"Malachy" the Pekingese wins prestigious U.S. dog show

Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:29am EST
 
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A placid Pekingese slowly trotted to victory on Tuesday at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, beating a Dalmatian, a German Shepherd, a Dachshund and three other canines to become the first of his breed to win the prestigious annual event since 1990.

Malachy, a four-year-old dog formally known as Ch. Palacegarden Malachy, charmed the packed Madison Square Garden arena crowd, who roared their approval when his win was announced.

Judge Cindy Vogels, who was sequestered from the two-day competition until she entered the ring for the best-in-show finale, described the 11-pound Malachy as "a super dog who had a stupendous night."

"He was spectacular," she said of the dog who has been number-one in the toy group for the past two years and has won 115 best-in-show titles.

"He conforms to the (breed's) standard so magnificently ... tonight, he was flawless," she said.

The Pekingese, who drew a fair amount of affectionate laughter from the crowd with his mop of highly fluffed hair, won them over with soulful glances up at handler David Fitzpatrick, as he strode about the ring at a deliberate pace that contrasted with the other dogs' trotting gates.

"Their gate should be slow and dignified," Fitzpatrick said of the toy breed. Earlier in the day, he added, the dog had been "very quiet and relaxed," although he noted "he's an extrovert in the ring."

The other dogs competing in the best-in-show round included an Irish setter, a Kerry blue terrier and a Doberman pinscher. No Irish setter, Dalmatian or Dachshund has ever won best in show at Westminster, the nation's second-oldest sporting event behind only the Kentucky Derby race for thoroughbred horses.   Continued...

 
Handler David Fitzpatrick places Malachy, a Pekingese, into the silver bowl after he won Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York's Madison Square Garden February 14, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar