It was the second time a bichon frisé has won at Westminster. The first was J.R., who won over the crowd in 2001 with his trademark move: a wave to his fans with both front legs.
Flynn, however, kept all four paws on the ground in what McFadden said was probably his last trot around the ring.
“I’m pretty sure I can drop the mike and say he’s retired,” McFadden said.
The competition was tough. When Bean the Sussex spaniel sat up on his hind legs and begged for chicken, the crowd melted.
“He felt the energy,” Bean’s handler, Per Ingar Rismyhr, said. Even the judge was not immune. Bean upset two sporting group favorites: Striker the cocker spaniel, the No. 3 dog last year; and Angus the clumber spaniel.
When Bean flashed his best pout and begged again, he had secured his status as the fan favorite.
“He just does it naturally,” said Rismyhr, noting Bean’s long body.
While Bean was the sentimental pick, there was plenty of love to go around. Before the handler Katie Bernardin led Ty, the giant schnauzer, around the ring, she planted a kiss on his mouth. After Ty won the working group, he leapt into Bernardin’s arms and wrapped his front paws around her back, nearly knocking her down.
But this night belonged to a dog no less a giant. When Flynn draped his paws over a sign that read best in show, he looked quite like a dog that belonged.