Antrim pair to compete in Westminster Dog Show

  • Theresa Kucinos, of Antrim, gets a kiss from King after winning a Best in Show title in October. (Courtesy Photo/Spencer Morgan Blake)

  • Theresa Kuchinos and King, of Antrim, compete in the 2016 Westminster Dog Show. Photo by Steve Kreuser

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, February 13, 2017 9:28PM

In 2011, his mother won a Best in Show in Canada. In 2013, his father won Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club.

His full name is UKC BIMBS CH RO1 AKC BIS MBISOH GCHB Fishercreeks Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh RN CD CGCA THD, but they call him King, for short.

Today, around 12:45 p.m., he’ll be led, by leash, to ring six at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. There, he’ll compete against 30 other flat-coated retrivers with equally distinguished records, equally impressive pedigrees and likely, even longer names. If King is picked as best of his breed, then he’ll be on television (Fox Sports One), competing against other dogs for the coveted Best in Show title.

But King’s handler and owner, Theresa Kuchinos of Antrim, is playing it cool.

“It’s just another year, another chance and another try to win,” Kuchinos said.

Last year, at his first Westminster Dog Show, King “showed perfectly,” said Kuchinos, 23. To compete for Best in Show, dog owners must submit an entry form, including proof of their dog’s championships, and win a lottery.

“But he didn’t get any love from the judge,” Kuchinos said. “So we’re hoping this year that will be a little different.”

Whatever happens, King is already a champion in several local fans’ eyes. The THD in his name means King is a licensed therapy dog.

“King is very loving, he has a huge heart,” Kuchinos said.

Theresa, and her mother Jill, said flat-coated retrievers are called the “hidden gem” of the dog world for their “happy-go-lucky” personalities.

“He’s really very much a natural at (therapy work),” said Jill, who takes King to local assisted living facilities.

Jill recalls one tale when she and King visited a local memory care ward.

Jill brought King over to a woman.

“Do you like dogs?” Jill asked.

The woman nodded her head, and King scooted right in close and the woman patted him on the head.

“Name?” the woman asked.

Jill told the woman King’s name and all about his breed.

“How old?” the woman asked.

Just as Jill told her, one of the aides came running over and asked: “Is she talking to you?”

Jill said she was.

“Cause she hasn’t spoken in six months,” the aide said.

King’s unique temperament has earned him companion dog certifications and several Best in Show titles, including a fourth owner-handled Best in Show title last year.

King seems suited to compete for a Westminster title, but the Kuchinos says anything can happen.

“Part of having this happy-go-lucky breed is that they love to play little tricks and jokes on you, and sometimes they do it in the dog show ring,” Kuchinos said. “A judge who understands the breed finds it endearing, because that is part of their breed.”