The Westminster Dog Show is one of the biggest and most prestigious dog shows in the world. It is a show in which dog owners from around the world bring their dogs to compete in various group categories and are judged by members of the American Kennel Club (AKC). This annual two-day event takes place at Madison Square Garden in the month of February. It is considered to be America’s first champions only dog show.
The Westminster Kennel Club was established in 1877, making it America’s oldest organization dedicated to purebred dogs. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is America’s second longest running sporting event, right after the Kentucky Derby. The fist Westminster show was held in 1877.
The event features more than 2,500 dogs from all over the world. This includes 179 breed and varieties, judged in 7 different groups. The groups include: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding. Dogs are judged against their breed standards, to see how close each dog matches the standard, which is a written description of the ideal specimen of that breed.
The dogs at the event compete at the breed level (i.e., against other dogs of the same breed). Each Best of Breed winner (BOB) advances into its respective group (Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding). Group competition is held during the evenings, and the seven group winners advance into the final competition. Out of the seven remaining dogs, one is selected as the Best In Show winner. The Best In Show winner becomes “America’s Dog” for the next year, and also becomes the world’s newest single name celebrity. It begins its reign with a media tour on the day following the show with appearances on virtually all television network morning shows, a visit to the Observation Deck at the Empire State Building, and much more.
There is an entry limit of 2,500 dogs at the event because of space considerations at Madison Square Garden. The entries fill up immediately on the first day that entries are accepted. The show has been broadcast on live television since 1948 and continuously gets high ratings. If you plan on attending this event, ensure to purchase your tickets early since tickets for this event sell out quickly once they go on sale, usually in the Fall.