Greatest American Dog
Credit: Eric McCandless

I had a sneaking suspicion that Boxer Presley was gonna take this title when Laura, owner of Pomeranian Preston, invited me to the finale party she was co-hosting with Presley’s owner, Travis. I’m in NYC, and the party was in LA, or you would so be reading about that right now…

So we all knew that JD was gonna finish third after his interview with the judges. Saying you didn’t learn a thing at Canine Academy — just observed the other owners’ problems — is not the kind of answer you give. Ever. (And if English Border Collie Galaxy’s bathing habits, or lack thereof, was such a problem that Wendy Diamond called JD out on it, why hadn’t we heard of it before?)

Laurie handled herself beautifully in her Final Three interview. She stuck to her talking points: JD intimidates Galaxy; Travis and Presley are newlyweds. And she was honest when she said that this competition isn’t for her Maltese Andrew, it’s for her. He just wants to be a dog and indulges her. I’ll admit that I rewound twice to watch Wendy’s dog Lucky chase almost social Andrew around the Best in Show Arena, because nothing is funnier to me than Andrew hauling ass. Also because I can’t believe Lucky finally got off Wendy’s lap and did something. (KIDDING.)

After Travis nailed his interview (he’s all about the learning and the bonding), judge Victoria Stilwell proved how smart Presley really is when she got him to do the leave-the-food-on-your-paw-trick. (I’d pay to see her try that with Tillman — I was happiest to see his return last night. You?) JD officially got the boot, and please, tell me he didn’t realize how offensive it would look when he raised Galaxy’s hind legs and applauded with them? Showing your dog’s butt to the judges is not pageant protocol.

addCredit(“Eric McCandless”)

The final portion of the competition consisted of one serious obstacle course and yet another interview. Presley killed the course, until it came time to RETRIEVE HIS TOY FROM UNDER AN ELEPHANT. Travis finally had to lead Presley under the elephant himself, which is worth the $250,000 grand prize right there. Andrew had a tougher time on the course, but I can’t blame him. He had farther to fall than Presley. (Were my small dog walking a tilting beam, I, too, would be standing close enough to catch him, so I don’t blame Laurie for her smothering mothering either.*) Fearless little Andrew had no problem running under the elephant — twice — so he redeemed himself.

In the end, either Andrew or Presley would have worn the Greatest American Dog title well, but I agree with the judges’ decision to crown young Presley. He’s well-trained but relatable. You feel like your dog could be as good of a boy as Poopers. And you still feel like he’s a dog — playful, imperfect, independent but loyal.

Do you agree with the judges?

*She DOES, however, need to acknowledge that Andrew’s attachment to her isn’t 100 percent healthy.

Greatest American Dog
  • TV Show