The 145th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the U.S., has come to a close, and Best in Show has been awarded.
On Sunday evening, live on Fox for the first time, veteran judge, trainer and handler Patricia Craige Trotter announced the winner of the prestigious Best in Show award: Wasabi the Pekingese (registered name GCHG CH Pequest Wasabi), who had won the toy group on Saturday.
Wasabi's grandfather, Malachy, won Best in Show at the 2012 Westminster Dog Show. Three-year-old Wasabi beat out about 2,500 other dogs for the coveted title.
"He's got the charisma and the movement; the showmanship that you'd like to have in a big ring at a show like this. He's in his prime, and he just looks wonderful," his owner and handler David Fitzpatrick told Fox Sports.
The show, for the first time in its history, was held not at Madison Square Garden but at the historic Lyndhurst Castle in Tarrytown, New York. Due to New York COVID-19 regulations, spectators were not able to attend Westminster's 2021 events.
Four new breeds were introduced at the 2021 Westminster Dog Show: the barbet, the Biewer terrier, the Belgian laekenois and the Dogo Argentino.
Four of the groups (hound, toy, non-sporting and herding) announced their winners on Saturday, with the final three (sporting, working and terrier) being announced Sunday. A dog must be named Best in Breed before being considered to win its group.
Let's take a look at the complete group winners from the weekend, as well as recap the top moments with all these very good dogs.
Best of Breed Winners
Hound: Bourbon the whippet
Toy: Wasabi the Pekingese
Non-sporting: Mathew the French bulldog
Herding: Connor the old English sheepdog
Sporting: Jade the German shorthaired pointer
Working: Striker the Samoyed
Terrier: Boy the West Highland white terrier
Wasabi beat out plenty of top dogs to earn honors in New York this weekend.
Bourbon the whippet from Sugar Valley, Georgia, winner of the hound group for the second year running, was the reserve (or runner-up) for last year's Best in Show award. The last time a hound group dog won Best in Show was Miss P, a beagle, in 2015.
It was a tight race between the No. 1 and No. 2 dogs; Bourbon just beat out Wasabi at last year's AKC's National Championship.
Samoyed Striker, meanwhile, is the No. 1-ranked dog in the country.
Jade the German shorthaired pointer is the daughter of the 2016 Best in Show winner, CJ.
Connor is the son of the 2013 Westminster reserve, Swagger. That year was the first that the Westminster Kennel Club included a reserve award.
All the dogs were also up against history; there's no arguing that certain breeds have captured judges' hearts over the years. Scottish Terriers have the second-most Best in Show wins of any breed.
Of course, it wasn't only pure breed dogs up for Best in Show who had something to pull for this weekend. There was also the Westminster Masters Obedience Championship, which was won by New Jersey labrador retriever Grant.
The competition was added to the Westminster Dog Show slate of events in 2016, and in a curious pattern, dogs from New Jersey have won it every year. (It's less curious when you realize that labrador retriever Heart won it five years in a row.)
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Westminster Dog Show from its usual home in Madison Square Garden, and spectators were surely missed, but there's no question the picturesque surroundings of Lyndhurst Castle in Tarrytown, New York, combined with the nation's most beautiful dogs, made for an unforgettable weekend.