York dog vies for 'Best in Show'

Jessica Schladebeck

A York County pup is one of the country's top dogs.

Sonnito, a Smooth Coat Chihuahua who lives with handler Erika Lanasa in Stewartstown, will be competing to win "Best in Show" in this year's National Dog Show Presented by Purina. The event, which airs on NBC right after Thanksgiving Day Parade garners more than 20 million viewers every year and hosts approximately 1,500 competing show dogs.

Sonnito the Chihuahua getting judged during the National Dog Show in Philadelphia

The blonde Chihuahua will be one of seven dogs competing for the show's top honor. A victory for Sonnito would mean instant celebrity status for the small dog and land him on the favorite list to win the Westminster show in New York City in February.

Sonnito, however is no stranger to the celebrity life. His facebook page is brimming with pictures of him sleeping, him boasting his medals and thank you messages to the nearly 1,500 people who have liked his page.

Sonnito has won 45 Best In Shows, over 150 group firsts, is a two-time National BOB winner and is the top winning Chihuahua of all time, and his win in the Toy Group — according the American Kennel Society, the group's main function is "to embody sheer delight"   at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia catapulted him into the big leagues, earning him his spot in the popular Thanksgiving Day show.

In order to nab the "Best in Show" title, a dog must first be recognized as the best of its breed-- some breeds have more than 100 dogs entered-- and the winner moves on to group judging. A judge will then examine the dogs and place them based on how closely the dog represents the judge's mental image of the perfect dog as described in the breed's official standard; primary considerations include overall appearance, temperament and structure.

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com.