Prime Peke! Pekingese wasabi wins Westminster dog show


TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – The Taste of the Year at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Wasabi.

A Pekingese named Wasabi won Best Show on Sunday night, scooping a fifth win for the distinctive toy breed. A whippet named Bourbon was second to repeat.

Waddling through a small but neat twist in the ring, Wasabi grabbed the most prestigious award from the American Dogdome after winning the American Kennel Club National Championship in 2019.

“He’s got acting. He corresponds to the breed standard. It has that little bit extra, that sparkle that sets one dog apart, ”said Wasabi’s handler, breeder and co-owner David Fitzpatrick. Show judge Patricia Trotter simply said: “What shouldn’t you like about this dog? … He stood there like a lion. “

Fitzpatrick from East Berlin, Pennsylvania led Beijing’s grandfather Malachy to the Westminster title in 2012. Still, he said, “I don’t always think that lightning will strike twice.”

How is Wasabi going to celebrate?

“He can have a filet mignon. And I’ll have champagne, ”Fitzpatrick said with a laugh.

Meanwhile, the three-year-old Pekingese was “pretty casual about the whole thing,” said his supervisor. In fact, Wasabi lay down on the dais, occasionally looking up as if to see what the excitement was about while Fitzpatrick spoke to a group of reporters and cameras.

It was a poignant victory after one of its co-owners, archaeologist Iris Love, died of COVID-19 last year. In addition to Fitzpatrick, the dog also belongs to Sandra Middlebrooks and Peggy Steinman.

David Fitzpatrick, owner, breeder and dog handler, holds Wasabi, a Pekingese, after the dog wins Best in Show.
David Fitzpatrick, owner, breeder and dog handler, holds Wasabi, a Pekingese, after the dog wins Best in Show.

Wasabi – the name derives from its mother, Sushi – came to the top of a finalist pack that also included Mathew, the French Bulldog, Connor, the Old English Sheepdog, Jade, the German Shorthair Cat, Striker, the Samoyed, and a West Highland White Terrier named. belonged to boy. A total of 2,500 winning dogs took part in the show.

It saw big changes this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, moving out of New York City for the first time since the show’s inception in 1877. This year’s show took place outdoors on a property in the suburbs of Tarrytown, about 25 miles north of where the top band is usually presented at Madison Square Garden, and took place in June in February.

As a sign of the pandemic, some handlers wore masks – although vaccinated people were allowed to walk without – and the show was closed to the public.

“It’s a wonder they even had this show,” said Fitzpatrick.

Striker went on the show as the top ranked US dog with more than 40 best-in-show wins since January 2020. And Bourbon had won the AKC National Championship too.

The show was bittersweet for Jade’s handler and co-owner Valerie Nunes-Atkinson. She led Jade’s father, CJ, to a 2016 Westminster Best in Show win – and lost it last September when the 7-year-old died unexpectedly of a fungal infection.

“The good thing is, he left an incredible legacy,” said Nunes-Atkinson of Temecula, California. She said Jade “had my heart” from birth.

Boy had come a long way to Westminster – all the way from Thailand, where one of his owners was watching from Bangkok, according to handler Rebecca Cross.

“He always makes us laugh,” said Cross from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

For many dog ​​owners, making it to Westminster is a thrill – even for baseball all-time home run leader Barry Bonds, who cheered on a miniature schnauzer he owns with sister Cheryl Dugan.

Wasabi walks with his handler in the Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
Wasabi walks with his handler in the Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

The dog Rocky didn’t win his breed, but the bat said he was proud of Rocky just because he qualified for the champions-only show.

“We won because we came here. That’s all that matters, ”Bonds told Fox Sports. “I’ve been to a lot of playoffs and the World Series and I’ve never won. But I tried again and again for 22 years. “

The 56-year-old Bonds holds the baseball career home run record at 762, though his performance has been marred by allegations of steroid use – he denied knowingly ingesting them.

While the semi-finals and finals were held in an air-conditioned tent, earlier parts of the competition took place on the lawn of an estate called Lyndhurst.

Douglas Tighe, who ran second in the sports group with a Brittany named Pennie, says he just goes along with when his dogs are distracted by birds and other outdoor attractions.

“Let them have fun,” said Tighe of Hope, New Jersey. “That’s what it’s about.”

This is what Kole Brown is all about. At the age of 9, on Sunday he showed a bull terrier named Riley along with his parents, Kurtis Brown and US Air Force Captain Samantha Brown and a few other bull terriers in the family.

“I really enjoy this sport,” said Kole of San Antonio, Texas. “Every time I go in the ring, I have a smile on my face.”

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