Three-year-old Pekingese, Wasabi, won Best in Show at the 145th annual Westminster Dog Show on Sunday and in the end, it was his individuality that separated him from the pack and helped him to take the crown.
"He's just a wonderful dog,” says his handler and breeder David Fitzpatrick. “He has showmanship. "He fits the breed standard. He has that little extra something, that little sparkle that sets a dog apart."
The Westminster Dog Show is the second-oldest continuous sporting event in the United States, and while it usually takes place at New York’s Madison Square Gardens, the pandemic forced its relocation this year to a safer site at the Lyndhurst Estate, where it was closed to the public.
Veteran judge Patricia Craige Trotter expressed her gratitude to the dogs, trainers, breeders, and organizers for pulling together during trying times to ensure the popular show could go on in 2021.
"Without a doubt, the entire sport of dogs is grateful to the Westminster Kennel Club members and their staff for persevering through troubled times to bring us out to this gorgeous estate and create this show for the ages. We thank them all for all they've done.”
Wasabi beat 2,500 champion dogs and a tough pack of finalists, including Matthew the French Bulldog, Connor the Old English Sheepdog, Jade the German Shorthaired Pointer, Striker the Samoyed, and a West Highland Terrier named Boy, but in the end, it was the small but mighty Pekingese who emerged victorious.
And the fun didn’t end on the podium for little Wasabi, who after posing for photographs, went on to celebrate with Fitzpatrick. "He can have a filet mignon. And I'll have Champagne," Fitzpatrick, of East Berlin, Pennsylvania said with a laugh when asked what the duo’s plans were for the evening.
It’s not the first time Fitzpatrick has had success at the Westminster Dog Show, with his other dog Malachy winning Best in Show in 2012, and it wasn’t the first win for little Wasabi either, who also took out the coveted top spot at the American Kennel Club National Championship in 2019.
When asked how much he'll be carrying around Wasabi after Sunday's win, Fitzpatrick replied with a smile, "As much as he needs. He deserves his own chariot."
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.