‘I’m already a winner’ – Cedric the English Toy Spaniel and his owner headed to Westminster dog show

  • Cedric sits in a field of lupines. Courtesy of Meghann Belser

  • Meghann Belser and her English Toy Spaniel, Cedric, are heading to the Westminster Dog Show this week. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Cedric and his owner-handler Meghann Belser compete at the 2021 National Dog Show, which was televised on NBC. Cedric won for his breed that day. “It was my first time being televised at a show of this level, and it was so nerve-racking but an incredible experience,” Belser said. Courtesy

  • Meghann Belser and her English Toy Spaniel , Cedric are heading to the Westminster Dog Show. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Last year, Cedric finished as the top owner-handled English Toy Spaniel in the United States. He was ranked third in the country for his breed. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Meghann Belser and her English Toy Spaniel ,Cedric are heading to the Westminster Dog Show. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

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    Cedric the English Toy Spaniel won Best Of Variety at the 2021 Morris & Essex Dog Show, which is held once every five years. "The show is themed to mimic the dog shows of the 1920s-1940s, and is a very traditional show that brings thousands of dogs for the special event," said Cedric's owner and handler Meghann Belser.

  • Cedric, an English Toy Spaniel named after a Harry Potter character, and his owner Meaghnn Belser are heading to the Westminster Dog Show.

Published: 6/13/2022 4:53:21 PM

Cedric the English Toy Spaniel has the biggest week of his young life coming up.

Cedric and his owner Meghann Belser are heading to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, which is like the Super Bowl of canine competitions.

He will compete to be the best of his breed. If he wins, he will then compete to be the best in the toy group of dogs. If he overcomes that hurdle, he will go on to compete for the prestigious best in show.

Belser would love Cedric to win the whole thing, but she doesn’t expect that.

“If I come home with nothing, I’ve already come home with the best thing that I could, which is the dog,” Belser said. “I’m already a winner. I get to come home with him. I get to make the memory with him.”

At the Westminster Dog Show, the animals are judged by the traits of the breed and do not compete against one another.

The English Toy Spaniel “is a square, snub-nosed toy weighing no more than 14 pounds. The large domed head with its long and lush ears, dark melting eyes, and chubby cheeks is a famous breed trait,” according to the American Kennel Club.

Cedric, who will turn 4 in July, is already a champion for his breed. Belser brought him to several dog competitions and he kept winning and winning.

Last year, Cedric finished as the top owner-handled English Toy Spaniel in the United States. He was ranked third in the country for his breed. The top five champions for each breed get an automatic invite to the Westminster show.

Cedric’s breed is sometimes confused with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a newer derivative breed from the English Toy Spaniel, Belser explained. The English Toy, especially with Cedric’s black and tan markings, was the hallmark of English nobility in the 1600s, especially the “Merry Monarchs” King Charles I and Charles II, according to the American Kennel Club.

The breed is described as “bright, loving and willing to please.”

Cedric is all of those, said Belser, who works as the patient care coordinator for Northside Animal Hospital in Hooksett.

“He is extremely loyal, dedicated to me, and extremely intuitive. He knows me better than I know myself, sometimes,” she said. “He is the best behaved, gentle, and very much an ‘old soul.’ He came into my life when I didn’t realize how much I needed him, and I can’t imagine my everyday life without him.”

Belser’s close friend and English Toy Spaniel breeder Jessica Freni gifted Cedric to her. The two women are Cedric’s co-owners.

He got his name from Cedric Diggory, a character in the Harry Potter movies. Belser is a big Harry Potter fan. His official show name is more elaborate, “Why Not Take A Chance.”

Belser’s kennel’s name is Accio Show Dogs, which is based on the “accio” summoning spell in Harry Potter lore. Belser chose that name because she said she is trying to summon “health, happiness, and success.”

Typically the Westminster dog show is held in New York City, but this year it will be held 30 miles to the north at Lyndhurst Mansion from June 18-22.

After his career as a show dog is over, Cedric will put in more time to his side job as a therapy dog. Belser said Cedric is particularly sensitive, friendly and warm with other people.

Belser and her life partner Kathleen Morrison met at the Westminster Kennel Club in 2016. Together they have four other dogs, including a 13-year-old Schnauzer and an 8-year-old French Bulldog. Cedric’s younger brother and nephew are both English Toy Spaniels and are having their own success as show dogs. Each dog in the house has been shown at one point or another.

“At the end of the day, they are our lives and we would do anything for them,” Belser said. “All of them sleep in our bed every single night. Every single night.”




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