French bulldog crowned winner of National Dog Show for first time

Winston the French bulldog was named Best in Show at this year’s annual National Dog Show. The three-year-old dog is the first French bulldog to win the competition’s top prize.

The cream-coloured pup beat out 1,500 of dogs representing 212 breeds and varieties at the 21st annual dog show, which is hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia and broadcast on NBC following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Winston first declared victory in the Non-Sporting Group category out of 20 other dog breeds, before beating out six other finalists for best in show.

After he was announced winner, the French bulldog was reportedly hoisted into the air by his handler and co-owner – Perry Payson – while the pet sported a big smile, per NPR. Winston has several other owners, including NFL player Morgan Fox, defensive end for the Los Angeles Chargers.

“He walked over to the people and they were just like touching a movie star. We just had never seen anything quite like that. It was an explosion of applause," Wayne Ferguson, president of the Philadelphia kennel club, recalled to the outlet.

This win marks Winston’s 78th best in show title, making the French bulldog the number one ranked all-breed canine in the United States. Earlier this year, the pup appeared at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, where he was named winner of the Non-sporting Group category.

This year’s National Dog Show was also the first time three new dog breeds were allowed to compete in the show: the Bracco Italiano, the Russian toy, and the mudi.

Winston the French bulldog with his handler and co-owner, Perry Payson (Courtesy of National Dog Show)
Winston the French bulldog with his handler and co-owner, Perry Payson (Courtesy of National Dog Show)

Other winners included the English Toy Spaniel, winner of the Toy Group, who was named Reserve Best in Show. The German Shepherd Dog won the Herding Group, the Irish Water Dog won the Sporting Group, the American Staffordshire Terrier won the Terrier Group, the Tree Walking Coonhound won the Hound Group, and the Alaskan Malamute won the Working Group.

Last year, a Scottish Deerhound named Claire made history as the first dog to win Best in Show two years in a row.

The French bulldog is the second most popular dog breeds in the US, behind Labrador Retrievers as number one, according to the American Kennel Club. Golden Retrievers are ranked third in popularity.