Burgettstown schnauzer will compete at Westminster Dog Show

February 7, 2014
Image description
Photo courtesy of JoAnn Edmonds
JoAnn Edmonds of Burgettstown, and her 5-year-old giant schnauzer, Legend, run along the beach at Lake Erie. Legend will be competing in the Westminster Dog Show next week.
Image description
Photo courtesy of JoAnn Edmonds
Clifford Steele, a professional dog handler in Carmel, N.Y., is preparing Legend, a 5-year-old giant schnauzer, for the Westminster Dog Show next week.

Legend’s owners are glad they didn’t name him Ernie. With numerous national titles under his belt – er, collar – Legend is a dog that lives up to his name.

At the height of his career, the 5-year-old giant schnauzer is invited to participate in the Olympics of dog shows. Legend will be one of a couple thousand dogs competing in the Westminster Dog Show in New York next week.

“Legend is our boy, and we’re very proud of him,” said JoAnn Edmonds.

Legend is co-owned by JoAnn and Luke Edmonds, of Burgettstown, and Marcia Adler, of Delray Beach, Fla. The Edmonds are Legend’s primary owners, and he stays with them year-round except when he’s away with a handler. Adler, a friend of Edmondses, judges giant schnauzers and backs Legend so he can continue to compete.

“I’m very fortunate that Marcia (Adler) agreed and felt as strongly about Legend as I did – that he’s very special,” Edmonds said.

The Edmondses own Burgettstown Canine College, a dog training and boarding facility, and also have four giant schnauzers and a Yorkshire terrier of their own.

Edmonds, an owner-handler, said she has been showing her schnauzers in championships for 14 years, but this is the first year one of her dogs will compete at Westminster. The prestigious show, held for more than 100 years, judges dogs on how they conform to their breed type.

Legend was invited because he placed Best of Breed in his national specialty show, and he is also the No. 1 male giant schnauzer in the country. And that’s just a section of his impressive resume.

At the Schnauzapalooza show, Legend won Best in Show all three days of the event. “He beat every giant that was at the specialty,” Edmonds said. “It’s a big deal to win your national specialty. It’s a really big deal to win all three days in a row.”

Joan Anselm, 2013 national specialty judge of Schnauzapalooza, said in her judge comments that Legend was “… shown to perfection, in perfect weight and condition.”

“My congratulations to everyone involved in the production of this fine, handsome stallion of a dog,” Anselm wrote. “He is a gift to the breed.”

Edmonds said she and her husband buy only cars that can seat all their dogs, and they often tag along for vacations to the beach. Although Legend holds many titles, he is still a pet and knows when to behave and when to have fun.

“He’s perfectly happy to be here and jump around on you and lie on the couch and wrestle,” Edmonds said, “and then he knows the difference when you put on the leash and he has to go in the ring and behave. But he’s a good boy. He’s very sweet.”

While Legend is normally well-behaved, Edmonds said he can also be a handful. They had to make the four-foot fence around their house two feet higher because Legend would jump over it and swim in the pond. Edmonds described Legend as both an escape artist and counter surfer.

“He loves to eat,” she said.

Edmonds hasn’t seen Legend since August because he has been staying in New York with his handler, Clifford Steele, who is grooming Legend for the Westminster show.

Last year, the Westminster Best in Show trophy went to “Banana Joe,” an affenpinscher. The Westminster groups and best in show categories will be televised 8 p.m. Monday on CNBC and 8 p.m. Tuesday on USA Network.

Edmonds said she is thrilled that Legend will have the opportunity to compete.

“It’s very exciting,” Edmonds said. “If you’re showing dogs, it’s on your bucket list … I can check it off.”

Emily Petsko joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in June 2013. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and global cultural studies.

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