(Via Westminster Kennel Club)

Between the relentless travel, media attention and constantly being judged, life isn’t easy for Manny Machado, but the young star has handled his celebrity status with aplomb.

“To be on the road every weekend, to be ranked No. 1 in the country, he has to deal with a lot of stress,” trainer Lynda Hylton said of Machado, who added to his impressive list of accomplishments when he won Best of Breed on Monday at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. “There are a lot of people asking questions and a lot of people touching him. Not every dog is meant to do this, just like not every man is meant to be a third baseman like Manny. He’s great with kids, so he’s a sweet dog.”

He’s a sweet Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced Show-Low-Its-Quint-Lee) to be exact, and he’s a rising star on the dog show circuit. And yes, he’s named after the Orioles’ star. Machado, who turned two in November, was bred by J. Frank Baylis at Bayshore Kennels and Farm in the Shenandoah Valley. He’s the son of Giorgio Armani, a three-time Best of Breed winner at Westminster, and Bayshore Lupe. When Machado was four months old, Baylis gave him to Hylton, who has been training and showing dogs for more than 25 years.

Some 2,700 carefully bred and coifed dogs, across nearly 200 breeds, put their best paw forward in New York at the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show. (Reuters)

Hylton lives in Salisbury, Md., home of the Orioles’ Class A affiliate Delmarva Shorebirds, where Machado, the baseball player, spent 38 games in 2011.

“The name is just one of those that flows so easily,” said Hylton, an Orioles fan. “And Manny Machado, he’s such a great guy. You don’t ever name a dog after a guy who’s a butt-head. Without asking Mr. Machado if it would bother him if he would mind having a dog named after him, we just did it. He’s just a super dog.”

Machado the baseball player, who will turn 24 in July, has matured since what might be described as a butt-head moment in June 2014, when he was suspended five games for intentionally throwing his bat on the field. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, a fellow dog lover, was impressed to learn that his teammate’s canine namesake was competing at Westminster.

On Monday, Machado, led by handler Carissa Shimpeno, followed in his dad’s footsteps and won Best of Breed among Xoloitzcuintli in the non-sporting category. The Xolo, as it’s commonly called, is the national dog of Mexico. According to the Westminster announcer, “their keen intelligence, trainability and natural cleanliness make them unique and valued pets today.”

Machado already has a Best of Show to his name and won Best of Breed at the American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship in December. Hylton says Machado’s career is just getting started, not unlike the Orioles’ two-time all-star.

“If we get a chance to meet him, I’m going to give him a great big hug and say he has been an inspiration,” Hylton said of Machado the player. “When we name the dogs, we hope we don’t step on anyone’s toes. You would only know there was a Manny Machado out there because he won. If you’re going to have a famous dog, it needs to have a famous name, and that’s what we’ve got with Manny Machado. I think he would be impressed that there’s actually no hair on him and he shows every bit of muscle.”


(Greg Fiume/Getty Images)