A WHITE STANDARD poodle, Ch. Whisperwind on a Carousel, better known as Peter, stood alone in the center of a green-matted ring in Madison Square Garden in New York last night as the supreme winner of the 115th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
From an entry of 2,500 dogs, the big white dog owned by Joan and Frederick Hartsock of Potomac, Md., emerged to restore the best-in-show award to a breed that hadn't triumphed here since 1973. The rest of this year's entrants had fallen somewhere along the line during two days and two nights of the sharpest canine competition the country affords.
So, Peter becomes the dog of the year. Although there will be some 1,000 all-breed events before 1991 ends, there is only one Westminster.
Dorothy Welsh, only the 10th woman to be named to select Westminster's best, took just 16 minutes to make her decision last night.
"My job was to find a dog that most exhibited breed type, soundness, the proper attitude and presented itself well," she explained. "I never before have had a poodle who exhibited all of these qualities."
Welsh's choice was already weighed down with national honors. Peter is the top-winning male poodle in the breed's history.
Monday, in capturing the non-sporting group, he gained the 229th group victory of his career. Indeed, he is on quite a group winning streak, taking 60 consecutive blue ribbons starting last Aug. 12.
Last year, Peter defeated 62,605 dogs to finish fourth in the Science Diet Winner's Circle competition, and he earned $2,000 for his owners. He also took 110 group awards, more than any other non-sporting performer and received a Ken-L Ration award.
His Westminster victory was his 93rd all-breed best in show.
Alexander Schwartz, who Monday night selected Peter as the group winner, said, "He's the epitome of the breed for a standard. He's a graceful, beautiful mover from the side and is absolutely sound. He was a brilliant exhibit."
Also in the final Tuesday night was an Irish water spaniel, Ch. Mallyree Triple Expectation, owned by Kitty and Joseph Vaudo of Sandwich, Mass., and Gemma Carey of Amityville, N.Y.
This was the second year in a row that Jake, as the dog is known, had captured the sporting group at the Garden. The 6-year-old won 81 rosettes in 1990, and he too received a Ken-L Ration award.
Miranda Levin's and Barbara Heidenreich's Scottish deerhound, Ch. Fernhill's Phantom, who gained his first blue rosette, and a five-pound white toy poodle, Ch. Trebor of Ahs Capital Gains, owned and handled by Gary Wittmemeier, also were finalists.
Another was the Kerry blue terrier, Ch. Kerrageen's Hotspur, owned by Bryan Percy of Seattle and Judy Hartwell of Campbell, Calif.