Pekingese becomes America's top dog at Westminster

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The Peke was pooped.

Malachy the Pekingese was totally worn out Wednesday, a day after he wobbled off with best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club.

The bitty 4-year-old with the smushed-in face, flowing fur and slower-than-slow walk kept falling asleep during a visit to Sardi's restaurant in the Theater District. He also passed up the traditional day-after steak lunch after eating his regular meal of chicken and rice.

"He's tired, you poor boy," co-owner and handler David Fitzpatrick cooed. "You're going to pass out."

Malachy did, in fact. Several times, actually, while resting on a vinyl cool pack on a table alongside his championship ribbon and shiny silver bowl.

He snores, by the way.

The eyes that were so sparkly at Madison Square Garden during America's biggest dog show on Tuesday night had a hard time staying open, even when prompted by Fitzpatrick and fashion designer Michael Kors.

Malachy can afford to rest. He's already had grand-pups and is now retired after taking 115 best in show titles overall.

"He's won enough," Fitzpatrick said.

The 11-pound pooch will head home to East Berlin, Pa., to be a house pet. He also likes to stretch his tiny legs outdoors.

"Chases rabbits," Fitzpatrick said. "Tries."

Also, he said, in Malachy's future: "Have time for the ladies."

No need for a haircut to look his best. A Peke's hair naturally grows to its long length and doesn't require any trimming, just a lot of grooming.

Malachy beat out an impressive lineup of a Dalmatian, German shepherd, Doberman pinscher, Irish setter, Kerry blue terrier and wire-haired dachshund to become the nation's No. 1 pooch.

While the Garden crowd cheered louder and louder with every little step Malachy took on the green carpet, not everyone agreed with judge Cindy Vogels' choice.

The web immediately lit up with comments lampooning this Peke and the breed in general, with CNBC's Darren Rovell tweeting, "The Westminster Dog show winner the Pekingese is closer to a cat."

CNBC, incidentally, shared the television coverage on the opening night of the two-day show.

Fitzpatrick said there was a late-night party after the win. And by the time Malachy woke up early for the usual next-day tour of the town, he was already tuckered out.

Malachy made the rounds at the morning talk shows, then a visit to the top of the Empire State Building was canceled because of inclement weather. By the time he got to Sardi's shortly before 1 p.m., it had been a long day.

Fitzpatrick said Malachy was petted by about a thousand people during his trek through the city.

"I think he does know something's up," he said, telling Malachy "you're a celebrity now."

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AP videojournalist Joe Frederick contributed to this report.

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