Meet Winston, the French Bulldog Who Made History at 2022 National Dog Show Winner

Winston, a 3-year-old French bulldog, took home the top prize at the 2022 National Dog Show.

The French bulldog won best in show at the competition hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia and broadcast on Thanksgiving Day.

This honor made the canine the first of his breed in the history of the American Kennel Club to win the top prize at the show.

Winston, who was raised as a puppy by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Morgan Fox, is no stranger to receiving top accolades at competitions. He has 78 best in show titles to his name and won reserve best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in June.

On Friday, Nov. 25, Winston, who competed in the non-sporting group, and his handler Perry Payson stopped by TODAY along with the competition's host David Frei.

Payson described the moment Winston was announced the winner as “amazing."

“When the judge pointed to him, the enthusiasm that he has rubs off on me," he said. "Just to pick him up and run up to the judge and just to feel that moment was incredible.”

Winston, 2022 National Dog Show winner, stops by TODAY
Winston, 2022 National Dog Show winner, stops by TODAY (TODAY)

This year’s show was the first year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the arena was at capacity. Frei said that the energy at the venue was “huge."

“The dogs take the energy from the crowd, from their handler, from their fans, and their friends," he said.

When it came to Winston’s success, Frei attributes his win to several factors.

“They have to be perfect specimens of their breed,” he explained. “They have to have all of the things that their standard calls for, but they also have to have a little bit of showmanship, charisma, whatever you want it to be. He’s got it all and he’s going to do a lot of winning before he retires and gets into the breeding program.”

Winston has several more big shows coming up before his retirement, where he’ll go into some obedience programs. For now, he’s celebrating in his own way with a special treat: a puppuccino!

This year, the National Dog Show featured three new breeds. Hosts John O’Hurley and Frei stopped by TODAY on Wednesday, Nov. 23 to introduce some of the dogs and breeds who were newly recognized by the American Kennel Club due to their increased presence in the United States.

A Bracco Italiano dog debuted in the sporting group, a Russian toy breed debuted in the the toy group, and a Mudi breed debuted in the herding group.

Following last year’s competition, Claire, a Scottish deerhound, stopped by TODAY after taking home the 2021 National Dog Show title in a historic win. The canine became the first dog to take home the best in show title two years in a row at the annual competition.

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