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A decorated Pekingese named Wasabi has added the ultimate title to his trophy case: Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
The extremely fluffy Wasabi, whose registered name is GCHG CH Pequest Wasabi, took home the top honors Sunday night, emerging from the final ring about a year and a half after winning the 2019 American Kennel (AKC) Club National Championship.
“He’s just a wonderful dog, and he’s made correctly. He has showmanship; he fits the breed standard,” handler and owner David Fitzpatrick said on the FOX broadcast Sunday. “He has that little extra something, that little sparkle that sets a dog apart.”
Speaking of a little extra something, how’s this for a celebration? “He can have a filet mignon, and I’ll have champagne,” Fitzpatrick said.
After winning the toy group Saturday, 3-year-old Wasabi beat out whippet Bourbon (hound), French bulldog Mathew (non-sporting), Old English sheepdog Connor (herding), German shorthaired pointer Jade (sporting), Samoyed Striker (working), and West Highland white terrier Boy (terrier) for Best in Show honors Sunday night.
It was a competitive group full of championship pedigree. Striker is the No. 1-ranked dog in the country while Jade is the daughter of the 2016 Best in Show winner and Connor is the son of the 2013 Westminster runner-up.
Plus, Bourbon edged out Wasabi at last year’s AKC’s National Championship, but the Pekingese from East Berlin, Pa., earned the nod this time around. Bourbon was named Reserve Best in Show (runner-up) for the second year in a row.
The 145th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was a departure from the previous 144. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the club moved the show from February to June and from Madison Square Garden in Manhattan to the Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, N.Y. The judging was held in a big, fancy tent on the grounds.
Westminster is a conformation show, meaning the dogs are judged on how well they adhere to their breed’s set of written standards. (The dogs don’t compete to see who’s the best-looking or cutest.)
Wasabi is the fifth Pekingese to win at Westminster since 1907, which is as far back as the club’s records go. He’s owned by Sandra Middlebrooks, Peggy Steinman, Iris Love, and Fitzpatrick.
Short and stocky Pekingese originally lived as the well-pampered pets of Chinese royalty. The lap dogs’ long, lion-esque coats require plenty of grooming, and if Wasabi is any indication, they don’t get around too fast.
But, hey, it’s pretty hard to move fast when you’re lugging around a big ol’ trophy. Congrats to Wasabi!