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He came, he strutted and to everyone's surprise - he conquered! That pretty much sums up the reaction that many people had when 4-year old Pekingese, Malachy was named Top Dog at the 136th Westminster Kennel Dog Show, which took place at New York's Madison Square Garden on February 14th. However, while the audience may have been a little surprised by the stubby hair ball's victory, Malachy was not - After all, this was his 115th 'Best of The Show' title.
To win this prestigious title that is often called 'Super Bowl of the dog world' the pug-nosed canine had to fend off some tough competition from 2,000 dogs representing over 185 breeds, including Mastiffs, German Shepherds and even a Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican hairless dog. However, the challenge did not seem to faze this fur ball - He simply put his best paw forward and impressed the judges with his calm and composed demeanor, not to mention, unusual looks.
And, while the audience may have been surprised by the judge's final pick, according to experts Malachy was a shoe-in for the prestigious title. That's because dogs are not judged against their peers, but against the definition of what their breed should look like - and this winner fit the bill perfectly with his wide skull, heart-shaped ears, wide nostrils, bowed front legs and most of all the dignified, calm manner with which he handled himself amidst the chaos. At 11 pounds, he was also the ideal weight, since the rules stipulate that Pekingese dogs have to weigh less than 14 pounds to qualify for the competition.
The day after winning the coveted purple and gold rosette and shiny bowl, Malachy and his owner did the customary interviews on several national television shows before heading to the top of New York's Empire State Building for a photo shoot. From there, it was time for the traditional meal at Sardi's, where Malachy chose to dine on chicken and rice in lieu of the traditional steak. Turns out that thanks to new rules imposed by New York's health department, Malachy was the last 'top dog' to enjoy the scrumptious meal on a silver platter inside the restaurant. From next year, the winner will have to be satisfied with a doggy bag.
Now that the hoopla has ended, Malachy will head back to his home in New Berlin, Pennsylvania, where according to his owner David Fitzpatrick, he will spend the rest of his life chasing squirrels - For this top dog has now officially retired from competitions!
Resources: boston.com, dailymail.co.uk, csmonitor.com