Entertainment

Bone to pick: Westminster dog show winner Wasabi sparks controversy

Wasabi’s first 24 hours of stardom have been ruff.

The Pekingese who won the coveted Best in Show title at Sunday’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is fetching online criticism for allegations of animal mistreatment and cultural appropriation, along with sheer surprise.

“What’s not to like about this dog?” show judge Patricia Trotter rhetorically asked Sunday.

Well, Twitter answered Monday — and they had a bone to pick.

One user, Jemima Harrison, pointed out how the unnaturally overgrown dog had to be kept on a cooling pad, calling it “the terrible price these poor dogs pay for human vanity.”

That was a bone of contention for other users, too.

“I don’t hate, just wish we wouldn’t breed dogs to have such unnatural and harmful characteristics. We have it in our power to change this,” one critic said.

Others more bluntly sniffed out Wasabi’s looks.

“This isn’t a dog. This is what comes out of my dryer vent when I get it cleaned,” one person tweeted about the apparently lint-looking canine.

“Breeding & keeping dogs like these should be illegal in the 21st [century],” wrote another Twitter user. “I mean why is that good? It’s a thing to carry, place on a cushion, groom. What kind of pet is that? The ‘dog’ does not care how ‘mean’ anyone is on Twitter FFS. He just wants to breath [sic] properly.”

Many fans and viewers felt Wasabi's looks were cruel to the dog's well being.
Many fans and viewers felt Wasabi’s looks were cruel to the dog’s well-being.
AFP via Getty Images

The Peke’s name — derived from the spicy Japanese paste often paired with sushi, which is his mother’s name — was in critics’ crosshairs also because his handler, breeder and co-owner is a white man named David Fitzpatrick.

“Me, an hour ago: Yay, a Chinese breed won the Westminster Dog Show! Me now: Wait, this white man named the dog Wasabi,” James Yeung tweeted.

CNN anchor John Berman also barked up the dog show’s tree, criticizing that neither a Lab nor a golden retriever has ever won the elite competition. He noted that it’s the fifth time a “rarefied,” “inbred” Pekingese won.

The Post has reached out to Westminster for comment.


nypost.com

New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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