Meet Sage, winner of the 2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

For a last hurrah, it was a Sage decision.

Who won Westminster dog show 2024?

A miniature poodle named Sage won the top prize Tuesday night at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, in what veteran handler Kaz Hosaka said would be his final time at the United States' most prestigious canine event. After 45 years of competing and two best in show dogs, he plans to retire.

Sage competes in the 148th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. (Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images for Westminster Kennel Club)

Sage notched the 11th triumph for poodles of various sizes at Westminster; only wire fox terriers have won more. The last miniature poodle to take the trophy was Spice, with Hosaka, in 2002.

Meet the Westminster winner

Sage bested six other finalists to take best in show. Second went to Mercedes, a German shepherd whose handler, Kent Boyles, also has shepherded a best in show winner before.

Others in the final round included Comet, a shih tzu who won the big American Kennel Club National Championship last year; Monty, a giant schnauzer who arrived at Westminster as the nation’s top-ranked dog and was a Westminster finalist last year; Louis, an Afghan hound; Micah, a black cocker spaniel; and Frankie, a colored bull terrier.

In an event where all competitors are champions in dog showing's point system, winning can depend on subtleties and a standout turn at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Dogs first compete against others of their breed. Then the winner of each breed goes up against others in its "group." The seven group winners meet in the final round.

The best in show winner gets a trophy and a place in dog-world history, but no cash prize.

The Westminster show, which dates to 1877, centers on the traditional purebred judging that leads to the best in show prize. But over the last decade, the club has added agility and obedience events open to mixed-breed dogs.

JENNIFER PELTZ, with the Associated Press wire services, helped contribute to this report.