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Meet the ‘Best in Show’ Winner of the AKC National Championship

It’s the first time a toy-breed dog has won top honors at the show.

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Wasabi’s victory marked the first time a toy-breed dog has won top honors at AKC National Championship.

ORLANDO, FL — GCH CH Pequest Wasabi, a Pekingese known as “Wasabi,” triumphed over more than 5,200 competitors to earn a $50,000 cash prize and the title of Best in Show at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, held Dec. 14-15 in Orlando.

The victory marked the first time a toy-breed dog has won top honors at the kennel club’s flagship show, AKC noted.

Wasabi, owned by David Fitzpatrick and Peggy Steinman of East Berlin, PA, and bred by David Fitzpatrick, was crowned “America’s National Champion” by Best in Show judge Dorothy Collier after a weekend of intense canine competition. The live stream of all of the weekend events is available for replay at AKC.tv.

In an article posted on the AKC’s website, Fitzpatrick is quoted talking about the peculiarities of the breed:

“The Pekingese is not a breed that wants to please you – for centuries and centuries, people have been pleasing the Pekingese,” Fitzpatrick explains, noting that these palace dogs, which could only be owned by the Chinese royal family, even had their own servants.

Getting a canine aristocrat who is impervious to treats or praise to follow your lead requires Freudian levels of psychology. “Whatever they do, you have to pretend it’s their idea,” he sighs, noting that this “pride of existence” is what makes the breed both fascinating and challenging. “And hopefully it coincides with what you want them to do.”

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The overall show totals topped 11,008 entries, making this the largest dog event in the history of the American Kennel Club. The event continues to be the largest in North America.

 

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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