NEW YORK -- A petit basset griffon Vendeen named for the late Buddy Holly won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show Tuesday night, a first for his rare rabbit-hunting breed.
Buddy Holly bested six other finalists to garner the most prestigious dog show award in the United States. PBGVs, as they're known for short, are the 154th most prevalent purebreds in the country, according to recent American Kennel Club rankings.
Buddy Holly's big U.S. win comes after impressive showings in three other countries.
About 2,500 dogs of 210 breeds and varieties vied for the trophy. Hundreds more competed in agility, obedience and other events.
If Buddy Holly was feeling the pressure, he wasn't letting it show. Instead, he seemed more concerned late Tuesday afternoon with playing with his people and rejecting the notion of a nap in his crate.
"He just screams PBGV," handler and co-owner Janice Hayes said. "They're just very independent but very charming and just silly. Their goal is to make you laugh every day."
Originally from France, the small hounds were traditionally rabbit-hunters.
Buddy Holly -- so named because "he's a buddy," breeder Gavin Robertson explained -- has also lived and competed in his native United Kingdom and in Ireland and Australia.
Each Westminster finalist first has bested other dogs of its breed, and then of its "group," such as toy dogs or hounds. Among the breeds up for semifinal group judging Tuesday night was the newly eligible bracco Italiano, won by a dog co-owned by country artist Tim McGraw.
Besides the chosen finalists, there were other fan favorites, too.
There was the bloodhound that bowed deeply before a judge, the golden retriever cheered by the breed's many fans, and the spunky German shorthaired pointer that did a few leaps before its lap around the ring.
Spectators applauded 10-year-old handler Audra Maes and her shiba inu and handler Alexandria Mitchell and her Ibizan hound. They made the judge's first cut, an accomplishment at a show where many exhibitors handle other people's dogs as a career.
The Westminster show, held this year at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, also includes obedience and agility competitions that are open to mixed-breed dogs.
Information for this article was contributed by Anna Furman of The Associated Press.