The flavor of the year at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show: Wasabi.

A Pekingese named Wasabi won best in show Sunday night, notching a fifth-ever win for the unmistakable toy breed. A whippet named Bourbon repeated as runner-up.

Waddling through a small-but-mighty turn in the ring, Wasabi nabbed U.S. dog world’s most prestigious prize after winning the big American Kennel Club National Championship in 2019.

“He has showmanship. He fits the breed standard. He has that little extra something, that sparkle, that sets a dog apart,” said Wasabi’s handler, breeder and co-owner, David Fitzpatrick. Show judge Patricia Trotter said simply: “What’s not to like about this dog? ... He stood there as though he was a lion.”

Fitzpatrick, of East Berlin, Pennsylvania, guided the Peke’s grandfather Malachy to the Westminster title in 2012. Still, he said, “I just don’t always think lightning is going to strike twice.”

The 3-year-old Pekingese was “pretty nonchalant about the whole thing,” his handler said. Indeed, Wasabi laid down on the podium, occasionally looking up as if to see what the fuss was all about, as Fitzpatrick spoke before a cluster of reporters and cameras.

Wasabi — the name derives from his mother, Sushi — came out on top of a finalist pack that also included Mathew the French bulldog, Connor the old English sheepdog, Jade the German shorthaired pointer, Striker the Samoyed, and a West Highland white terrier named Boy. Altogether, 2,500 champion dogs entered the show.

It underwent big changes this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, moving out of New York City for the first time since the show’s 1877 founding. This year’s show was held outdoors at an estate in suburban Tarrytown, about 25 miles north of where the top ribbon is usually presented at Madison Square Garden, and it happened in June instead of February.

In a sign of the pandemic times, some handlers wore masks — though vaccinated people were allowed to go without — and the show was closed to the public.

“It’s a miracle that they even had this show,” Fitzpatrick said.

Striker went into the show as the top-ranked U.S. dog, with more than 40 best-in-show wins since January 2020. And Bourbon had also won the AKC National Championship.

Boy had come a long way to Westminster — all the way from Thailand, where one of his owners was watching from Bangkok, according to handler Rebecca Cross.

“He always makes us laugh,” said Cross, of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Douglas Tighe, who handled a Brittany named Pennie, says he just goes with it if his dogs get distracted by birds and other attractions in the great outdoors.

“Let them have fun,” said Tighe, of Hope, New Jersey. “That’s what it’s all about.”

That’s what it’s about to Kole Brown, too. At age 9, he showed a bull terrier named Riley on Sunday alongside his parents and other family bull terriers.

“I have a lot of fun with this sport,” said Kole, of San Antonio, Texas. “Every single time I go into the ring, I have a smile on my face.”