Westminster at a glance

February 18, 2019

by Cody Tromler

If you like dogs and haven’t been living under a rock this month then you know that the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was held recently. The show is watched by more people than any other dog show, basically it’s the Super Bowl but with dog slobber!

While it may seem like dog shows have a niche appeal Westminster has managed to attract dog owners and dog lovers from all walks of life! The event itself is quite old at this point, having been around since 1877, and has no shortage of interesting statistics so let’s discuss some of the more interesting aspects of the prestigious competition!

What’s Winning Westminster Worth?

Every dog owner that attends Westminster hopes to leave with a ribbon or preferably a trophy! So you must be thinking that there are big bucks on the line right? Well, not exactly! In fact winning the Westminster’s Best in Show titled nets you exactly 0 dollars in winnings!

You receive a handsome collection of trophies but no novelty check or even a regular sized check! What a rip off right? Well once again that’s not exactly true. The dogs that win receive not only semi celebrity status, but Sponsorships are also incredibly common! In the same way that Nike wants top athletes to wear their shoes companies want award winning dogs to endorse their products!

Not to mention a dog that has won best in show is now prime breeding stock, which other breeders will pay a pretty penny for! It’s no surprise that many dogs retire shortly after winning best in show. Breeders, as they are known to do, will then offer the dogs services to attempt to make even award winning puppies!

Winning also means the dog gets to be part of a non-stop press tour and usually nets a huge influx of social media buzz!

Best in Show

While there are many interesting events and categories at Westminster the Best in Show portion is undeniably the biggest draw! Held on the second day of the two day event the Best in Show competition is held between the best representative from each “group” of which there are seven (Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding). A judge then picks the dog he considers to be the best of that group of seven and it is then crowned “Best In Show”.

This year’s winner was a Wire Fox Terrier by the name of King, he is the latest in a long line of winners from his breed. In fact King is the 15th Wire Fox Terrier to be crowned Best in Show, which is more than any other single breed!

The Terrier group tends to dominate across the board with 47 Best in Show wins since 1907, the first year the award was given, that number is more than the next three most common winners combined.

The Sporting group is in second for most wins at 18, with Working in third at 15. From there the Toy Group and Non-Sporting have 11 and 10 wins respectively and the Hound and Herding groups have 6 and 2.

Shockingly enough while the winner is often called “America’s Dog” the most popular breeds in America, the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever have never won best in show at Westminster. Though one could argue that being the most popular breed is a solid consolation prize!

While there are 193 breeds that the American Kennel Club recognizes on about 50 breeds have ever won the best in show at Westminster.

Not All About Looks

While Westminster may look like a dog beauty pageant from the outside there is also an equally prestigious agility competition held every year!

The competition has dogs from all breeds, and even mix breeds as well, run and jump through a myriad of obstacles. Obstacles ranging from ramps to tunnels to hurdles. It’s a competition that puts a dogs training and fitness to the test!

This year the winner was Verb a Border Collie that completed the entire course in 32 seconds with 0 faults, an impressive win, beating the closest rival by nearly 2 seconds.

However, 2019 was a special year in that there were two audience favorites in the form of Winky and Rudy. Winky, a Bichon that completed the course in 192 seconds, with a considerable amount of faults. Rudy is a Bulldog which is not a breed known for their speed or agility but completed the course in 52 seconds after his faults!

Both of those pooches made enormous splashes on social media after their agility showing which proves that Westminster gives breeders and their dogs a shot at the limelight even if they don’t win!

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