Halle Hadel ’25 and her dog, Eve, bring home Award of Merit from Westminster dog show

Halle Hadel ’25 of Ripon, Wisconsin, and her Siberian husky, Eve, received an Award of Merit earlier in May at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.

The Westminster Kennel Club, established in 1877, is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of dogs. In its annual nationally televised dog show, about 3,000 dogs from 210 breeds are judged against other dogs of their breed based on American Kennel Club breed standards. Competitors came from across the U.S. and around the world.

Because this is one of the more prestigious dog shows, many of the dogs are trained and shown by professionals and not necessarily the owners. Because Hadel has raised, trained and shown her own dog, winning the Award of Merit was especially sweet.

“I cried,” she says. “It was really cool. As an owner-handler and having worked with my dog on my own, it was amazing to experience that kind of honor.”

Out of 22 entries in the Siberian husky category, only seven awards were presented.

Hadel’s grandparents raised huskies in a breeding program, so Hadel has been working with the breed since she was a child. “I love them; they have such big personalities,” she says. “It’s fun watching them grow up. They’re a lot like toddlers. They want to do what they want to do, and if you don’t want to do it that’s your problem!”

She says huskies are working dogs, bred to run and be sled dogs. She says judging is based on how well the dog’s form would fit that purpose, how they move their body, and how attentive and responsive they are to their handler.

“I hope Eve knows she did really well,” Hadel says. “She gives her all at a dog show and you can tell she loves it. We get to spend a lot of time together.”

Eve has achieved her American Kennel Club champion and grand champion levels, and is working toward the bronze level of achievement in her grand championship.

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