‘It’s always exciting’: Top dogs vie for Westminster title
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Wasabi could be the flavor of the year at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Or it might have a taste for Bourbon.
Dogdom heavyweights Bourbon the whippet and Wasabi the Pekingese are among finalists for Sunday’s best in show title, and they have plenty of competition: a French bulldog named Mathew, an old English Sheepdog called Connor and three more finalists not yet chosen.
Both Wasabi and Bourbon have won another big show, the American Kennel Club National Championship, and Bourbon was Westminster’s runner-up last year. Meanwhile, Bourbon jockeys for bragging rights with Mathew on a daily basis — the two dogs live together, since their handlers are married to each other. Wasabi is a grandson of a Westminster winner, Connor the son of a runner-up.
They’ll face off against the top working dog (a group with big and often protective breeds), sporting dog (such as retrievers and spaniels) and terrier (the spunky group with more Westminster wins than any other). The winners of those three groups get chosen Sunday evening, and then all seven finalists go back into the ring to vie for best in show.
“It’s always exciting every time, and you’re always hopeful,” said Wasabi’s handler and breeder, David Fitzpatrick, who guided the Peke’s grandfather Malachy to the Westminster title in 2012. “It’s an honor to be at Westminster.”
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