You ain't nothing but the best hound dog

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The Independent US

Uno barked at his handler, bayed at the crowd and took a flying leap at a piece of filet mignon. Oh, and he gnawed away at a newly printed sign.

His white-tipped tail in perpetual motion, Uno turned the green carpet of Madison Square Garden into his own backyard after becoming the first beagle to win the hound group at the Westminster Kennel Club show since 1939. "Snoopy would be proud," said his owner, Aaron Wilkerson. "He was being his merry little hound self."

Despite being among the most popular breeds in the US, a beagle has never won Best in Show at America's most prestigious dog show. Uno's victory has assured him a place in the final seven.

A prize-winning sealyham terrier, a standard poodle and an Australian shepherd also secured spots in the final.

They were among the 2,627 entries at this year's show, which included four newly sanctioned types – the Tibetan mastiff, beauceron, Swedish vallhund and plott.

Judge Ralph Lemcke picked Uno – official name K-Run's Park Me in First – over 25 others in the hound group, praising his "softexpression".

Uno has already won 32 best in show titles and finished 2007 as the sixth-ranked show dog in the nation. He celebrated by retreating to his crate with his favourite toy frog.