February 10, 2010 09:21 PM

With 19 years of breeding, 92 pups, 30 champions, and two Best of Breed winners under her belt, it’s no surprise to Valerie Diker that two of her longhaired Dachshunds will be competing at Westminster this year. Still, her heart belongs to her sweetheart, Jesse, who hopes to defend his 2009 Best of Breed title against his cousin Red Rum.

“He’s cute, he’s fun, he’s loyal,” Diker tells PEOPLEPets.com. “I don’t see him sometimes for months, and he comes racing up to me. I love that he never forgets who I am.”

Diker, who runs the Dikerdachs kennel in New York, isn’t just a breeder – you can add philanthropist, socialite, dancer, poet and photographer to the list, too – but she has a special gift in raising champion miniature longhaired doxies.

It may be due to the twice-daily ritual Diker performs with each newborn puppy. She takes each in her hand, rubs each paw and kisses the puppy on the nose. Jesse received this treatment, and as a result, can handle being pushed and poked and “you don’t hear a peep.”

The “unusually pretty and sweet” champ Jesse put his nature on full display when he and Diker went on The View last year. His incessant kissing prompted host Whoopi Goldberg to ask Diker if she put peanut butter on her lips!

Jesse’s Vitals:
Formal name: Ch Dikerdachs Jesse
Breed: Longhaired Dachshund
Group: Hound
Hometown: New York City
Age: 6.5
First time showing: No

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