- (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)
Malachy the Pekingese has been named Best in Show at the 136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
The small dog won over the audience and judges to take top honors at the prestigious dog show. Malachy, handled by David Fitzpatrick has won 115 best-in-show titles throughout his career, with two wins in the Toy group. He beat out 2,499 fellow competitors and will enjoy a year-long reign as "America's dog."
"He saved all his energy for the ring today," noted Fitzpatrick. "No other dog moves like this. [The Pekingese's gate) should be slow and dignified." Pekingese typically move slowly due to their bowed legs.
All Pekingese compete in the Toy category, though the American Kennel Club recognizes six additional breed categories: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Herding and Non-Sporting. The best in each of those categories then competes for overall Best in Show.
Winners of the Westminster Dog Show enjoy many perks throughout their reign, including a visit to the top of the Empire State Building and ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. Malachy will embark on a media tour today, appearing on national TV with handler Fitzpatrick before leaving New York on a national tour.
According to the Westminster Kennel Club's website, it is "America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. There is only one Westminster, and in its long and prestigious existence, just about every superlative imaginable has been used to describe the club, the show and its impact on the world of purebred dogs."
The dog show emerged from the Kennel Club's by-laws, which state that the purpose of Westminster is "to increase the interest in dogs and thus improve the breeds, and to hold an annual Dog Show in the city of New York."
Today, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show attracts millions of viewers around the world and is televised on USA Network.