Westminster Kennel Club
Top Moments: Sunday at the 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Westminster Kennel Club

Top Moments: Sunday at the 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Updated Jun. 14, 2021 11:09 a.m. ET

The 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has come to a close, and "America's Dog Show" has officially crowned this year's Best in Show!

The competition heated up on Saturday at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, N.Y. as Verb took home the Master Agility Champion title for the second time in three years and four Group winners were selected to advance to the Best in Show judging. 

The Westminster weekend action continued Sunday with the 6th Annual Masters Obedience Championship and WKC Junior Showmanship competition, followed by Breed Judging in the three remaining Groups. 


The final day of competition kicked off with the Junior Showmanship Preliminaries, and FOX Sports' Charlotte Wilder – co-host of "The People's Sports Podcast" – spoke with two of Sunday's entrants whose journeys to the competition are nothing short of inspirational. 

Turns out, not even an emergency kidney removal could stop 10-year-old Landon Livingston from making his Westminster junior handler debut with his Field Spaniel, Apollo. He came all the way to Tarrytown without his parents after a family emergency right before the event jeopardized his chance at attending. 

Charlotte Wilder shares the incredible journey of one junior handler’s road to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

The road to the 145th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is different for every handler. Charlotte Wilder shares the incredible journey of one junior handler.

Wilder also spoke with 16-year-old Ava Hata right after she and her diabetic alert dog, Presley, a Longhaired Dachshund, were selected for one of the top eight junior showmanship finalist spots. Hata, who has type 1 diabetes, has shown at Westminster for many years, but this is her first time advancing to compete for the Best Junior Handler title. Hata and Presley placed third overall. 

Charlotte Wilder introduces us to Ava and her diabetic alert dog, Presley

Among the competitors at the 145th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is Ava, a junior handler. Charlotte Wilder shares her unique story and introduces us to her incredible dog, Presley.

As the Junior Showmanship Preliminaries wrapped up, the Masters Obedience Championship was full steam ahead at the other end of the Lyndhurst Estate. 

In the first round, the nation’s top-ranked obedience dogs performed a variety of utility and signal exercises, but the real action took place in the second round of competition when each team performed a six-minute routine (created by the handlers) to showcase their dog's unique skills and talents in range of obedience.

Of the 15 dogs ranging from a Pembroke Welsh Corgi to a Belgian Malinois that competed on Sunday, Retrievers were the top-represented breed in this year's obedience challenge with seven entries. Last year, a black Labrador Retriever named Heart won it all with a best-combined score of 287 out of 300 for the title of Masters Obedience Champion – an accomplishment she and her handler Linda Brennan of Columbia, New Jersey have logged every year since the competition was added in 2016. 

This year, newcomers had a chance at the trophy as Heart officially "retired" from competing in 2020 after her fifth consecutive Obedience Championship victory, and it was indeed a Golden Retriever, Augustus, who took home the 2021 WKC Masters Obedience Champion title. 

In fact, Retrievers nabbed three of the top four spots. 

With the obedience competition in the books, so was Breed Judging of the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups. (The obedience challenge is separate from Best in Show and thus the events happen simultaneously.) The breed winners then competed against other breeds in their respective group as part of Group Judging in order to advance to the final Best in Show judging.

Sunday's three Group winners went on to compete against the four winners that were selected on Saturday. They are:

- Hound Group: Bourbon the Whippet (Reserve Best in Show, 2020) 
- Toy Group: Wasabi the Pekingese
- Non-Sporting: Mathew the French Bulldog
- Herding Group: Connor the Old English Sheepdog

The Sporting Group was the largest of the final three groups judged on night two with 34 breeds entered, followed by the Terrier Group (32) and Working Group (31). 

Sunday's first winner was Jade the German Shorthaired Pointer for the Sporting Group. Jade's father, CJ, won Best in Show at the 140th Annual WKC Dog Show in 2016, but sadly, he recently passed away in 2020. Jade and her handler Valerie Nunes-Atkinson of Temecula, California came to Westminster to continue CJ's legacy. Way to go, Jade! 

The next winner was Striker the Samoyed – a favorite to win the Working Group this year – followed by the Doberman, Great Dance and Pyrenees. The Samoyed breed is commonly known as "the smiling sledge dog," and Striker's pearly whites were on full display Sunday night. 

The Terriers were the last to show, and Boy, a West Highland White Terrier, and his handler Rebecca Cross took home the final Group win of the night – beating out the Mini Schnauzer, Border Terrier and Wire Fox Terrier for the top spot. A "Westie" hasn't won the top prize since 1962, but the Terrier Group is the all-time winningest Group when it comes to WKC Best in Show titles. 

After the last of the seven Group winners were chosen, the stage was set to crown this year's champion.

On Sunday, Wasabi the Pekingese was awarded Best in Show – beating out 2,499 dogs and 208 breeds for the highly coveted blue ribbon. It is the fifth overall win for the breed and 10th for the Toy Group.

Coming in a close second place was Bourbon the Whippet with the Reserve Best in Show title for the second consecutive year. 

Here are the top moments from Sunday's action. 

The final day of competition was a star-studded event in more ways than one. FOX Sports' Jennifer Hale caught up with 14-time MLB All-Star and San Francisco Giants legend Barry Bonds, who is showing his Miniature Schnauzer, Rocky, in the Terrier Group competition. Dog dads, unite! 

On Sunday, the Dogo Argentino and Barbet made history with their WKC debut. They are two of the four new AKC-recognized breeds – along with Belgian Laekenois and Biewer Terrier – that participated in Westminster weekend for the first time. 

And that’s a wrap on the 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show! For a comprehensive list of 2021 WKC winners thus far, click here for Best of Breed, Group, Junior Showmanship, Obedience and Agility Results. 


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