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Still barking, Belleville native Uno remains most popular Westminster pooch

Uno visits the BND in 2008

After he won Best of Show at the Westminster Kennel Club show, Uno on May 6, 2008, came home to Belleville to see his mom. He also came to the Belleville News-Democrat and was mobbed like a rock star (or cute pup).
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After he won Best of Show at the Westminster Kennel Club show, Uno on May 6, 2008, came home to Belleville to see his mom. He also came to the Belleville News-Democrat and was mobbed like a rock star (or cute pup).

After all these years, Uno is still No. 1.

More than 2,700 dogs entered in the Westminster Kennel Club show and C.J., a 3-year-old male German shorthaired pointer, was picked as the nation’s top pooch.

His owner can only hope he becomes another Uno, who was born in Belleville.

Uno barked and bayed his way to best in show at Madison Square Garden in 2008. To this day, the beagle remains the most popular dog in Westminster history.

Almost 11, Uno was back at the Garden on Monday night to take a bow.

He’s an international celebrity. Everywhere we go, he’s recognized.

Handler Tristan Huebner

“Like they said, he’s America’s dog,” handler Tristan Huebner said. “Everyone loves him.”

“He’s an international celebrity. Everywhere we go, he’s recognized,” Huebner added.

The brown on Uno’s face has turned mostly white, his black side panels have faded. But he’s in great health and still barks up a storm, as he did over the weekend during a trip to Rockefeller Center.

“I never get tired of his famous howl. It was the howl heard around the world,” Huebner said.

Related story: Another metro-east dog’s journey to Westminster

Uno was in town to film an ad for the summer movie “The Secret Life of Pets,” an animated comedy featuring the voices of Kevin Hart, Lake Bell and Dana Carvey. Wagging his tail a mile a minute, Uno came with the red, white and blue leash that President George W. Bush gave him as the first Westminster winner to visit the White House.

No beagle had won the Westminster show until Uno, and he drew a standing ovation from a packed Garden crowd the night when Aaron Wilkerson guided him around the ring.

“He was an everyday dog that people could relate to,” longtime Westminster television host David Frei said.

Uno lives on a 200-plus acre ranch with owner Caroline Dowell in San Leanna, Texas, near Austin. He plays outdoors with a neighbor’s potbellied pig and romps around the house with other beagles.

I never get tired of his famous howl. It was the howl heard around the world.

Handler Tristan Huebner

“He’s a perfect lap dog,” Huebner said.

Uno got a ride to New York with Dan Huebner, Tristan’s dad and the manager of Dowell’s ranch — “1,754 miles, about that,” he said. Uno originally was going to fly aboard Purina’s plane and when that didn’t quite work out, Ann Viklund of Nestle Purina PetCare and their team helped arrange his stay.

Last year, Miss P became the second beagle to win Westminster.

But Uno was first. He may always be.

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