America’s Top Dog

A Pekingese named Malachy wins Best in Show at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Show

Feb 15, 2012 | By Jaime Joyce
MICHAEL NAGLE—GETTY IMAGES

A pint-sized Pekingese with long, fluffy fur and a smushed-in face took the top prize last night at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club show in New York City. The dog has a regal name: Palacegarden Malachy. After being named Best in Show, Malachy celebrated by nestling his 11-pound body inside the coveted silver cup trophy. As camera’s flashed, the pooch stuck out his little pink tongue.

Handler and co-owner David Fitzpatrick holds Malachy the Pekingese after the dog won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 14, 2012.
MICHAEL NAGLE—GETTY IMAGES
Handler and co-owner David Fitzpatrick holds Malachy the Pekingese after the dog won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 14, 2012.

Competition for the top prize was fierce. Malachy beat out more than 2,000 dogs, including a Dalmation, a German Shepherd and a Kerry blue Terrier. But to Judge Cindy Vogels, Malachy was the clear winner.

“Super dog, and he had a stupendous night,” she said. “There’s a lot of dog in a small package.”

David Fitzpatrick is Malachy’s handler and co-owner. He says there will be no more shows for the four-year-old Peke. Malachy, he said, will most likely go home to East Berlin, Pennsylvania, to enjoy a quiet life in the country.

“He’ll probably chase squirrels and he’ll be pampered,” Fitzpatrick said.

Today, however, Malachy has a packed schedule. He made television appearances this morning and had lunch this afternoon at Sardi’s, a famous New York City restaurant, where he ate from a silver platter. Later, Malachy will visit businessman and TV personality, Donald Trump. On Thursday, he’ll raise a stubby leg to help ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.  

Kids Compete Too

Ania Gabrielle Kelly smiles with her dog Wizard after winning Best Junior in the 136th annual Westminster dog show.
SETH WENIG—AP
Ania Gabrielle Kelly smiles with her dog Wizard after winning Best Junior in the 136th annual Westminster dog show.

Dogs aren’t the only ones in the spotlight at Westminster. Young people ages 9 to 18 are eligible to take part in Junior Showmanship. In this competition, judges look carefully at the kids, not the dogs. They watch to see how well entrants handle their animals in the ring. This year’s winner was Ania Gabrielle Kelly, 16, from Dunkirk, Maryland. Her dog is an English Cocker Spaniel named Wizard.

About 100 kids from around the country came to New York City to show off their dogs at the two-day show. Eleven-year-old Macenzie Zeitz was one of them. She traveled eight hours to New York by car from Leroy, Ohio, with her dad and her dog, a Whippet named Puddin’.

“It is really amazing, and it’s also a real honor to be here,” Zeitz said. As she spoke, she stroked the skinny dog’s head and offered him bits of cooked chicken breast as a treat. Puddin’ was also enjoying Westminster, Zeitz said. But he was having fun after hours, too.

Added Zeitz, “He likes the hotel because he gets to sleep in the bed.”

To see photos from the show, and to learn more about the kids who competed, click here.