Saluki saluted as top dog at Monroeville show

A total of 854 purebred dogs strutted their stuff at the Western Pennsylvania Kennel Association Inc. show in Monroeville, but only one dog can win Best in Show. On Sunday, the top prize went to a Saluki with ties to Pittsburgh.

At home they call him Snapple, but in the show ring he is Grand Champion Starlite’s Made of the Best Stuff on Earth. This was the 5-year-old hound’s 28th Best in Show win, said proud owner Tina Kocab of Kirtland, Ohio, who regularly commutes to Pittsburgh to work as an engineer at WTAE.

Snapple’s co-owners are Mark S. Kocab and Connie Ingalls. Mrs. Kocab said she has been breeding Salukis for 35 years. The Saluki resembles a greyhound and is an ancient breed believed to have originated in Egypt.

The kennel association dedicated this show to the memory of Tom Oelschlager of Finleyville and Judy Colbert of South Park, who both died in June.

Mr. Oelschlager, a professional handler known as “Tommy O,” bred Siberian huskies for 40 years with his partner, Marlene Depalma.

Mrs. Colbert bred boxers and Cavalier King Charles spaniels with her husband, Bill, who is a professional handler.

The top Siberian husky at the Sunday show was bred by Mr. Oelschlager. Champion Kontoki’s Why Can’t You Be True, 4, won best in breed. She was handled by her owner, Karen Pajestka of West Farmington, Ohio.

Coming in second, overall, in the Sunday show, for what show people call the “reserve,” was a 3-year-old affenpinscher, Grand Champion Hi-Tech Drills and Skills owned by Milan Lint and William Truesdale, Doylestown in eastern Pennsylvania. 

There were 844 entries at the Saturday show, when the Best In Show winner was Pekingese Grand Champion Pequest Pickwick. Owners are Nancy H. Shapland and David Fitzpatrick of Champaign, Ill.

The Saturday reserve winner was a great Pyrenees, Grand Champion River Groves the Name of the Game, 4, owned by Jean A. Boyd of Brookville, Md.

Linda Wilson Fuoco: or 412-263-1953.

Correction (made April 5, 2017, at 3 p.m.): An earlier version of this story contained incorrect figures for the number of purebreds that competed in the Saturday and Sunday shows. Saturday’s show had 844. Sunday’s had 854.