The second time was the charm for Malachy the Pekingese at Westminster.
Malachy, a Best in Show finalist at last year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, won the top prize Tuesday night at this year’s installment at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The squat and hairy 4-year-old from Pennsylvania became the fourth Pekingese - and only the 10th dog from the toy group - to win Best in Show in the 105-year history of the award.
“I’m still in shock,” Malachy’s handler and co-owner, David Fitzpatrick, told USA Network seconds after the prize was given. “It’s such a thrill, and I’m just so proud to have a dog that’s of this quality that could win a show like this and have an opportunity to exhibit him here. It’s the thrill of a lifetime.”
Malachy won the toy group - for the second straight year - a day earlier, and vied for Best in Show with the winners of six other groups. The last toy to win Best in Show was a papillon, in 1999.
Judges are instructed to evaluate dogs on how well they fit the written standards - the ideal appearance, movement, temperament and other traits - of their breed. Judge Cindy Vogels of Colorado made her decision after inspecting the seven group winners in front of a crowd that cheered its favorites.
Besides Malachy, the other group winners - and Best in Show finalists - were:
- Hound: A dachshund named Playing With Fire.
- Nonsporting: A Dalmatian named Ruffian.
- Herding: A German shepherd named Captain Crunch.
- Sporting: An Irish setter named Caught Red Handed.
- Terrier: A Kerry blue terrier named Chelsey.
- Working: A Doberman pinscher named Veni Vidi Vici.
Terriers have won 45 of the 105 Westminster Best in Show titles. About 2,000 dogs, representing 185 breeds, were competing in this year's show.
Last year, a hound - Hickory the Scottish deerhound - became the first of her breed ever to capture Westminster’s Best in Show, and only the fifth dog from the hound category to win.