The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, or the Westminster Dog Show, is one of the world’s most spectacular events. However, despite the fact that the show has spent a considerable amount of time in the spotlight and under the scrutiny of the public eye, there are still some things that many people don’t know. With that in mind, here we present our list of 15 things you probably didn’t know about the Westminster Dog Show. Well, what are you waiting for? Check it out for yourself below!
Number Fifteen: Wire Fox Terriers Are the Show’s Winningest Breed
Wire Fox Terriers have won more titles at the show than any other breed. The terriers have won the title of Best In Show an impressive 14 times!
Number Fourteen: Nearly 50 Different Breeds Have Won Best In Show
We already mentioned that Wire Fox Terriers have taken the title of Best In Show 14 times, but there’s also a lot of diversity associated with the award. A whopping 47 different breeds have been awarded the title of Best In Show.
Number Thirteen: The Westminster Dog Show Is the Second-Oldest Sporting Event in America
It’s easy to brush the dog show off as anything other than a sporting event, but the truth is that dog owners work incredibly hard during the show and are, in fact, quite athletic. As far as America’s longest-running sporting event goes, the show is second only to the Kentucky Derby.
Number Twelve: The First Show Featured Fewer Than 40 Breeds
Just 35 breeds attended the debut Westminster Dog Show. Some of those breeds include dalmatians, greyhounds, and collies.
Number Eleven: The Entry Fee Used to Be $2
It’s true! Though the dog show is a serious money sucker today, back in 1878 the entry fee was just $2. That $2 included food and care for the dogs as well.
Number Ten: Mixed Breeds Couldn’t Compete Until 2014
The show featured only purebred dogs until 2014. This change happened when the show introduced the Masters Agility Championship, which focuses on athletic ability rather than breed.
Number Nine: Every Single Contestant Stays in the Same Hotel
Though this sounds like something out of the parody film Best In Show, it’s actually true. Every contestant in the show stays in the Hotel Pennsylvania. The hotel provides extreme accommodations for the contestants, including doggie treadmills in the basement.
Number Eight: Long-Standing Popularity
The dog show began in 1877, and it was popular from the get-go. In fact, the debut show was so successful that the streets were overcrowded and the ticket vendors reportedly could barely make change for interested buyers.
Number Seven: It Has a Close Connection to MSG
The show has been held in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden almost every single year. There are only seven years since it was created in 1877 that it wasn’t held there.
Number Six: Only One Parent-Child Duo Has Won Best In Show
In 1993, an English Springer Spaniel named Ch. Salilyn’s Condor won Best In Show. Her offspring, Ch. Salilyn N’ Erin’s Shameless won Best In Show again in 2000. They are the only two dogs to accomplish this impressive feat.
Number Five: The Winning Dogs Are Treated Like Royalty
Seriously. Every year, the winners are treated to a meal at the famous Sardi’s restaurant in Manhattan. It might violate a health code or three, but it’s tradition.
Number Four: There’s Not an Official Dress Code for Handlers
While the dogs are scrutinized throughout the day, there’s not actually a dress code for the dogs’ handlers. However, that doesn’t exactly protect them from judgment. Since they’re being seen by millions, most handlers still try to look nice and always wear shoes they’re comfortable jogging in.
Number Three: It’s About Way More Than Looking Good
Though people watch the show every year just for the dogs, the truth is that the show has been quite charitable throughout the years. In its first year, it donated profits to ASPCA, and since then it has donated to various other charities every year.
Number Two: It Was One of the First Things to Be Telecast
The show was first aired on television in 1948. This was a full three years before the first episode of I Love Lucy would air.
Number One: America’s Most Popular Breed Has Never Won Best In Show
Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breed in America. Despite this, a Labrador Retriever has never won the title of Best In Show at Westminster! We hope you enjoyed our list of 15 things you didn’t know about the Westminster Dog Show!