BURRILLVILLE – Running through tunnels and between poles with precision, and leaping hurdles with a speed shown only by the top show dogs in the world, a Shetland Sheepdog from Pascoag took home a first place win this week from the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
John Nys and dog Boss were competitors in the Masters Agility Champions in the 16-inch division, completing the obstacle course with a time of 31.78, more than three seconds faster than the second place finisher.
It is not the first time this good dog from Burrillville has impressed show judges. Boss has been a finalist in multiple American Kennel Club agility championships, and was an AKC/FCI World Team member in 2018 and 2019, taking home a silver medal in 2019. The dog was a finalist in the European Open in 2018 and 2019, and was named a Grand Prix Champion at the United States Dog Agility Association New England Regional in 2016, and National World Agility Championship in 2017.
“He’s taken me around the world and he’s the best dog ever,” handler Nys told an interviewer following Boss’s performance on Saturday, June 12.
Nys, a Pascoag resident, is the owner of Agility Rush K-9 Performance Center in Uxbridge, Mass., and has placed in dog show competitions with four different canine partners.
One of oldest continuously held sporting events in the country, second only to the Kentucky Derby, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has been held annually in New York City since 1877, only moving to Tarrytown, NY in 2021 so it could be held outdoors.
The competition was broadcast on Fox Sports, with hosts taking note of Nys’s handling style and use of verbal commands.
“You’re going to see John and you’re going to hear John,” said anchor Chris Myers. “He gives everything. Nothing is left on that course. He gives his heart, his soul. He makes sure Boss knows where they’re going every time.”
Nys could be heard shouting commands as Boss sped through the course.
“They were in tune the entire run,” noted Myers. “That is just a happy handler and a happy dog.”
“Communication with verbal and body language is helping me on the course a lot,” Nys said following the winning run.
View the full performance below.