Gouldsboro dog headed to Westminster

Sam Adams with his handler

Newfoundland Sam Adams stands with his handler, Samantha Brainard. (photo courtesy of Amy Davis)

By Rebecca Alley

Ellsworth American

GOULDSBORO — After spending most of her life breeding dogs, Amy Davis will get to see one of her own compete at the “Super Bowl” of dog shows. Her beloved Newfoundland, Sam Adams, has been invited to the 148th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which runs May 11-14 in Flushing, N.Y.

His official moniker, AKC (American Kennel Club) Grand Champion Bronze Birchbark’s Sam Adams, is a 6-year-old Newfoundland who embodies the breed’s hallmark sweet temperament.

“His favorite thing to do is put his head in my lap and snuggle,” Davis told The American. “He’s just a marvelous dog.”

Davis, a retired teacher, has been breeding dogs since the 1970s. She has been producing puppies from “the line” that Sam Adams belongs to since 1998.

“I’ve been really happy with the type I’ve been producing,” Davis said. “I’m still showing his mother, who’s going on 11.”

Sam Adams, a big, bear-like dog with a shiny black coat, has been a show dog since he was a 6-month-old puppy. He started out competing at the Cumberland Fairgrounds, a popular dog show site in the state, Davis said.

“He hasn’t looked back.”

He’s also become highly decorated. He won an Award of Merit at his breed’s National Specialty competition and Reserve Best in Show last year with the Windham County Kennel Club.

“Both of them were pretty incredible,” Davis said about winning the awards. “It’s a very special honor.”

So, Davis decided to apply to Westminster.

She still isn’t exactly sure how Sam Adams was chosen to participate.

“There’s a little bit of mystery involved to some extent,” Davis shared. Top dogs, based on breed “points” are automatically invited, Davis explained. After that, it’s a bit of a lottery system that includes considering each dog’s accomplishments.

“I entered Westminster, and we crossed our fingers that he would be invited, and he was,” Davis said.

Davis has been a spectator at the show before, but this is the first time she will watch as one of her own dogs competes. She said 11 Newfoundlands from across the country will be go up against Sam Adams. There may also be entries from Canada and Europe.

While Davis has experience as a dog handler, Sam Adams has his own handler, Samantha Brainard, who will be in the ring with him during the show.

“She can run like the wind around that ring,” Davis said about Brainard. Along with being a talented handler, Davis noted the close relationship that Brainard and Sam Adams share.

“They have quite a connection,” she said. “They have a bond.”

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