Malachy the Pekingese can retire peacefully now, bowing out at the top of the sport after winning "Best in Show" at this year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
The four-year-old—and last year's runner-up for the honor—was a worthy winner if for no other reason than he was carrying around a ridiculous amount of hair that appeared to double his natural body weight.
Actually, quite a bit about the Westminster Show is ridiculous, now that I think about it.
Fan favorite Malachy the Pekingese claimed the coveted Best in Show title at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Tuesday night, making him the top dog out of seven representatives of popular breeds.
The waddling, 4-year-old “lion dog” drew laughs from the crowd each time that he moved, especially when an announcer described the breed’s “unhurried gate.” It was the first win for the breed — described as small in stature but “bold, intelligent and independent in temperament” — since 1990.
CH. Palacegarden Malachy, who hales from Pennsylvania, lived up to his hype — and a prediction from a top Las Vegas oddsmaker — with the win. He was handled by David Fitzpatrick, one of his three co-owners.
“With seven wonderful and worthy contenders tonight, I have but one ribbon,” said Best in Show judge Cindy Vogels. “Best in Show . . . is the Pekingese.”
Malachy beat out 185 breeds and more than 2,000 dogs at the nation’s most prestigious show. He takes over the honor from last year’s winner, Hickory, a Scottish Deerhound, who now lives on a family farm in Virginia and is mom to a litter of nine puppies.
Best in Show judge Vogels is a Colorado resident who breeds champion Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. She's also the chairman of the AKC-Canine Health Foundation, and she's had five previous assignments at Westminster.