French bulldog Winston has snapped up the top prize at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia – with the three-year-old later described as having “movie star” quality. The perky canine was top of the pack at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, fending off strong competition from six other contenders to seal the Best in Show award on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday).
In an event televised by broadcaster NBC, Winston basked in the glory of his victory as he was hoisted aloft by his jubilant handler and co-owner Perry Payson to huge cheers.
Mr Payson then took him on a lap of honour so he could meet his adoring fans.
Wayne Ferguson, president of organisers the Philadelphia Kennel Club, said: “He walked over to the people and they were just like touching a movie star.
“We just had never seen anything quite like that. It was an explosion of applause.”
Best In Show judge Vicki Seiler-Cushman added: “He is a show dog with personality and beauty and a perfect fit for the breed.
“He has a razzle-dazzle that says, ‘I am here to win tonight.'”
French bulldogs, which are smaller than their English cousins, are the second-most popular breed in the US, beaten only by Labrador retrievers, with golden retrievers third, according to the American Kennel Club.
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The American Kennel Club this year approved three new breeds to compete in the show: the Bracco Italiano, the Russian toy and the mudi.
Going into the final round, Winston had already won in his non-sporting group, and then beat American Staffordshire terrier Trouble, from the terrier group, Reus the Alaskan Malamute from the working group, Nate the Treeing Walker Coonhound from the hound group, Sloane the Irish water spaniel of the sporting group, River the German shepherd from the herding group and Cooper the English toy spaniel from the toy group.
The second place prize, known as Reserve Best in Show, was taken by Cooper.
Winston later unwound after his exertions with some celebratory treats served on a silver platter.