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Winston the French bulldog has won the National Dog Show

Three-year-old Winston was the best-in-show winner at the 2022 National Dog Show.
Steve Donahue/National Dog Show
Three-year-old Winston was the best-in-show winner at the 2022 National Dog Show.

Winston, a cream-colored French bulldog, claimed top honors at this year's National Dog Show. The three-year-old beat out six other finalists for best in show at the annual event, hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia and broadcast by NBC on Thanksgiving Day.

After he was announced winner, Winston was hoisted into the air and whirled above the royal-blue carpet by his handler and co-owner, Perry Payson. There was a huge cheer from the crowd. Winston sported a big smile.

Winston runs with handler Perry Payson at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia.
/ Bill McCay/NBC
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Bill McCay/NBC
Winston runs with handler Perry Payson at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia.

Payson later took Winston into the audience so people could pet him.

"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," said Wayne Ferguson, president of the Philadelphia kennel club.

NBC's Mary Carillo (left) talks to Perry Payson, handler of Winston the French bulldog, the 2022 National Dog Show Best In Show Winner.
/ Bill McCay/NBC
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Bill McCay/NBC
NBC's Mary Carillo (left) talks to Perry Payson, handler of Winston the French bulldog, the 2022 National Dog Show Best In Show Winner.

"He is a show dog with personality and beauty and a perfect fit for the breed," said Vicki Seiler-Cushman, the best in show judge, in a statement. "He has a razzle dazzle that says, 'I am here to win tonight.'"

According to the American Kennel Club, French bulldogs are the second-most popular breed in the U.S., beat only by Labrador retrievers. Golden retrievers are the third most popular.

Wire Fox Terrier, left, and Standard Poodle, right.
/ Bill McCay/NBC
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Bill McCay/NBC
Wire Fox Terrier, left, and Standard Poodle, right.

Winston has several owners, including NFL player Morgan Fox, a defensive end for the Los Angeles Chargers. He helped raise Winston as a puppy. One of the show's announcers quipped that the small but muscular Winston "runs like a little linebacker."

Winston — whose registered show name is GCHP Fox Canyon's I Won The War at Goldshield — has collected a number of titles over the years. This win marks his 78th best in show title, making Winston the No. 1 ranked all-breed canine in the U.S.

Cooper, an English toy spaniel, was the 2022 National Dog Show Reserve Best In Show winner.
/ Bill McCay/NBC
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Bill McCay/NBC
Cooper, an English toy spaniel, was the 2022 National Dog Show Reserve Best In Show winner.

This year, the American Kennel Club approved three new breeds to compete in the National Dog Show: the Bracco Italiano, the Russian toy and the mudi.

Winston had already won in his non-sporting group before heading into the final round. There he beat out an American Staffordshire terrier named 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.

Cooper captured the second place prize, known as Reserve Best in Show.

After the excitement of today's event wound down, Winston was seen enjoying some celebratory treats served on a silver tray.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jackie Northam is NPR's International Affairs Correspondent. She is a veteran journalist who has spent three decades reporting on conflict, geopolitics, and life across the globe - from the mountains of Afghanistan and the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, to the gritty prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the pristine beauty of the Arctic.