FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A Fresno resident is taking the national stage but he stands on four legs. A pup named Joel is headed to New York to compete in the West Minster Kennel Club Dog Show.
It's easy to think of the movie "Beethoven" when looking at a St. Bernard but this dog is far from a beast.
"He drools, he's hairy," co-owner Nicole Tucker said. "He's, you know, playful, but he's not crazy. He's very well behaved. He loves other dogs, he's just a special boy."
"Grand Champion Nobel's Fierce Warrior V. Jamelle," more commonly known as "Joel," will be among more than 3,000 dogs competing in the West Minster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. Nicole and Doug Tucker call it the Super Bowl of dog shows.
"This will be a first for us," Doug said. "Hopefully, not the last."
Joel is one of four St. Bernard's living in the Tucker household. At just three years old, he already has hundreds of prizes from specialty and all breed shows.
His parents, Nicole and Doug, own him along with their handler Michelle Mulligan.
"We're lucky enough to have her knowledge, and he was definitely a good representation of our St. Bernard breed and he was going to go far and he has," Nicole said.
Getting invited to the biggest dog show in the world came as no surprise as Joel is ranked 4th in the nation for St. Bernard's. The family is New York bound as of Thursday, and he'll be vying for Best in Show.
"You bring the dog in," Doug explained. "Typically, you'll move him around the ring and then one at a time you'll set up for the examination by the judge."
Dogs are judged based on how close they are to their breed standard. What the panel of judges considers an ideal version of the dog's breed.
Criteria range from how long a neck should be to how thick a coat of fur is. As for how to prepare, Doug says handler's classes are beneficial to both pup and presenter.
"The way you present the dog is very important," Doug said. "A lot of times you're presenting against professional handlers out there."