Bill Cosby is not top dog in the world of posh pooches.
Harry, the award-winning, crowd-pleasing terrier co-owned by the Fat Albert mastermind, lost out to an English springer spaniel in the finals Tuesday at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Cosby's six-year-old Dandie Dinmont, the top-ranked dog coming into the contest among the 2,628 entrants in 165 breeds and varieties, easily scored a blue ribbon in the Best of Breed category and was deemed the front-runner for Best in Show.
Despite the hype, a superstitious Cosby, who had witnessed his pooches lose several key competitions over the years, reportedly skipped the show to avoid jinxing Harry. (The official explanation for his absence was a "prior commitment.") His daughter Erinn was there in his stead.
But when it came to the final tally, Harry, nicknamed for the English prince (his official moniker is Hobergays Fineus Fogg), was knocked into second place by Diamond Jim, the same canine that beat him in December’s AKC/Eukanuba event.
At least according to the Diamond Jim camp, there are no hard feelings. "Bill Cosby and I are good friends," handler Kellie Fitzgerald told the Associated Press. "We're both competitive. We both wanted to win."
Harry came into the contest as the country’s top show dog, scoring 57 best in show victories in 2006. (Video of Cosby taping his acceptance speech for Purina Pro Plan's 52nd Annual Show Dogs of the Year Awards with Harry last week while backstage at The Tonight Show is on YouTube.) A year ago, his Westminster chances were dashed when he slipped on the slick carpet.
While Cosby’s pooch was probably the most high-profile participant, this year’s Westminster roster included The Bone Collector author Jeffrey Deaver’s pet Briard, Chance, which won for Best of Breed, and celebrity attendees like Martha Stewart, Joy Behar and Greta Van Susteren.