The Westminster Dog Show crowned a Pekingese named Wasabi its “Best in Show” Sunday, in the culmination of a reworked pandemic edition of the competition missing its usual pooch-loving crowds.
Normally held in February, the show was delayed and moved from its home in the heart of New York City to a country estate due to Covid-19.
Spectators were kept away and it was the show’s first time being held outside Manhattan, but the singular passion of the event, now in its 145th year, was unchanged: dogs.
Three-year-old Wasabi was crowned best in show from a pack of seven group winners which also included Mathew, a French bulldog; Connor, an Old English sheepdog; and Striker, a Samoyed.
Bourbon the whippet came in second.
Speaking a day earlier when Wasabi won the toy group, his owner and handler David Fitzpatrick — who also won “Best in Show” in 2012 — lauded his pooch’s “charisma, movement and showmanship.”
“He’s in his prime and he just looks wonderful,” he added.
The event, an annual celebration of purebred dogs from across the spectrum in size, shape and fur types, brought together over 2,000 candidates from more than 200 breeds.
Dogs are judged on the basis of how well they stack up against breed characteristics as set by the American Kennel Club.
Breeds are assessed not just in terms of how they move, but whether their facial expressions show what is deemed proper vigilance or merriment.