Mop Wins Best in Show at Westminster Dog Show

Wasabi 2021 Westminster Best in Show winner

Wait, what? That’s a dog, not a mop? Mmmkay. Congrats, I guess, to Wasabi, a Pekinese who won the top honor last night as Best in Show at the 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Like my blog title says, I love dogs, and that includes Pekes. Yet I feel the winner of a dog show should be something that actually looks like a dog, not a cleaning accessory. My feelings haven’t changed since 2012, when I wrote an i Love Dogs story about Malachy, another Pekinese/mop lookalike who somehow won the Best in Show honor that year. (That story has sadly disappeared from the internet.)

Malachy happens to be Wasabi’s grandfather. They both have the same breeder, David Fitzpatrick. Wasabi “is just a wonderful dog and he’s made correctly. He has showmanship,” Fitzpatrick told CNN. “He fits the breed standard. He has that little extra something, that little sparkle that sets a dog apart.”

Fitzgerald’s remark about Wasabi being “made correctly” is exactly what irks me about breeding dogs to achieve certain appearance standards. This practice has lead to serious health issues, especially for short-nosed breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs and, yep, Pekes.

“What’s not to like about this dog?” asked Best in Show judge Patricia Craige Trotter regarding her dubious choice. “He stood there as though he was a lion.” I can’t quite figure out how she was able to discern this, and on behalf of all lions, my apologies.

At least Trotter’s pick for the runner-up, a Whippet named Bourbon, could easily be identified as a dog.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is usually held in February at Madison Square Garden, but because of the COVID pandemic, it was postponed to June this year and held in Tarrytown, N.Y.

I admit I do watch the show each year because…dogs! But my favorite canine competition is the American Rescue Dog Show, which debuted in 2018. It celebrates all dogs, not just those bred to meet a certain appearance standard. This year’s show was canceled due to the pandemic, but hopefully it will return in 2022.

Photo: FOX Sports/YouTube

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!