Westminster: America’s Celebration Of All Things Dog Since 1877
The 146th annual Westminster Dog Show is underway at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, NY. More than 3,000 dogs representing 209 breeds will compete for the coveted Best In Show title.
As tradition dictates, the award does not come with a cash prize. The winner walks away with just a trophy, bragging rights, and the respect of their peers. Last year’s Best In Show, Wasabi the Pekingese, has hung up her leash, meaning a brand new champion will be crowned in 2022.
Before we reveal this year’s exceptional dogs, let’s take a look at the history of this beloved event.
Westminster: America’s Dog Show
The Westminster Kennel Club, established in 1877 by a group of dog-loving hunters, is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. It is the nation’s second-longest continuously held sporting event. Only the Kentucky Derby, which began two years earlier in 1875, predates it.
The event has survived power outages, snowstorms, a national depression, two World Wars, a tugboat strike, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Westminster Fun Facts:
- Westminster predates the founding of the governing body of the sport, the American Kennel Club, which was established in 1884.
- The first telecast of Westminster was in 1948, three years before “I Love Lucy” premiered.
- The dog show has been held in all four editions of Madison Square Garden and is currently the only organization that has.
- Westminster has been held at Madison Square Garden for all but eight years since its existence.
- In 2021 and again in 2022, the show was moved to the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, NY, due to COVID-19 concerns.
- The Masters Agility Championship held its inaugural trial in 2014 as part of Westminster Week.
112 individual dogs have won the Best In Show title, which may seem odd since there have been 145 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Shows. The discrepancy is because several dogs have won multiple consecutive years.
The most notable is the show’s very first Best In Show winner, Warren Remedy, a Smooth-Coated Fox Terrier who took the prize a record three times in 1907, 1908, and 1909. Since then, many dogs have won twice, but none have matched or exceeded Warren Remedy’s three-year streak.
Terriers are clearly adored at Westminster, with the group winning the most Best in Show victories at 47. No other group comes close. The second-place Sporting group has won just 18 Best in Show titles.
Most Wins by Group
|Group||Number of winners|
Beloved Breeds That Have Never Won Best in Show at Westminster
1. Labrador Retriever
According to the AKC’s annual rankings, Labrador Retrievers have been America’s favorite dog for more than 25 years, but the breed is yet to win a single Best in Show title — or even Best In Group!
2. Golden Retriever
America’s third most popular breed began competing at Westminster in 1928, but they’ve never taken the top spot. In fact, they have only ever taken Best of Group once — in 2006.
These silly short-legged pups are beloved by millions of Americans, yet the twelfth most popular breed in the country has never won Best In Show. However, they have won Best of Group at Westminster an impressive 11 times.
4. French Bulldog
While their larger English Bulldog cousins have won Best in Show twice (in 1913 and 1955), Frenchies are yet to score a win. 2022 brought about a near-miss with Winston the French Bulldog taking the second place “Reserve Best in Show” title.
A beautiful Rottie named Carter’s Noble Shaka Zulu won Best in Group in 2006, but these powerful working dogs have never taken the top trophy.
Several other cherished breeds have been notably snubbed at Westminster, including:
- Great Dane
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Australian Shepherd
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Shetland Sheep Dog
- Boston Terrier
This Year’s Competition
More than 3,000 canines arrived at the Lyndhurst mansion this week to compete in the 146thWestminster Kennel Club Dog Show. They represented 209 breeds, including two newly-recognized breeds: the Mudi, a Hungarian herding breed, and the Russian toy.
An additional 350 dogs took to the ring to compete in the 9th annual Westminster Masters Agility Championship. Established in 2014, this portion of the event is open to dogs of all breeds, including mutts (or “All-American Dogs,” as the AKC refers to them).
How Judging Works
A team of knowledgeable judges examines each dog, factoring in traits such as teeth, temperament, and agility to determine which dog in each group best represents the ideal or “standard” for its breed. In this initial round of judging, the dogs only compete against others of their own breed. Depending on the breed, there may be dozens of competitors or just a handful.
Next, the winner from each breed moves on to a semifinal round. Here they are judged against others in their “group,” of which there are seven – toy, working, sporting, non-sporting, hounds, herding dogs, and terriers.
Finally, the best dog from each group moves on to the final round to compete for Best in Show.
While the coveted Best in Show title does not come with a cash prize, a $5,000 donation is made in the name of the winner of the Masters Agility Championship to either the AKC training club of their choice or the AKC Humane Fund.
An additional $1,000 donation is made in the names of the Highest Scoring All-American Dog, as well as the four remaining first-place dogs in their height classes.
The 2022 Winner’s Circle
Trumpet, a 4-year-old Bloodhound, co-owned by Chris Flessner, Bryan Flessner, Heather Buehner, and Tina Kocar, was the big winner, taking home the Best in Show trophy. He is the first Bloodhound and only the seventh dog from the Hound category to earn top honors at Westminster.
Trumpet’s dad, Nathan, also won the hound group at Westminster but never Best in Show.
Here are the additional 2022 winners from each category:
- Hound: Trumpet the Bloodhound
- Toy: Hollywood the Maltese
- Non-Sporting: Winston the French Bulldog
- Herding: River, the German Shepherd
- Sporting: Belle the English Setter
- Working: Striker the Samoyed
- Terrier: MM, the Lakeland Terrier
And of course, Bee the Shetland Sheepdog, who won the 9th Annual Masters Agility Championship. Watch her victorious course run below.
To so many of us dog lovers in the United States, our canine companions are both our best friends…