The 3-year-old dog, whose official name is GCH CH Nobel’s Fierce Warrior V Jamelles, will compete in Tuesday evening’s working dog group competition against 20 to 30 dogs at Westminster. The winner of each group will then compete for Best of Show.
Joel’s co-owners are Doug and Nicole Tucker of Fresno and Michele Mulligan of Diamond Bar, who is showing Joel at Westminster while the Tuckers watch.
“Watching him in the ring and watching him be chosen – it was a pretty amazing feeling to win both the national competition (2016 St. Bernard Club of America National Specialty Show) and Westminster (Best of Breed),” Nicole Tucker said. “It’s a big accomplishment for him.”
Joel spent about 10 minutes in the ring competing for Best of Breed against four other St. Bernards. After his win, he spent several hours being photographed with adoring fans. He will compete at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday evening after his owners head back to the hotel for a little rest and food.
And how did he get his nickname? The Tuckers had hoped to rename him The Piano Man, after musician Billy Joel, but by the time they learned they couldn’t, Joel already had stuck.
Plus, Doug says, “he just seems like a Joel.”
Joel is among more than 3,000 dogs at Westminster. The Tuckers had expected his East Coast brother to be among his Westminster competitors, but the dog was not entered into the competition. The dogs will be judged against a standard, which defines ideal proportions and temperament. Among them is that St. Bernards should display an “intelligent expression” – a look Doug says comes naturally for Joel.
Watch Joel at Westminster
Joel will compete for the working dog championship starting at 5 p.m. PST Tuesday. The competitions will be broadcast live. Program information is available online at westminsterkennelclub.org/plan-your-visit/tv-schedule/