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A New Star Shines at Progressive

By Amy Fernandez

Among other things, Westminster 2018 was a nice antidote to those dire predictions about the future of this sport. In addition to the sold out crowd packing the Garden Tuesday night, a crop of young dogs added quite a jolt to the week. That started Friday when Ch. Pequest Feel The Burn, aka Bernie, took BIS at Progressive. Just 14 months old, he’s piled up a show record that his breeder/owner/handler David Fitzpatrick can only describe as surreal. And that’s quite a statement from someone who has broken Pekingese records for decades.

“I have been excited about Bernie from the moment he got up on his feet. He was everything a Pekingese should be right from the start.” Since most don’t live and breathe Pekingese, let’s elaborate on that a bit.

“I wouldn’t call him over-exaggerated, but he has all the breed type boxes ticked. They should have a short neck. He has an extra short neck. Pear shaped body?  You don’t need to feel his body to know he is really pear shaped. Is he compact? His body is extra compact. You don’t need to examine his head and think about whether it has that rectangular envelope shape.”

Fitzpatrick says, “He was so good it was almost frightening.” This sport teaches you to keep a lid on your expectations and Fitzpatrick concedes that he was “on pins and needles.” Still, Bernie’s got some decent credentials. “He’s very reminiscent of his grandfather, (GCH. Palacegarden Malachy). That look really kicked in with Bernie. Chucky (GCH. Pequest Pickwick) is his uncle. His mother is Chucky’s sister, Lulu, and his father is General Tso.” (GCH S. Pequest General Tso)  You don’t need to be a Pekingese expert to know what this adds up to regarding type.

Rock solid pedigree, consistent type…but as Fitzpatrick admits Pekingese aren’t known for big winning puppies. “Usually I don’t special a dog until it’s older.  This just sorta happened,” he says.

Bernie made his debut the national specialty weekend last October. “He won BOB all three days from the BBE class at ten months old so he was really a champion in three shows at ten months.” For good measure the next weekend he took three groups and a Reserve Best In Show. The details are on the record. Let’s just say that Bernie’s test run was pretty phenomenal.

“It’s one thing when you know your dog is good,” he says. But the most gratifying part, the reason we do this, as Fitzpatrick says “Is being excited about a dog and then bringing it out and the judges get excited, too.”

Bernie took a little break until Progressive rolled around.  “I was really looking forward to showing him to Frank Sabella.”  Fitzpatrick wasn’t the only one. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. But it didn’t matter. Bernie’s BIS at Progressive under Fred Bassett was a prelude to his Group Second at the Garden Monday night.

Even Fitzpatrick is having trouble getting his head wrapped around this situation. “You don’t always get a world class dog. Some dogs come close but every breeder can tell you that it’s like playing darts. Every once in a while you hit the bulls-eye. And when it happens, it’s a stroke of luck. And I’m getting older. At this point in my life you never know.  I made up my mind when this year started I was going to enjoy showing my dog.” And so far, there’s been plenty to enjoy.

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Posted by on Feb 21 2018. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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