2012 marks the 136th year of the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the competition has been ferocious! While some canines seemed to shine more than others in the eyes of the judges, they all looked like winners to us.  But the actual winner this year is…

Malachy the Pekingese!

Palacegarden Malachy was awarded “Best in Show,” the top prize at Westminster. The four-year-old, 11-pound Pekingese is the first in his breed to go all the way since 1990. He also faced some stiff competition this year.

You’d be surprised at how much this dog shows means to these determined pet owners. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the nation’s second-longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby. (Oddly enough, both events feature beautiful and highly trained animals.) The dogs in the Westminster show are judged on looks, training and movement on the course. (If you’ve ever seen ‘Best In Show’ then you know how intense these shows can be.)

Day one of the nation’s premiere canine competition had a few big winners in the ‘Best in Group’ event. The winners of the best breed competition separated into four distinguishing categories: Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.

Some winners included a wire-haired Dachshund for the hound group, a Dalmatian for the non-sporting group and a German Shepherd for the herding group. The winner of the Herding breeds this year was a beautiful German shepherd named Captain Crunch.

Malachy was favored to win and lived up to the hype by sweeping the Toy breed group competition

Check out  video on the finalists below, as well as a few photos of Malachy and some of the more adorable pups in the competition. They sure look like winners to us!