How the winner of the 2021 Westminister Dog Show, Wasabi, retires

How the winner of the 2021 Westminister Dog Show, Wasabi, retires

EASTERN BERLIN, Pa. – Last summer, for a short, bright moment, Beijing’s Wasabi was America’s most famous dog, posing next to the best show trophy at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, with all his hair and high hair.

However, the new champion will be crowned on Wednesday, when the 2022 competition ends at the Lyndhurst mansion in Tarritown, New York. This begs the question: What happened to the former champion? What will a dog do after reaching the peak of success?

During a recent visit to the village of Pennsylvania, the officially recognized GCHG CH Pequest Wasabi was found (the letters represent his winning credentials), was cold-blooded at home, and had already retired at the age of four. Trying to greet himself, he did not run away completely, but all deliberately moved fast, his magnificent locks fluttering like wheat blowing in the wind.

Do not rush to Pekingese. If there’s anything about Wasabi, he’s not his boss either. “If I throw a toy at him, he’ll go and get it, but he won’t return it,” said David Fitzpatrick, Wasabi’s grower, manager and partner. “She knows I’ll get it for her.”

Wasabi was the best dog in the country in 2021 and has 50 best wins on the show under his collar. In addition to the Westminster title, she won the Best American Show at the 2019 American Kennel Club National Championships and last year’s Morris & Essex Kennel Club Dog Show, an event where human participants are elegantly dressed every five years. Clothes from the early 20th century. These three titles make Vasabi a truly unique dog, equal to the Grand Slam winner’s dog in tennis.

However, it is unlikely that this time she will wear a small tiara or go around the country in the style of Miss America. Wasabi’s life is as usual, a schedule of uninterrupted sleep, eating, having fun, bending over and lying down. If he doesn’t change for success, it’s because winning Westminster is more fame than winning.

The best dog can get a little free food – 65-year-old Fitzpatrick is the ambassador of the Purina’s Pro Plan brand, which collects interchangeable points for food discounts and other benefits. But no money is exchanged in Westminster, unless we are talking about the cost to a person of transporting, caring for, feeding, and accommodating a participant. And, for example, unlike horse racing, winners do not command much or anything about pedigree.

Again, Wasabi raised six children. (Fitzpatrick took two of them out in a small flower basket. They refused to comment, they were only a few weeks old, but opened their eyes for a short time.) The dog is a perfect breed: His grandfather, Malachi, was the best winner on the show. Westminster in 2012; His nephew Fortune Cookie is competing in the show this year.

Even when he was a baby, Wasabi was meant for big things, even if it was just a small piece of sensitive hair.

“I knew it when he was 4 months old,” Fitzpatrick said. He just had a lot, a “Hey, look at me” attitude. Then when we put him in charge – sometimes it’s hard to get them moving – he took it like a bat from hell.

Not everyone immediately appreciates the subtle charm of a Pekingese. When resting on the ground, they look like magnificent spreading hair pieces. There is a way to hide the legs of the fur, which rises to the top of the tail and then descends, so they move with levitation, not perambulation. Their delicate faces give nothing.

During last year’s show, social media commentators compared Vasabi to, among other things, Furby and Cousin Itt from The Addams Family. New York magazine called it a “magnificent cotton ball.”

“People are always making fun of Beijing -” Why is your dog so slow? “Or,” Your dog looks like a mop, “Fitzpatrick said. “People will say everything to my face. I say: ‘You will not know the value of a Beijinger. They have appealed to good people for hundreds of years. It goes over their heads. “

Other contestants eagerly ran into the ring last year; Wasabi was carried in the arms of Fitzpatrick, known as the emperor. But the show’s best judge, Patricia Craige Trotter, immediately saw the dog’s star quality.

“You can’t deny it tonight,” Trotter said over the phone. According to the rules of the show – the winner is the dog that best embodies the perfect version of its breed – Wasabi became the fleeing champion.

Part of that was how close he was to Beijing, with his pear-shaped body, beautiful hairstyle, high tail, cunning leonic face, rolling seat, and heavier than the back half of the front. Trotter said he really looked like a “little lion” as intended for the breed.

And part of the real champion was je ne sais quoi. Trotter says Wasabi has a confident charisma that speaks of the noble origins of his gender in imperial China centuries ago.

“They’re not just a small fur ball,” he said. “This little breed was honored in a Chinese court, and it showed me that it has such a dignity.”

Fitzpatrick said he proudly refused to use the Beijing language for high-mindedness and attention, to humiliate himself for pleasure, to bring sticks, to drive cattle, to run for help, to be agile, or to do anything necessary to “work for a living.” prefers to do. sheep.

“Spaniards are very needy, they cling to you, they claw at you,” he said. “Golden retrievers – they’re always there and do incredible pets, but that’s not the type of temperament I like. I wouldn’t want that in a human being.”

On the contrary, he said: “Wasabi was trained to be a loving dog. He will come when called, but otherwise he does nothing but walk on the presenter. I don’t want my dogs to do anything but enjoy their little lives. ”

Dan Sayers, senior editor of Showsight Magazine, which covers the world of dog shows, said Beijingers need some experience to understand what makes them great.

“I have to admit that Beijingers are a gender I don’t fully understand,” he said. “When a dog has small legs and a lot of hair, you and I see that it looks like a ball of hair.

“But I visited David and sat on his floor and played with his dogs and they are 100 percent dogs,” he said. “They can move, run, jump, have fun and laugh. They are certainly sharper than we think. ”

At the end of the visit, it became clear that Wasabi was his own dog. Like most successful celebrities, she exposes herself to a seductive mix of intimacy and mystery, exposing herself enough to keep her fans more hungry. For a minute he rolls on his back, his paws swaying in the air with joy; next time he lies drunk behind a thick veil, muttering, “I want to be alone.”

“He loves people to visit; he thinks everyone is here to see him, ”Fitzpatrick said. “He doesn’t have to win a dog show to feel special. He always feels special. “

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