Wasabi was the hot taste in June at the Westminster Kennel Club’s world famous dog show. The glorious Pekingese, officially known as Grand Champion Pequest Wasabi, was the number one show dog of all breeds in 2020. Westminster always takes place in February at Madison Square Garden in New York City. That year, due to COVID restrictions, the 145th edition of the show moved outdoors to Lyndhurst Mansion, a neo-Gothic castle set in a stately 67-acre park beside the Hudson River in Tarrytown, half an hour south of town.
As always, Wasabi was looked after by breeder-owner David Fitzpatrick, who has dedicated himself to perfecting this breed for the past 50 years. The judge who referred him to Best in Show was Patricia Craige Trotter, who is equally revered in the world of dog shows. She won the Best in Hound Group at Westminster 11 times and ran her own Norwegian Elkhounds. Wasabi had big paws to fill as the great-grandson of “Malachy”, the winner of the Westminster Best in Show 2012.
The Pekingese breed has been the companion of royalty for centuries, and when Wasabi beat his six rivals in the Best in Show ring, he felt “like he was three meters tall and standing there like a lion,” as Judge Trotter put it.