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Hinesville dog wins Best of Breed at Westminster Dog Show
Kimberly Johnson of Hinesville holds Remi during a break in the action at the Westminster Dog Show last week. The miniature American shepherd won Best of Breed. - photo by Photo provided.

Remi’s awards

• AKC Bronze Champion
• AKC Grand Champion
• First AKC Champion in Breed History (7/4/2015)
• AKC No. 2 MAS Breed Points 2015
• AKC No. 4 All Breed Points 2015
• MISC BIS Winner 2013 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship
• Best of Breed Winner 2013 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship
• MASCUSA Grand Champion
• MASCUSA Champion
• AKC Certificate of Merit (6)
• MASCUSA Top Ten 2014 (No. 3, 47 AKC points)
• MASCUSA Top Ten 2013 (No. 8, 35 AKC points)

A local show dog brought some notoriety to Hinesville by winning the Best of Breed Competition at the 2016 Westminster Dog Show held in Madison Square Garden in New York.

Bronze Grand Champion Dynasty’s Triple Crown, whose call name is Remi, won Best in Breed in the Miniature American Shepherd class.
And according to owner Kimberly Johnson, Remi also made the final cut of nine dogs in the herding group.

Johnson said Remi has been competing for a long time, but the miniature American shepherd is a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club in July.

“So this was the first year our breed was invited to attend Westminster,” Johnson said, noting that Remi is the first AKC champion in the breed and now the first of the breed to win at Westminster.

Johnson said it was an amazing experience, considering that her career in training and showing dogs first stemmed from the need to face her fears.

“It was a fluke. I used to be deathly afraid of dogs,” she said. “I couldn’t even walk on the same side of the street as a dog.”

But Johnson said her daughter wanted a dog, so they got one, and that prompted her to get involved with a rescue group.

“I used to do rescues for Australian shepherds, and I had a friend who was a trainer out in Springfield,” she said. “She had a training facility, and she raised miniature Aussies. But our breed named changed when we went into AKC. She had one little red puppy who really misbehaved, and she used to come home with me on the weekends. Her name was Xena, and she was Remi’s grandmother, and she just turned out to be such a nice dog.”

Johnson said her husband, Jay Johnson, loved Xena, and the dog ended up staying with the couple.

“I started showing her, and I got her title,” Johnson said. “We bred her, and she produced phenomenal dogs. Her son Ref is now a service dog and was a big show dog. He was a No. 1 dog for several years, and Ref is Remi’s father.”

Remi was born in Hinesville.

“It kind of evolved,” she said. “This is my third generation of show dogs, and Remi just exceeded everybody’s expectations. Xena is 9 now, so I’ve been doing this eight years.

Remi has a professional handler, Arvind DeBraganca.

“Because we knew he could go much further than we could take him,” Johnson explained. “He has a professional handler who he lives with the majority of the time. He comes home for visits.”

Remi is 3½ now and has worked with the handler for seven months.

Remi’s awards include the AKC Bronze Grand Champion, AKC Grand Champion, first AKC Champion in Breed history, AKC No. 2 MAS Breed Points in 2015 and AKC No. 4 All-Breed Points in 2015 to name a few. But Johnson said winning in New York was a step above the rest.

“This is the Super Bowl of dog shows. … He got to be backstage, and he met lots of celebrities. He did lots of interviews, and I think he is going to be in Time magazine,” Johnson said, noting that Remi was already featured on “Good Morning America.” “He has gotten a lot of press. It’s amazing.”

Johnson said she got to be with Remi in New York and managed to mark something off her wish list of things to do and see.

“I am a huge Knicks fan, so the fact that I got to go to Madison Square Garden and I was backstage and got to see all the inner workings of it. That was a treat all by itself,” she said.

She said winning a show of Westminster’s magnitude brings a lot more prestige to her breed and to Remi.

“You get beautiful ribbons, an engraved medallion and a monetary prize,” she said, adding that there are a variety of categories and win offerings. “The dog that wins the whole show gets contracts to do commercials and things like that. The publicity from being in the group is worth … it makes Remi much more valuable as a stud dog, and his puppies much more valuable too.”

She said she hopes that one day, Remi will bring home Best in Show. Right now Remi is on his way to another show in Tallahassee, Florida.

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