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Westminster Dog Show Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second oldest continuous sporting event in the United States, after the Kentucky Derby.

May 8-9, 2023 – The 147th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York. Buddy Holly, a petit basset griffon Vendéen, wins Best in Show.

June 18-22, 2022 – The 146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York. A bloodhound named Trumpet wins Best in Show.

Facts

The show is “benched,” meaning the dogs must be on public display to ticket holders throughout the competition.

Dogs are invited to compete based on strict entry requirements, including how many other dogs they’ve defeated in breed competitions. Non-invited dogs can also compete if they have won a certain number of major dog show awards.

Breeds are categorized into groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.

The dogs compete for Best in Breed, then move up to Best in Group, then compete for the grand prize of Best in Show.

A total of 212 dog breeds and varieties are eligible for the 2023 show.

More than 3,000 dogs will compete for prizes at the 2023 event.

Wire fox terrier breed dogs have won the most Best in Show awards — 15 as of 2023.

Seven dogs have won more than one Best in Show. The most recent was an English springer spaniel named Chinoe’s Adamant James, who won in 1971 and 1972.

Timeline

1870s – The Westminster Kennel Club is started by a group of men who frequently meet at the Westminster Hotel in New York and are interested in dogs.

1876 – The WKC decides to put on an annual dog show to improve breeds of dogs and to raise public interest.

May 8-10, 1877 – The WKC presents the First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs. The show is held at Gilmore’s Gardens at Madison Avenue and 26th Street in New York City. The show is so popular with the public, it is extended an extra day.

1888 – The date of the show is moved from May to February.

1907 – The show presents its first Best in Show award, to a smooth fox terrier named Ch. Warren Remedy. He also wins in 1908 and 1909.

1921 – The show changes from four days to three days.

1923 – Best in Show is not awarded while the American Kennel Club works to put standards and regulations in place to ensure uniformity.

1941 – The show becomes a two-day event.

1984 – The biggest dog to win Best in Show is Seward’s Blackbeard, a 155-pound Newfoundland.

1988 – The smallest dog to win Best in Show is Great Elms Prince Charming II, a 4.5-pound Pomeranian.

2009 – Best in Show is a Sussex spaniel, Ch Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, aka Stump. At 10, he is the oldest winner in show history.

2013 – GCH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, aka Banana Joe or Joey, becomes the first affenpinscher to win Best in Show. Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect, aka Swagger, an English sheepdog, is named Reserve Best in Show, a runner-up award reintroduced for the 2013 show after not having been awarded since 1925.

August 11, 2015 – The WKC announces the addition of The Masters Obedience Championship to the 2016 show. This is the first time an obedience competition is a part of the Westminster Dog Show and, like the agility competition, mixed breed dogs will be eligible.

2019 – King, a wire fox terrier, wins Best in Show. This is the 15th time that a wire fox terrier has won Best in Show, more than any other breed.

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