Wasabi is the national champion!
The fluffy Pekingese was named Best in Show at the 2019 American Kennel Club National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, which aired on Animal Planet on Wednesday. The competition had been held in Orlando, Fla., in mid-December.
“I had no expectations,” David Fitzpatrick, Wasabi’s breeder, owner and handler admitted to the club after their win. “Wasabi is a young dog that won one Best in Show before this and has been shown very little sparingly. Dogs like that do not win Best in Show in Orlando.”
His little Pekingese is just 20-months-old, and Fitzpatrick believes it was the pup’s personality that really shone through to the judges.
“He’s very charismatic,” he said. “The first time I put him on a lead as a puppy, I thought, ‘You’re a winner.’ He just pulled himself together, got his head up, and carried himself around with this tremendous pride.”
The ball of fluff, who comes from a family of Pekingese winners, beat out over 5,200 other competitors and secured a $50,000 cash prize in addition to the title.
“Like anything in life, things can change in a second,” Fitzpatrick said. “Wasabi went from an unknown dog to a history-making dog.”
When it comes to maintaining the dog’s voluminous mane, Fitzpatrick tells Good Morning America that he has to spend an hour each day grooming the pup’s long locks.
“His coat is incredible, especially for such a young dog,” he told the outlet. “We’ll trim a little off and then before you know it you’ve got to do it again, it’s amazing. But he gets groomed every day.”
For the next month, Wasabi will keep up appearances by competing at a few smaller shows before making his way to New York City for the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in February.