cup they want to drink from while declaring, “I can’t even remember what I won *that* for. Sometimes I just walk down the street and they just hand trophies to me.” I wonder if all the 2002 AKC Best Ins have a group text that just consists of bone emojis. And can we take a minute for some of these names, please? Trumpet the Bloodhound and Stache the Sealyham Terrier – come on. Who doesn’t want to hear the antics of Stache the Terrier? Mercedes, of course, is Star’s best friend. Look at the way she comes to Star’s side after she wins.

Star’s beautiful. I’m worthless here because a dog show is the only time I condone every participant getting a trophy. Look at her mug – this bitch knows she’s fabulous too. Will she retire for a life of belly rubs and behind the ear scritches now that she’s done her victory lap? Speaking of victory laps, I love that no matter how high an honor a dog wins, they all get that “I’m a dog” face at some point during their winning walk-about.
Bogart the Schnauzer, the little suck up, was runner up, making his Reserve Best in Show. So now he waits in Star’s shadow, plotting and scheming how to snatch her crown. That and the occasional nap in the mid-afternoon sun.


Okay, I take it back. Bogart and I could hang. He’s a bud

Photo credit: Instagram

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27 Responses to “Star the Bulldog won Best in Show at the AKC National Championship”

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  1. sparrow says:

    Apologies to bull dog owners, but it’s such a cruel breed. There’s nothing to celebrate. They can barely breathe, and are continually drowsy through lack of proper oxygen inhalation and difficulties from skeletal structure. Just heart breaking.

    • Sam says:

      Yes exactly, thank you!! These shows are just awful because they only show overbred breeds of dogs and it’s all about the suffering of the dogs! Why can’t people think of anything better than torturing animals? Read about how dogs suffer from torture, for example french bulldog, german shepherd, ridgeback, teacup dog breeds, blue dog syndrome for example in australian shepherds, cavalier king charles spaniel (what an irony..) and so on…
      It is so important to be informed and to pass on the knowledge! ❤️

      • sparrow says:

        Thanks both! I thought I was in for potential nay sayers. They are seen as really cute and a bit of a status symbol amongst low list celebrities, particularly Brits sold on the nationalistic aspect. There’s been an explosion in pugs and tea cup dogs, who suffer life long migraines due to skull tightness and are even having to have c sections because their pelvises are too narrow to pass litters. Disgusting.

    • Caroline says:

      Agreed. Horrifyingly misshapen, and they suffer for it while we give their owners and breeders medals for it.

    • North of Boston says:

      Thank you Sparrow and others.

      I’m sure she’s a sweet dog, but it’s awful to see that breed celebrated given the health issues, and likely discomfort for the dog that come with the breed standard.

    • Janey says:

      That bulldog looks in better shape than a lot I see here (UK) whose faces are so squished. I wish we could celebrate accidentally mixed breeds, rescues, unknown heritage dogs like this. It would send such a positive message, instead of celebrating the status dogs. I’ve had two rescues and they have been the great joys of my life, both unknown mixes but so well behaved, happy and healthy, and just as worthy as these breed dogs.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Thank you for mentioning this, everyone. It makes me sad to think that future gens of bulldogs will have to suffer, just like how for years Dobermans had their ears cut or Jack Russells had their tailed docked…all to ‘look good’. Hopefully this will change in the future.

    • Cara says:

      I have had three rescued English Bulldogs (two of them are sitting on me as I type this) and two from reputable breeders and do a little volunteer work with a bulldog rescue. You are absolutely correct. My two from breeders were fortunately healthy and pretty athletic for their breed but my rescues have had a ton of issues. Too many backyard breeders who see the high prices and don’t realize how much of that money is supposed to go into the puppies and their parents.

      Also the breeder-owner of one of the top bulldogs in the country does rescue bulldogs. She saved one of mine!

    • MissMarirose says:

      And I read somewhere that a lot of them can’t give birth naturally because humans have bred their heads to be too large for their frame. So they have to give birth by c-section.

      • sparrow says:

        Exactly. C sections are going on more and more. The amount of money spent on c sectioning a dog is ludicrous and surely a sign that these animals have been taken beyond their capacity for a normal life. I also pity the long and lows, particularly bassets whose heavy bodies and spines are slung across a great distance and supported by little legs. They end up in huge amounts of back pain. You can tell one of my family is a vet nurse! The injuries and surgeries she sees for these pets is eye opening to say the least.

      • Cara says:

        There is nothing natural about bulldog breeding. I joke that it’s British engineering at its finest! The British decided to save the breed after bullbaiting was banned and came up with this look. You can even look at Uga from UGA through the years to see how the dogs have changed.

