Razzle Dazzle the Champion Bulldog Will Compete in Westminster Kennel Club's Dog Show

razzle dazzleCourtesy Lorie Crain
razzle dazzle

Nobody knows stiff competition quite like Razzle Dazzle the bulldog.

The three-year-old pooch spends her days traveling from dog show to dog show, strutting her 50-pound, wrinkly, creased frame in front of judges who are forced to decide between her and the other more, well, elegant dogs.

Today, Razzle Dazzle, or "Uli" as her handler Phoebe Booth calls her, will face the judges again at Westminster Kennel Club's 134th Annual Dog Show in New York City.

"She's kind of the blue-collar dog in the non-sporting group," said Booth, who has led Razzle Dazzle in hundreds of dog shows and who will be with Razzle Dazzle at Madison Square Garden.

"Historically, the top winners in the group have been poodles and bichons or Lhasa apsos," she said, "The glamorous, more exotic-looking dogs."

Before Razzle Dazzle competes in the non-sporting group division, she first must beat out 17 other bulldogs to win best in breed, a title the champion bulldog has come to expect.

Razzle Dazzle is one of the top bulldogs in the nation.

"She's gotten to the point where she just assumes she wins all the time, and when she doesn't it can be a bit embarrassing when she pulls me over to the photographer stand and wants her picture taken," said Booth.

Razzle Dazzle's excitement is understandable. She is, after all, the most successful female bulldog of the past 30 years, and is not far from being the all-time record holder. The current champion boasts 38 best-in-show titles and Razzle Dazzle won her 27th earlier this month.

She completed 2009 as the No. 1 non-sporting dog in the country, and ranked as No. 11 for all dogs in the country, according to the statistics kept by the American Kennel Club.

But the coveted title of best in show at Westminster is a reach, and even Booth admits it.

"Best in show is always a dream, but realistically it would be quite an accomplishment when you think of her competition," said Booth. "Bulldogs are a tough breed to imagine going best in show but it's not impossible. Westminster is known for upsets."

Last year, the title of best in show went to Stump, a Sussex spaniel with a shiny brown coat and an energetic trot.

Will Razzle Dazzle Take Home Best in Show?

One of Razzle Dazzle's owners, Joan Fisher, told ABCNews.com that she, too, doesn't expect her prized pooch to win the competition's top award.

"She loves show business, but all the fancy dogs are in our category," said Fisher. "There are always those poodles that come out of the woodwork".

Booth said that Razzle Dazzle "thinks all dogs are her friends," and might not be as aware as others are about their difference in appearance.

"She doesn't seem to have much of an opinion on poodles but we feel that her success has been all the more remarkable because she does compete week in and week out with a lot of very fancy dogs," said Booth.

This is Razzle Dazzle's second appearance at Westminster.

Even if Razzle Dazzle doesn't win, Fisher is sure she'll get the crowd going. Bulldogs have been climbing steadily on the American Kennel Club's list of most popular breeds, in 2009 ranking at No. 7, two spots ahead of their competitor, the poodle.

"The audience loves the bulldog," she said, "She'll get the best applause."

David Frei, a spokesman for Westminster, said that he definitely understand why bulldogs tend to have a tougher time at shows.

"Bulldogs are not quite the same picture as a standard poodle," said Frei. "That's just one of the challenges of the non-sporting group. There is such a wide range of dog types. It's the group for the leftovers who sort of don't have a place in another group."

"But you're not judging the bulldog against the poodle, you're judging it against the perfect bulldog," he said.

"But yes, it can be tough when you see the poodle flying around and the bulldog rolling around the ring," said Frei.

Razzle Dazzle Has Average Life for a Pooch

When Razzle Dazzle isn't competing at dog shows, she lives a pretty average life for a canine at Booth's Redding, Conn., home. An average day consists of two cups of kibble and running in the yard with Booth's other dogs, a great way for Razzle Dazzle to stay in shape.

Razzle Dazzle has lived at Booth's home since she was just six months old -- and only 10 pounds lighter than she is now. It was there that she was trained to walk with her head up and to stand properly for judging.

Razzle Dazzle plays in the yard to stay in shape.

In the hours before she shows at Westminster, Razzle Dazzle will go through some grooming, although it won't be anywhere near as extensive of a process as some of her counterparts.

Booth says she will give Razzle Dazzle a medicated bath -- being sure to clean in between her wrinkles -- will trim her nails and whiskers and will comb some white baby powder through her coat to make sure she's "shiny" for the judges.

And, because it's known to get stuffy and hot inside Madison Square Garden, Booth will come with a cold pack to wrap around her neck to keep her cool.

"She's as close to a perfect bulldog that I've ever seen," said Booth, proudly.

Booth admits that she gets nervous before entering the ring, even though she's been doing this for more than 40 years.

To stay cool backstage, Razzle Dazzle wears an ice pack.

Razzle Dazzle, she says, does a better job of staying calm.

"She has no idea this is Westminster, or what Westminster is," said Booth. "All shows are big shows to her. To her, it's all fun and games."