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Prized Twin Cities bulldog is bound for Westminster
PAUL WALSH, Star Tribune

A nationally ranked English bulldog from the Twin Cities is being chauffeured to New York City for next week's famed Westminster Dog Show.

Huey, who was bred and is shown by Stan and Jane Flowers of Buffalo, Minn., landed the invitation because he has scored among the top five in his breed nationally, based on earlier show successes.

Jane Flowers said she believes that Huey "has a good chance" to defeat the rivals within his breed and make it to "Best in Show," Westminster's equivalent of the Super Bowl.

"Huey is a great show dog, a very worthy specimen of the breed," she said. "Bulldogs are very intelligent but a little bit stubborn. They are more agile than people think they are."

Above all, Jane Flowers said, she appreciates not having to doll up Huey too much before entering the show ring. "English Bulldogs are definitely not foo-foo dogs," she said.

While the competitors might not understand what's at stake, "They love the show life, they love showing off," she said. "They love all the attention they get from us and from the spectators. And when they go home, they are kind of bored."

Huey's owner is Charlotte Roberts. She welcomed him into her Lakeville home when he was about six months old.

Roberts, who is taking the train to New York with three other women who are active in showing dogs, is proud to say that Huey is known nationally "as the bulldog that rolls over." He gained that acclaim for his penchant to leave his all-fours and point his belly skyward whenever there's an opportunity for a belly scratch. That includes when he's competing, which has Roberts a bit worried about how things will go at Westminster.

Roberts said Westminster is Huey's final show. In retirement, she said. he'll be trained as a "therapy dog" and visit nursing homes and hospices to cheer up people. "He's very good at that," she said. "When you show him, you can see that he likes people so much, particularly children."

The registered name for Huey, a 58-pound three-year-old, is Champion Evergreen's Hustle Muscle. Huey is considered his call name (his sole litter mate was named Louie). His great-grandfather, Ronald, also competed at Westminster in 1988.

The Flowerses, who are veterans of Westminster, are taking Huey and two other entrants that it handles to the show in a minivan. Another dog they handle will be in the show as well and will meet them in Manhattan for the show, which is staged at Madison Square Garden on Monday and Tuesday. The USA Network will telecast the competition nationally.

Stan and Jane Flowers have been handling dogs professionally together since 1982. They run their operation from their home and private kennel named Evergreen, on 18 acres in Buffalo. Each year they attend about 130 shows with various breeds.

Their best result at Westminster came in the early to mid-1990s when a female French bulldog they showed for a Minneapolis family won best breed three times.

Paul Walsh 612-673-4482