    • aang says:

      There are breeders who are trying to reverse the damage and breed for longer snouts and smaller heads. But sadly those won’t be the ones winning any medals, they will make healthier pets though. However adoption and rescue is best!

    • The Recluse says:

      If you look at old pictures of what the Bulldogs used to look like, you can see how much harm ‘breeding’ has done to them. And they aren’t the only breed that’s been messed up.

  2. SAS says:

    Star is gorgeous! As ever, truly entertaining how willing show dog owners are to share their weirdness- what college student “idolises” a show bulldog (Star’s father) that’s not even his own dog?!?!

    The Jennifer Coolidge White Lotus renaissance already had me lining up a rewatch of Best in Show and this nailed it.

  3. Prairiegirl says:

    Who’s a good dog? Who is? You are, Star! Good job!

  4. Josephine says:

    If you love dogs, please go to a shelter and adopt. We adopted an adult dog and they can be trained! It is work but adult dogs in shelters deserve a second chance and you’ll get so, so much out of it. Dog shows are fun but I fear that the focus on breed encourages people to buy puppies from breeders instead of adopt dogs who need homes already. And I agree with the others above about bulldogs – my friend has a bulldog and the poor thing can’t walk more than a few blocks.

    • Sam says:

      Yes! Adopt don’t shop! Do good in this world!

    • SAS says:

      100% !!!!! I treat dog show press the same way as Hecate apparently, amusement at its ridiculousness. But pet breeding truly has no ethical place in this world.

    • dynastysurf says:

      I have to disagree to an extent – adopt don’t shop is all well and good until you want a dog with specific characteristics. Whether that’s a working/hunting dog, an assistance dog, or just because you know that specific breed would fit well with your family and lifestyle. There are responsible breeders in this world. We found one for our Springer. Took a while, but they’re out there. Rescues can be just as problematic as breeders sometimes, and are becoming so overly selective in who they adopt dogs out to it’s almost impossible to get dogs from them in the first place – we were denied for so many dogs for such nitpicky reasons we gave up on trying to rescue (dog had experience with children ages 6 and 4, but not 5 for example – that’s how selective they were). Shelter, breeder, whatever you do – just do it responsibly.

      • North of Boston says:

        Agreed DS. I’ve known quite a few people who struggled to get a pet from shelters because of seemingly bizarre reasons – nitpicky arbitrary stuff. And the dogs available in shelters near me are almost always ones with hound, chihuahua or pit bull parentage – all breeds known for characteristics that would be a no-go for me. Sure , any one of them *might* happen to have a temperament that would have been a great fit, but I wasn’t willing to risk it given my family and housing situation.
        (I just looked at pet finder to see if that’s still the case … no chihuahuas this time, but the majority were pit mixes and hound mixes, with a few terriers and a frenchie thrown in – (I’d also guess they are all rescues from southern US shelters… that’s typically the case around these parts, which is a whole other bizarre aspect of dog breeding that has dozens of different causes, no one good solutions and some unsavory aspects in itself)

        I’ve always had rescues (one mutt, one Belgian shepherd and one golden – each one the best dog ever) but the next time I’m looking to get a dog, while I’ll certainly look at the local rescues, adoption places first, I’ll consider a responsible breeder if needed to get a dog whose needs and temperament is a good fit for the dog and for us.

    • The Recluse says:

      Keith Olbermann has a twitter account dedicated to saving dogs:

      And there is also a shelter that is shutting down and will murder all of the animals there if homes aren’t found immediately:

  5. samipup says:

    Bravo for that amazing post Hecate. Its beautiful, whimsical and so enjoyable to read. *honk* for more!
    Star you are a very good girl and yes, a *Star*. Siriusly!

  6. AnneL says:

    I love the post and the dog is adorable. I am sure the family love and dote on her.

    I am generally in favor of rescue for all of the reasons other posters have noted: the health problems pure breeds often have, the unethical behavior of many (though by no means all) breeders, the number of strays in shelters and on the streets who need homes.

    I also agree with dynastysurf that adopting from a breeder makes sense for many people and is sometimes the best way to get a family pet. And it’s also true that rescues have become overly selective in many cases when it comes to homing strays. The last time we considered getting a dog from a shelter/rescue, they interrogated me to the point that I felt like a criminal. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they helicoptered over my house to confirm the size of my back yard (it’s small, but it’s there).

    Anyway, congrats to Star!

  7. Eating Popcorn says:

    I’m not trying to troll but Roscoe Hamilton is the best Bull Dog ever, if you know, you know!

  8. K says:

    She’s gorgeous. ❤️