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The Westminster Kennel Club crowned its best in show on Tuesday night, with Malachy, a Pekingese, taking home the honors. Malachy was able to defeat a German shepherd, a Dalmatian, a Doberman pinscher, a Kerry blue terrier, an Irish setter and a dachshund in order to become the best dog in the country.

Malachy, only four, won his 115th best in show title for his career. The event took place at Madison Square Garden.


Malachy was chosen by Judge Cindy Vogels with an adoring crowd looking on chanting his name.

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

The winner at the Westminster Kennel Club event takes home the coveted silver bowl but not one penny in award money. Instead, the future for the dog and its owner is brightened by the chance to breed. Malachy is the fourth Pekingese to win at Westminster but the first to do so since 1990.

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There were over 2,000 purebred dogs in the competition, with Ace coming from Canada to faceoff with Beckham. Ace’s owner, Marlene Ness, said this was the first time the dog appeared at Westminster. Ace turned out to be lucky on Tuesday.

“I should have bought a Lotto ticket,” Ness said.

Judge Donald Sturz Jr. studied both Ace and Beckham before making a decision as to which one was the best overall dog in the group.

“Today was our day,” Ness said. “Eye of the tiger, baby!”

The Irish setter, named Emily, beat Ace in the sporting round of the competition.

A Tibetan mastiff named Major won his breed, which was only the start of an excellent day for his breeders, Debbie Parsons and Brad Slayton. The two married backstage in the benching area, which is where hundreds of the dogs are kept during the competition. Do not forget, Tuesday was Valentine’s Day.

The marriage ceremony lasted only five minutes and was performed by Cherilyn Frei, who is the wife of Westminster television host David Frei. Frei is a chaplain and also the director of family support with Ronald McDonald House in New York.

Parsons wore a pink Vera Wang dress while Slayton wore a silver tuxedo. Both of them also sported Westminster purple accents in their attire. Major stood between the couple during the ceremony, giving away the bride, and both kissed Major to celebrate the occasion.

“This dog brought us together,” Slayton said. “Today,” he said, while getting emotional, “I bought a Valentine’s Day card for my wife, not my girlfriend.”



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