French bulldog crowned winner of National Dog Show for first time

Winston the French bulldog was named Best in Show at this year’s annual National Dog Show. The three-year-old dog is the first French bulldog to win the competition’s top prize.

The cream-coloured pup beat out 1,500 of dogs representing 212 breeds and varieties at the 21st annual dog show, which is hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia and broadcast on NBC following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Winston first declared victory in the Non-Sporting Group category out of 20 other dog breeds, before beating out six other finalists for best in show.

This win marks Winston’s 78th best in show title, making the French bulldog the number one ranked all-breed canine in the United States. However, it wasn’t Winston’s first experience with fame. Earlier this year, the pup appeared at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, where he received second place as Reserve Best in Show.

“He is a showdog with personality and beauty and a perfect fit for the breed,” said Vicki Seiler-Cushman, the Best in Show judge, in a press release. “He has a razzle dazzle that says ‘I am here to win tonight.’ You can just tell that he can also go home and be the perfect pet.”

Perry Payson, Winston’s handler and co-owner, also celebrated the Best in Show win.

“I get excited every time and so does Winston,” he said in a statement. “The National Dog Show in Philadelphia with the television exposure on Thanksgiving Day is obviously special. We’ve had a lot of support and that’s what happens with a dog of this quality.”

Upon announcing his victory, Payson lifted the bulldog into the air with a smile on the pet’s face. Winston’s co-owner is also NFL player Morgan Fox, defensive end for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Winston the French bulldog with his handler and co-owner, Perry Payson (Courtesy of National Dog Show)
Winston the French bulldog with his handler and co-owner, Perry Payson (Courtesy of National Dog Show)

Second place went to an English Toy Spaniel named Cooper and handler Christopher Keith of Dallas, Texas. Other winners included a German Shepherd in the Herding Group, an Irish Water dog in the Sporting Group, an American Staffordshire Terrier in the Terrier Group, the Tree Walking Coonhound in the Hound Group, and the Alaskan Malamute in the Working Group.

This year’s National Dog Show was also the first time three new dog breeds were allowed to compete in the show: the Bracco Italiano, the Russian toy, and the mudi.

Last year, a Scottish Deerhound named Claire made history as the first dog to win Best in Show two years in a row.

According to the American Kennel Club, the French bulldog is the second most popular dog breeds in the US, behind Labrador Retrievers as number one. Golden Retrievers are ranked third in popularity.