Peke at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show winner

As America’s Top Dog for 2012, Malachy the Pekingese will now begin a media tour that George Clooney could only dream about. Photo: AP/Seth Wenig

SAN DIEGO, Feb 15, 2012NFL quarterback Tim Tebow emerged as the improbable, out of nowhere underdog hero in sports in 2012. Through the early rounds of the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show several unlikely Tim Tebows emerged with improbable victories against overwhelming favorites. But just as Tebow ran into Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, a veteran competitor eventually stopped the underdogs, complete with his own trendy hairdo.

It seems that it might be a year for a surprise Best in Show winner after early favorites like Beckham the black Cocker Spaniel, Eira the Wire-Haired Fox Terrier and London the Standard Poodle didn’t even win their breed competition, while Hound Group winner Cinders the Wire-Haired Dachshund and Nonsporting Group winner Ian the Dalmatian had the chance to be the first of their breeds ever to win Best in Show.

But the competition proved to be tough and out of 2,077 dogs entered, this year’s Best in Show winner was one of the early oddsmakers’ favorites, Malachy the Pekingese, Ch Palacegarden Malachy. It was Best in Show win number 115, but the one that counts most in the conformation show world. Pekes have won six Best in Shows at Westminster.

In a surprise victory in the Terrier Group, Chelsey the Kerry Blue Terrier wins at Westminster 2012. Photo: AP/Jason DeCrow

Malachy won against Terrier Group winner “Chelsey” the Kerry Blue Terrier; Working Group winner “Fifi” the Doberman Pinscher; Sporting Group winner “Emily” the Irish Setter; Hound Group winner “Cinders” the Wire-Haired Dachshund, Nonsporting Group winner “Ian” the Dalmation; and Herding Group winner “Capi,” the German Shepherd Dog.

As America’s Top Dog for 2012, Malachy will now begin a media tour that George Clooney could only dream about and be photographed more than Kim Kardashian could possibly handle, appearing on “Fox and Friends” (how appropriate), “The Today Show,” “Morning Joe,” “The View,” “Ellen,” and “Martha Stewart,” whose own dog, a Chow named GK, won his breed competition at Westminster. Malachy will also visit  the Empire State Building and Donald Trump for photo opps, and enjoy the traditional Steak on a Platter lunch for the Westminster Best in Show Champion from Sardi’s.

Malachy and David Frei of the Westminster Kennel Club who co-hosts the two-night television coverage, will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

Fifi the Doberman Pinscher shows the form that won her the Working Group win at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Photo: AP/Jason DeCrow.

While a casual observer might wonder how in the world a dog buried under a mop of hair and a rolling, unhurried gait could possibly compete with a gorgeous Irish Setter or athletic Doberman Pinscher, the Pekingese was competing not against these dogs, but against the written standard for the breed. Each dog must match up as closely to perfection as possible. This time, Malachy was closer to a perfect Pekingese than Capi was a perfect German Shepherd Dog.

Best in Show judge Cindy Vogel felt under Malachy’s thick coat to determine its structure and observed his gait and demeanor. She took a long look at Fifi the Doberman Pinscher and Capi the GSD, but Malachy was her choice. “With seven wonderful and worthy contenders tonight, I have but one ribbon to give,” said Vogel. “The winner of America’s Dog Show is… the Pekingese.”

The face of a winner: Westminster Best in Show Champion Malachy the Pekingese. Photo: AP/Seth Wenig.

After the win, Fitzpatrick said, “He gave me the vibration that he was very relaxed today,” He’s an extrovert in the ring and with all the noise and excitement, his adrenaline got going.

“I’m so proud to have such a dog of this quality to win a show like this. It’s the thrill of a lifetime.”

Malachy succeeds Hickory, the 2011 Best in Show winner. The Scottish Deerhound is now a mom, having whelped nine puppies in October. Once Malachy finishes his media tour and year-long reign, he will retire to life as the every day pet of his handler Fitzpatrick.

But no matter which dog wins Best in Show at Westminster, anyone who owns and loves a dog of any breed or of unknown background knows the dog at their side is the top dog in America. And they would be right.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read her regular column Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.


Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at” when quoting from or linking to this story.   

Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group



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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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