How a Literal Underdog, Trumpet the Bloodhound, Won the 146th Westminster Best in Show Dog

westminster best in show trumpet

Last night, Trumpet the Bloodhound took home the Best in Show title at the 146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show presented by Purina ProPlan. This is a big deal, people! Not only is Trumpet the first Bloodhound to win Best in Show in Westminster history, but he’s also very new to the dog show scene. Yet, he was able to win over Judge Dr. Don Sturz to earn his history-making Best in Show title.

What we know about Trumpet

Trumpet is a 4.5-year-old hound dog with impressive jowls and the floppy folds you’d expect to find on a seasoned Bloodhound. Alongside his breeders and co-owners, Chris and Bryan Flessner, Tina Kocar and Heather Buehner, Trumpet traveled all the way to the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York, from St. Joseph, Illinois. Trumpet’s full name (all show dogs have odd and lengthy names often reflecting their breeders and lineage) is GCHB CH Flessner’s Toot My Own Horn. So, you can see why Trumpet is a great nickname.

Buehner, who was also Trumpet’s handler in the ring, told the New York Times, “There were seven beautiful dogs in that ring. You know, I feel like sometimes a Bloodhound might be a little bit of an underdog. So, I was absolutely thrilled.” We’re right there with you, Heather!

Fun fact: Trumpet’s great-grandfather, Tigger, holds the Guinness World Record for longest dog ears! Tigger was also bred by the Flessners in Illinois, and passed away in 2009.

Beating the competition

Remarkably, Trumpet only began competing in dog shows in January 2022. Out of more than 3,000 canines who entered into Westminster this year, he and six other group winners competed for the top dog title. While the audience seemed to favor Striker the Samoyed, it was Winston the French Bulldog who took home Best in Show Reserve, essentially second place. This is crazy cool because a Frenchie has never made it this far before! Last year a French Bulldog won Best of Group (they are Non-Sporting pups). Could 2023 be their year?

The other dogs competing against Trumpet were River the German Shepherd, Belle the English Setter, MM the Lakeland Terrier and Hollywood the Maltese. 

All about Bloodhounds

Bloodhounds like Trumpet are hound dogs through and through. They are big—sometimes reaching up to 27 inches tall and 110 pounds—and very vocal. An affectionate breed, they can be almost shy sometimes, though proud and willing to do any work (or play) asked of them.

Despite their lumbering appearance, Bloodhounds are active and playful dogs who need lots of exercise and attention. Owning a Bloodhound means interactive games for sure. As hunters, they bond with their people, happily communicating and learning new commands (as long as you teach them early). However, their noses tend to rule their behavior. If they get a whiff of something intriguing, they’ll follow it.

Be ready for lots of drool if you adopt a Bloodhound! It’s also necessary to help them groom themselves on a daily basis. Dirt can get trapped between their folds and you’ve got to make sure they’re clean and free of snarls. 

The origins of Bloodhounds can be traced back about 1,000 years. The Bloodhound Club of America says a 7th-century monk in France began breeding these types of dogs for hunting purposes. Bloodhounds have been used to sniff out prey during hunting trips and to help law enforcement track evidence and missing people.

Congratulations, Trumpet! Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go find a Bloodhound to hang out with.

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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...