Pekingese 'Wasabi' Wins Best in Show at 2021 Westminster Dog Show
Royalty reigned at the 145th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Presented by Purina Pro Plan when “Wasabi” (GCHG Pequest Wasabi), a 3-year-old black-masked red male Pekingese, won Best in Show June 13, 2021. A grandson of the 2012 Westminster Best in Show winner, Wasabi was sired by the 2017 Toy Group winner.
Wasabi makes 14 of the past 15 Westminster Best in Show winners fueled to their wins by Purina Pro Plan. The power of Purina Pro Plan nutrition is reflected in Pro Plan’s clean sweep as the food of choice for all the 2021 Westminster Group winners.
Held at Lyndhurst Estate overlooking the Hudson River Valley in Tarrytown, New York, due to the pandemic shifting the usual February date, the 2021 Westminster show is the first one in history not to be held in Manhattan. The dog show included 2,500 dogs representing 209 breeds, plus the eighth annual Master’s Agility Championship and the sixth annual Master’s Obedience Championship.
Bred by owner-handler David Fitzpatrick of East Berlin, Pennsylvania, an icon in the Pekingese breed, Wasabi is co-owned by Sandra Middlebrooks, Peggy Steinman and the late Iris Love. Besides having famous relatives, Wasabi quickly affirmed his own elite status by becoming the first Toy breed and the youngest dog at 1 ½ years of age to win the AKC National Championship in 2019. His winning continued in 2020 to become the No. 1 dog in the country.
“Wasabi has charisma, proper movement and showmanship,” Fitzpatrick says. Wasabi was shown only four weekends in 2021 prior to Westminster.
The Toy Group winner was sired by “Chuckie” (GCHG Pequest Pickwick), and his grandsire, who won Best in Show in 2012, was “Malachy” (GCHS Palacegarden Malachy). Fitzgerald is the owner-handler of both dogs and the breeder of Chuckie. The 2021 show is Fitzgerald’s 23rd appearance at Westminster.
Best in Show judge Patricia Craige Trotter, breeder-owner-handler of 11 Norwegian Elkhounds to win Westminster Hound Groups, said after the show, “Wasabi stood as though he was a lion, as though he was 10-feet tall. He has the perfect Pekingese head. He is heavy in the front and light in the back, giving him the pear shape as the breed should have. It was a lovely lineup of dogs.”
Sharing the spotlight with Wasabi are these Pro Plan-fed Group winners:
Reserve Best in Show & Hound Group Winner
Earning back-to-back Westminster Reserve Bests in Show, “Bourbon” (GCHP Pinnacle Kentucky Bourbon) is the top-winning Whippet in AKC history. Handled by Cheslie Pickett Smithey of Sugar Valley, Georgia, the 5-year-old red-and-white female delivered a flawless performance only 12 weeks after whelping a litter of five puppies. She was the No. 1 Hound and No. 2 all-breed dog in the country in 2020.
Bourbon was bred by Justin Smithey and Yvonne Sovereign. She is owned by the Smitheys, Dr. Kenneth Latimer, Judy Descutner, and Nancy Shaw. The history-making Whippet is fed Purina Pro Plan All Ages SPORT Performance 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula dog food.
The No. 1 French Bulldog in all systems, “Mathew” (GCHP Chaselands Mathew Moss), is a 4 ½-year-old cream male bred by Chad Howard, the co-owner with Nancy Shaw. Showing for the first time at Westminster, Mathew is the winner of 10 Bests in Show and the 2019 French Bulldog Club of America National Specialty. Handled by Justin Smithey of Sugar Creek, Georgia, Mathew is fed Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Lamb & Oat Meal Formula dog food.
Herding Group Winner
Bred by the Bugaboo Old English Sheepdog (OES) family of Colton and Heather Johnson and Doug and Michaelanne Johnson, all of Colorado Springs, Colorado, “Connor” (GCH Bugaboo’s Courage Of Conviction) is the No. 1 all-breed OES. Handled by Colton Johnson, the 3 ½-year-old male was sired by “Swagger” (GCHG Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect), who won Reserve Best in Show at Westminster in 2013. Connor is fed Purina Pro Plan All Ages SPORT Performance 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula dog food.
Sporting Group Winner
The No. 1 German Shorthaired Pointer in breed competition and No. 2 in all-breed, “Jade” (GCHS Clarity Reach The Sky Vjk-Myst) is reminiscent of her famous sire. The athletic and outgoing 2 ½-year-old female was sired by the 2016 Westminster Best in Show winner, “CJ” (GCHP VJK-MYST Garbonita’s California Journey). Jade was handled by Valerie Nunes-Atkinson of Temecula, California, a co-owner with Yvonne Hassler-Deterding, Carley Simpson, and Claire Malcolm, the breeder with Mariah Dupuy. Jade is fed Purina Pro Plan All Ages SPORT Performance 30/20 Chicken & Rice Formula dog food.
Working Group Winner
The No. 1 dog in the country in 2021, “Striker” (GCHS Vanderbilt ‘N Printemp’s Lucky Strike) is a 5-year-old male Samoyed from Toronto, Canada, where he was the No. 2 show dog in 2019. He has won 45 Bests in Show since beginning his U.S. campaign in January 2020. Handler Laura King of Milan, Illinois, credits the dog’s happy disposition and giving his heart to showing with his success. The handsome male was bred by Mengru Wu and Judi Elford, a co-owner with Correen Ralsky-Pacht, Marc Ralsky, and Blair Elford. Striker is fed Purina Pro Plan All Ages SPORT Performance 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula dog food.
The No. 3 Terrier and No. 1 West Highland White Terrier all-systems is a 4-year-old male named “Boy” (GCHG Crystal Boy De La Pomme) from Thailand. Handler Rebecca Cross of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, who specializes in showing terriers, says Boy has a funny personality and works to please her in the ring. The feisty male was bred by his owners Phavida Jaruthavee, Dr. Frederic Askin and Fred Melville. Boy is fed Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula dog food.