How to retire a washer, winner of the 2021 Westminster Dog Show

East Berlin, Beijing – For a brief, dazzling moment last summer, Wasabi Pekingese was the most famous dog in America, with all the hair and authority, when he posed next to the top show cup at the Kennel Club Dog Show in Westminster.

But the new champion will be crowned on Wednesday, when the 2022 tournament ends in Lindhurst, Taritown, New York Palace, which raises questions: What happened to the old champion? When a dog reaches the pinnacle of success, what does it do next?

During a recent visit to Pennsylvania villages, GCHG CH Pequest Wasabi, as he is officially known (letters represent his certificate of victory), chilled at home, already half retired at the age of 4 years. But moving with all purposeful speed, its luxurious locks flutter like wheat in the breeze.

Do not rush Beijing. If there is one thing about Wasabi, it is that you are not its boss. “If I threw a toy at him, he would go and get it, but he would not return it,” said David Fitzpatrick, a washer builder, developer and co-owner. “He knows I’m going to replace him.”

Wasabi was the best dog in the country in 2021 and won up to 50 of the best wins on the show at his collar. In addition to the Westminster title, she won the best show at the 2019 American Kennel Club National Championships and last year at the Morris & Essex Kennel Club Dog Show, an event every five years in which participants dress up happily. Costumes of the early 20th century. These three titles make Wasabi a rare dog, the dog equivalent of a Grand Slam winner in tennis.

But he almost never spent that time wearing a teen tiara or running his American-style championship across the country. Wasabi’s life is the same as before, with a schedule of uninterrupted sleep, eating, priming, joking, and bedtime. If it’s largely unchanged for success, it’s because Westminster’s win is more than a win.

Top Dog Can Get Free Food – 65-year-old Fitzpatrick is the brand ambassador for Purina’s Pro Plan, which means he earns points that can be exchanged for food discounts and other benefits. But in Westminster the money does not change, except when it comes to the contestant’s transportation, care, food and accommodation. And unlike, say, horse racing, winners do not order too much, or anything at all, for a fee.

Nevertheless, Wasabi gave birth to six puppies. (Fitzpatrick pulled the two of them out into a small basket of flowers. They declined to comment because it was only a few weeks old, but briefly rolled their eyes.) The dog is from a flawless stock: his grandfather Malachia won the show best. Westminster in 2012; His nephew Fortune Cookie is participating in the show this year.

Even when he himself was a child, only a sensitive fluff, Wasabi seemed to be destined for great deeds.

“I knew this when he was 4 months old,” Fitzpatrick said. “He just had a lot of ‘Hey, look at me’ attitude. And then when we put him in charge – sometimes a struggle to move them – he was advancing like a bat out of hell.

Not everyone appreciates the sophisticated attractiveness of Pekingese. When they rest on the ground, they can look like magnificent wavy hairstyles. Their swollen fur, which rises above the tails and then runs in a cascade, has the potential to obscure their legs, so they appear to move through levitation rather than permutation. Their minute faces give us nothing.

During last year’s show, social media commentators compared Wasab, among other things, to Tribble, Furby, and Uncle Itt from the Adams family. New York magazine called it a “beautiful cotton ball.”

“People always make fun of Pekingese – ‘Why is your dog so slow?’ Or, ‘Your dog looks like a bitch,'” Fitzpatrick said. People of taste. “It goes directly to them.”

The other contestants enthusiastically made it to the ring last year; Wasabi was held in the arms of Fitzpatrick as Emperor. But the show’s best judge, Patricia Craig Trotter, immediately saw the dog’s star quality.

“He could not refuse this evening,” Trotter said by telephone. According to the rules of the show – that the winner is the dog that best embodies the perfect version of his breed – Wasabi was a runaway champion.

Part of it was how closely he adhered to Pekingese standards, approaching Peck Peak with his pear-shaped body, brilliant cuff, high tail, in the form of an insidious Leonine, moving gait, and the front half heavier than the back half. He really looked like a “little lion” as this breed is designed for, Trotter said.

Part of it was the real champion je ne sais quoi. Wasabi has a self-confident charisma, royal wearing, which speaks of the noble origins of his breed in imperial China many centuries ago, Trotter said.

“They are not just a little ball of fur,” he added. “This little breed was honored in a Chinese court and he pointed out that he had such dignity.”

Fitzpatrick said he preferred Beijing because of their elevated attitude, and proudly refused attention, diminished pleasure, brought sticks, herds of cattle, ran for help, performed agility, or did something that meant “working as a means of subsistence.” Put.

“The Spaniards are very poor, they are bound, they are holding your feet,” he said as a counter-example. “Golden Retrievers – they are always there and make fabulous pets, but that’s not the temperament I like. I did not even like it in people. “

On the contrary, he said: “Wasabi was trained as a loving dog. Will come when called, but otherwise do nothing but walk on the bullet. “I do not want my dogs to do anything but enjoy their little life.”

Dan Sayers, editor of Showsight magazine, which covers the world of dog show, said it took some experience to recognize what makes Beijing great.

“I have to admit that the Pekingese are a breed that I do not fully understand,” he said. “When a dog has small legs and a lot of hair, you and I see that it looks like a hair ball.

“But I visited David, sat on his floor and played with his dogs, and they are 100 percent dogs,” he continued. “They can move, run, jump, have fun and have fun. They are definitely more dogs than we thought. ”

At the end of the visit it was revealed that Wasabi was his dog. Like most successful celebrities, he reveals an attractive mix of intimacy and secrets, revealing enough of himself to keep fans more hungry. Spinning on his back for a minute, his toes fluttering cheerfully in the air; Then he stands flat on the ground and grumbles behind a thick curtain of hair just saying “I want to be alone.”

“He loves it when people visit; “He thinks everyone is here to see him,” Fitzpatrick said. “He does not need to win a dog show to feel special. He always feels special. “

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