Fun Facts About The Westminster Dog Show

This February (10 and 11) marks the 138th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, America’s oldest sporting event dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. First held in 1877, it’s also America’s second-longest continuously held sporting event behind the Kentucky Derby.

This fabulous dog show has been likened to a beauty pageant — and with good reason. More than 2,500 dogs belonging to the seven designated groups will be primped and brushed, pampered and spoiled before going forward to strut their stuff on the famed green carpet.

While watching the show with your pet, don’t let him or her get jealous of all the well-pampered canines. Your furry friend can look like a beauty queen, too! Sergeant’s has an entire line of Fur-so-Fresh grooming products for your in-home pet grooming needs, from high-quality nails clippers to fresh and fruity odor-control Fur-s0-Fresh Whiff Shampoo, they’ve got what you need.

At the very first show, 35 dog breeds competed. Every year, new breeds are recognized to take part. This year, three new breeds will be eligible for Westminster for the first time. They are the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (Hound Group), the Chinook (Working Group) and the Rat Terrier (Terrier Group). Along with the newcomers, there is now a grand total of 190 breeds and varieties in competition.

The terrier group has won the “Best In Show” title the most with a record 45 dogs taking home the most prestigious cup in dogdom. The sporting group has won 19 times, the working group 15, the toy group 11, the non-sporting group 10 times, the hound group five times, and the herding group only once.

The reason why it’s the most watched dog show in the world – you can watch it on TV, streaming video throughout the show and live at Madison Square Garden — is because of what David Frei, director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club in New York calls the Alma Mater Factor.

“We have such a spiritual and emotional connection with our dogs,” Frei said. “And, if you own a particular breed, you automatically have a vested interest in those dogs, both inside and outside the ring. I think it’s only human nature to compare them to your own special pooch at home. People realize that if they gave their dog a few less cookies, a weekly grooming instead of a once-a-month bath and did a little road work, they could be up there, too. This is a sport where professionals and amateurs can work alongside one another in the show ring.”

Undoubtedly, the best pooch celebrity hangout is the Hotel Pennsylvania on Seventh Ave., directly opposite Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, making it very easy for both New Yorkers and tourists to enjoy the hoopla that precedes the show.

Here are some more fun facts about the show:

  • It predates the invention of the light bulb and the automobile, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and Washington Monument, the invention of basketball and the establishment of the World Series.
  • The Papillon, Ch. Loteki Supernatural Being (“Kirby”), is the only dog to capture “Best In Show” at the World Dog Show in Helinski in 1998 and “Best In Show” at Westminster in 1999.
  • In 2009, Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, a Sussex Spaniel, became the oldest dog to capture “Best In Show” at 10 years, 2 months and 9 days of age in 2009. The youngest winner was the Rough Collie, Laund Loyalty of Bellhaven, who captured the award in 1929 at the age of exactly 9 months.

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