Slingerlands’ Gedeon is king of Vizslas

The dog star has risen in Slingerlands. And his name is Gedeon.

The dog star has risen in Slingerlands. And his name is Gedeon.

The high-energy, rust-colored Vizsla — owned by Natalie Russo of Slingerlands — was named best of breed Tuesday at the Westminster Kennel Club’s 134th annual dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The win gave Gedeon a ticket into Westminster’s nationally televised best of show segment Tuesday night, but the 4-year-old did not place in that part of the competition.

A breed victory, against 31 other Vizslas, was enough for Russo and Gedeon’s breeder and trainer, Judy Saddlemire of Glenville.

“Gedeon performed beautifully,” Saddlemire said Wednesday afternoon after returning home from New York City. “He had a lot of elegance and animation. He was a happy dog in the ring and he went in the ring asking for the win. That’s something a judge looks for, the animation of the dog, that he’s a happy performer and he’s moving correctly.”

Gedeon passed all the tests, such as confirmation of body type and gait. He was shown by Alessandra Folz of Woodstock, Conn., and received the top award after the breed competition’s second and final examination.

“We were sitting in the bleachers,” Saddlemire said of Team Gedeon, which included Russo, co-breeder Barry Golob of Maryland and friends Vicki Crowder of Delmar and Betty McGarry of Niskayuna. “We did not want Gedeon to see us or get our scent. When he walked into the ring, his head was going from one side to another, it almost looked like he was sizing up his competition. He was just as proud a Vizsla as you could ever possibly look at.”

Saddlemire admitted she and Gedeon’s friends all felt anxious as their pal went through the competition, made the first cut and finally was named champion.

“When he went up for best of breed, all I could hear and all I was doing was screaming and clapping and cheering,” Saddlemire said.

The victory brought Gedeon’s connections a purple and gold rosette ribbon and an engraved medallion. Russo said her star pet and performer was happy to be home, and back running through the snow in Saddlemire’s spacious backyard.

“I don’t want to say I was surprised,” Russo said. “I knew he had that potential. It was just so exciting to see him receive the acknowledgement that he is as wonderful a Vizsla as we think and know he is.”

Any Westminster win is a big deal.

“This is a huge victory for this dog,” Saddlemire said. “To win best of breed at a high-profile show like this is just enormous. This dog has been out now for less than a year with very minimal showing and he has been ranking in the top 10 Vizslas through 2009.”

Gedeon received new toys and some extra snack treats for an achievement to howl over. Russo said her dog already lives the good life and will not receive any royal recognition at home. There will be no crown, no “King Gedeon.”

“When he’s not in shows he lives with his cousin Chip and he has to be around the rest of us,” Russo said. “We like to have a regular, every day dog who likes to have fun outside like a regular dog.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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