11 Things You Never Knew About America’s Favorite Dog Show

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

February 11, 2016

Last month, German Shorthaired Pointer, C.J., battled it out at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, emerging victorious and answering the ultimate question of “who’s a good boy.”


Madison Square Garden erupted in applause as C.J. became 140th pup to win the coveted title, Best in Show. Yes, you read it right: The Westminster Kennel Club’s been holding shows for 140 years. That’s 980 in dog years!


And if you think that’s crazy, you better sit down and stay on this page, because these 11 bewildering dog show facts are going to make you roll over:

1. As American As Apple Pie


First held in 1877, The Westminster Dog Show is the second oldest continuous sporting event in the US (the first being the Kentucky Derby). That’s older than the light bulb and the automobile!

2. Bury It In The Backyard


Dogs (and their handlers) travel from all over the country to compete in the Westminster Dog Show. So you’d think the prize would be a hefty check, right? Wrong! In fact, if you take into account all the training, travel, and handling fees, competing in the show is actually pretty expensive.

3. It’s A Terrier’s Game


The Wire Fox Terrier is the breed to bet on, winning fourteen shows, more than any other single breed. Terriers in general have won 46 shows, proving that they’re the most pawfect pups around.

4. Dare To Be You


Ch Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee: not a typo, but the name of the 2009 Best in Show winner. Nicknamed “Stump” (thank goodness!), this Sussex Spaniel was not only had the oddest name, but was also the oldest winner in show history at a remarkable 10 years old!

5. VIP Status


In the 1890s, a couple of celebrities entered the show, including banker and philanthropist J.P. Morgan with his collies, and Jacob Ruppert, owner of the New York Yankees, with his St. Bernards.

6. A Royal Endeavor


The early years of the Show also attracted European royalty: the Queen of England entered her Deerhounds, the Czar of Russia entered his Siberian Wolfhound, and the Emperor of Germany entered a Russian Wolfhound.

7. Furlanthropy


The Westminster Dog Show isn’t just good fun, but it does good too! At its conception, a portion of the profits was donated to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). And since 1990, the Westminster Kennel Foundation has been awarding scholarships to veterinary students, with six recipients in 2016, and 145 in total.

8. In The Dugout


Westminster Dog Show is one of the last ‘benched’ Shows, meaning dogs are always in the spotlight. If they’re not in the ring showing, they’re at their bench, getting groomed, or in another assigned area. Spectators can even enter the grooming room and see the participating pups up close.

9. Primping and Preening


Competing dogs don’t just come as they are. They’re meticulously groomed, their diets are carefully calculated, and they exercise regularly. No doggy naps included.

10. Your Pup Could Still Have Chance!

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Lots of pups have been through Westminster’s (doggy) doors. Over 300,000 have been entered since 1877!

11. It’s A New York Thing


New York City loves Westminster! Not only is the show held in Madison Square Garden, but on the night of the show, the Empire State Building lights up in purple and yellow, the show’s official colors.

Featured image via @westminsterkennelclub /Instagram

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

February 11, 2016

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