Dog lovers and Fido fans, the world’s most renowned dog show is almost here. A two-day extravaganza solely dedicated to our furry friends? Count us in! The 139th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show begins soon. In honor of this great American tradition, we have some interesting facts and a bit of history about the oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.
Study up before the big event tonight and impress everyone with your knowledge about the Westminster Dog Show.
History and Fun Facts About the Westminster Dog Show
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, first held in 1877, is America’s second-longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby. How old is that really? Here is something for you to chew on. The organization pre-dates the light bulb, the automobile, and the establishment of the World Series in baseball. It has even survived a national Depression and both World Wars.
For the show, 3,200 Dogs compete for Best in Breed, then move up to Best in Group, and then compete for the grand prize of Best in Show. Each breed is categorized into one of seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding.
The Empire State Building first honored Westminster by lighting its tower in the Westminster colors of purple and gold in 2004. Luckily this pretty sight can be seen again as they plan to light it up in purple and gold for the 2015 show.
The dog show is the only organization that has been held in all four editions of Madison Square Garden. It has taken place at the New York City landmark in all but seven years since its establishment.
47 different breed varieties have won Best in Show awards since its inception. Unfortunately, out of all breeds that have grabbed the top prize, America’s Sweethearts, the Labrador and Golden Retriever, have never won.
If Westminster were Major League Baseball, Terriers would be the New York Yankees, having won the most Best in Show awards out of any other group (46 to be exact). The Wire Fox Terrier leads the pack with 14 wins, including a Best in Show win in 2014. The Scottish terrier follows with nine big wins and the Airedale, Smooth Fox, and Sealyham Terriers all tie with 4 victories.
In 2009, a Sussex spaniel, Grinchy Glee, became the oldest dog to capture Best In Show at ten years of age. The youngest pup to ever nab the top prize was a Rough Collie, Laund Loyalty, who captured the award in 1929 at the tender age of nine months.
The annual Westminster Dog Show is on Monday and Tuesday, February 16-17, 2015. Now who to root for? Whether you want to see a new breed win or just love to watch a bunch of gorgeous dogs trot around, it is definitely a spectacle to watch, so take a look at the television listings to see if it is airing in your area. Good luck to all the competitors!