Owner of Westminster's winning dog to see cash back

Puppies of the three-year-old male will bring in thousands of dollars each, and endorsements could bring in even more. But getting the poised sporting dog to the winning circle wasn't cheap.

Feb 17, 2016 @ 2:08 pm

By Liz Skinner

Handler Valerie Nunes-Atkinson embraces German shorthaired pointer C.J. after he won
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Handler Valerie Nunes-Atkinson embraces German shorthaired pointer C.J. after he won "Best in Show." (Getty Images)

The owners of German shorthaired pointer California Journey, winner of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night, can expect to cash in on their investment in the coming years.

Puppies of the three-year-old male will bring up to tens of thousands of dollars each, and endorsements could bring in even more.

Of course, getting the poised sporting dog to the winning circle wasn't cheap. Show puppies, which typically come from champion sires or dams, require more than your average puppy food and veterinarian visits. They require expensive training, handling, travelling for shows, insurance and, in many cases, pricey ongoing grooming services. It probably costs the owners of the dogs that end up in the ring at Westminster at least $50,000 to get there, experts said.

What was the key differentiator for California Journey, known as C.J.?

“He has that extra sparkle,” C.J.'s owner, breeder and handler, Valerie Nunes-Atkinson, told the Associated Press. “He's an old soul.”

She could not be reached for comment today.

The famous Westminster dog show, which is sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, helps drive up demand for the purebreds that participate in the annual show, which took place for the 140th time in New York City on Tuesday.

Southwest Auction Service in Wheaton, Mo., is the nation's largest legal dog auction. It has sold many dogs for more than $5,000 and its top sale was $12,600 for a female English bulldog that was an AKC champion, according to owner Bob Hughes.

His biggest single auction grossed more than $514,000.

He hasn't sold puppies from a Westminster winner, as he mostly sells dogs to breeders that sell pets as opposed to show dogs.

(More: Richest dogs are living the good life)

He estimates a puppy descended from a Westminster winner could fetch $25,000 for an in-demand breed like a French Bull Dog and about $8,000 to $10,000 for a toy poodle, he said.

Owners of Westminster winners also can recoup some of the $50,000 or so they spend to get a dog to the top show level through selling advertising rights to pet food and other companies, Mr. Hughes said.

“There's recourse for recouping some of your show expenses with suppliers of the pet industry,” he said. “But most of the people who show their dogs are wealthy and do it as more of a passion than an income source.”

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