WHO: Buddy Holly, a petit basset griffon Vendéen named after the pride of Lubbock.
WHAT: A historic performance at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: Buddy Holly is one of the true icons of rock and roll, a kid from Lubbock who changed music history forever in a career that lasted less than three years. His namesake, the petit basset griffon Vendéen Buddy Holly, changed dog history this week by becoming the first of his obscure breed to win Westminster. Let’s celebrate them both!
Buddy Holly the dog is not a Texan (he’s from Palm Springs), but we won’t hold that against him. His breed is not very well-known in the U.S., making him the sort of underdog (er, no pun intended) that Texans can get behind. According to the American Kennel Club, the petit basset griffon Vendéen (PBGV, for short, which sounds like a sandwich) is the 154th most popular breed in the country. They’re hunting dogs, which makes them a little bit Texan, even if they’re more likely to take down a rabbit than a deer, since the li’l guys tend to stand just over a foot tall. They’re cute, as all dogs are, with shaggy coats, scrunchy faces, and a dignity that belies their diminutive stature.
Buddy Holly’s success at Westminster was hardly a foregone conclusion. Had you told a PBGV enthusiast last week that one of the breed would win Westminster, you may well have been met with a “That’ll be the day.” Buddy Holly’s handler, Janice Hayes, expressed disbelief after the event, telling reporters, “I never thought a PBGV would do this.” But supporters of the breed have long sought to gain more recognition, even as the canine’s quirks—thick fur that can resemble a goat’s, a high energy level, fierce intelligence, and an independent spirit—can make them more of a niche breed than one that fits into every dog owner’s lifestyle.
“It’s a small breed and we like it for that because they’re not for everyone,” Hayes told the New York Times as Buddy Holly munched on a flower. “We spent a long time getting this breed noticed, and it’s fantastic to put them on the map.”
Buddy Holly’s charm, and his competitive success, means that the attention on the breed will probably not fade away; PBGV fans can go from crying, waiting, hoping for recognition to enjoying some love from the rest of the dog world—even if those considering seeking one out might want to think it over first, and assess the pros and cons of a dog that greets every day with an “oh boy!” early in the morning.
Meanwhile, Buddy Holly, who sounds like a regular modern Don Juan, can return home to what Hayes described to the Times as “his girlfriends” and his normal dog life. We’ll expect that he might get a few extra yummy morsels as a victory treat, and if Hayes wants to put him in a pair of black-frame glasses and send us a picture, we wouldn’t say no to that, either.