Our Second Annual Top Dog Contest Winner

Here's something to bark about! Nessie, a 1 ½-year-old Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is the winner of our Top Dog Contest.

Photo by Joe Polillio

Two paws up for Nessie, winner of the second annual New Jersey Monthly Top Dog Contest, sponsored by Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts. Our judges chose Nessie as Top Dog from 15 finalists.

Nessie is a 1 ½-year-old Nederlandse Kooikerhondje. Her owners, Ashley and Rob McKee, of Washington Township, Bergen County, connected with Nessie the instant they met, when Nessie was just eight weeks old. They describe her as loving and playful.

“Anywhere we are, she comes with us,” says Rob. That includes hiking, one of Nessie’s favorite activities. In fact, the picture that won the judges’ hearts was taken on a trail in River Vale.

Nessie, who came from an Indiana breeder,  has impressive bloodlines. Her father, Ayrie, ranked first in an agility competition in 2018. Her mother, Bree, competed in this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in the sporting group. It was the breed’s first time in the competition. 

Only about 9,000 Kooikerhondjes exist worldwide, and the breed remains extremely rare in the United States. Ashley hopes that Nessie’s Top Dog victory will inspire others to welcome the unique breed into their homes.

Photo by Joe Polillio
Photo by Joe Polillio
Photo by Joe Polillio
Photo by Joe Polillio
Photo by Joe Polillio

The winner of our Second Annual Top Dog Contest was chosen in a two-step process. A total of 399 photos were entered in the contest from October 22-November 30, 2018, at njmonthly.com. Fifteen finalists were chosen in an online vote from December 3-16; a total of 10,036 votes were cast. A panel of five experts chose the winning dog from the finalists based on five criteria: appeal of the pet; pose; composition of the photo; quality of image; and originality.

Our judges:

Mary Anne Broderick, pet photographer, Millstone Township; John Emerson, photographer, Montclair; Joe Polillio, photographer/vidoegrapher, Denville; Alessandra Sawick, pet photographer, North Arlington; and Amanda Smith, franchise owner, Bubba Rose Biscuit Co., Morristown. New Jersey Monthly donated a portion of the proceeds from the contest to benefit Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter.

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