Although the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show began in 1877, the award for Best in Show was not presented until 1907. With the exception of 1923, when changes to the American Kennel Club rules were being made, the purple and gold rosette has been presented to 103 different dogs of 44 of different breeds (several dogs have taken Best in Show twice and a Smooth Fox Terrier took it three times). Let’s have a look at Westminster Best in Show winners by the numbers.
Most Popular Westminster Best in Show Winners
The winningest breed at Westminster is the Wire Fox Terrier. This breed has won the Garden 14 times. The earliest Wire Fox winner was CH Matford Vic. Vic was originally purchased from an English barnyard for the sum of £2. She was later sold for much more, crossed the pond with her new owner and went on to win both the 1915 and 1916 shows. The most recent Wire Fox Terrier to take Best in Show at the Garden was CH Afterall Painting The Sky who won the Garden under Judge Betty Regina Leininger in 2014. Sky is owned by Diane Ryan, Victor Malzoni Jr, Torie Steele and Mary and Scott Olund. She was bred by Betty Seaton and Alton Pertuit.
Since the first Best in Show competition at Westminster, there have been 20 Best in Show wins from members of the Sporting Group. The most recent Best in Show win from the Sporting Group was in 2016. Best in Show Judge Dr. Richard Meen selected CH Vjk-Myst Garbonita's California Journey, a German Shorthaired Pointer to be the winner of the 140th annual Westminster Kennel Club Show.
The Sporting breed that has won the Group the most is the English Springer Spaniel. 6 English Spring Spaniels have won the Garden which makes them the second most winningest breed at Westminster. The most recent Best in Show win by an English Spring Spaniel was CH Felicity’s Diamond Jim in 2007.
The Hound Group was judged for the first time at Westminster in 1930. It consisted of some breeds that were formerly in the Sporting Group (Afghan Hound, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Beagle, Borzoi, American Foxhound, English Foxhound, Greyhound, Harrier, Irish Wolfhound, Norwegian Elkhound, Otterhound, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound, Whippet) as well as the Dachshund which was in the Working Group.
A Hound has won the Garden 6 times. Both the Afghan Hound and the Beagle (15”) have won Best in Show at Westminster twice. Most recently for the Afghan Hound was CH Kabiks the Challenger in 1983 and Canadian Beagle CH Tashtins Lookin For Trouble won in 2015.
A member of the Working Group has won Westminster 15 times. The most recent win from this Group was in 2004 when Newfoundland CH Darbygale’s All Rise Pouch Cove took home the huge purple and gold Best in Show rosette.
The Boxer is truly the star of the Working Group when it comes to winning at Westminster. A Boxer has won the Garden 4 times. The most recent Best in Show Westminster win by a Boxer was in 1970 by CH Arriba’s Prima Donna. The Boxer has the most consecutive Group wins with 24. The most recent Group win by a Boxer was in 2017 by Canadian-bred CH Mephisto’s Speak Of The Devil. The Boxer has the most Group placements with 56, the most consecutive Group placements with 19 (1940-1958) and the Boxer had a streak of Group placements that lasted 6 shows (2009-2014).
It’s no secret in the dog world that the Terriers rule when it comes to winning big at Westminster. As mentioned earlier, a Wire Fox Terrier has won the Garden 14 times, but did you know that a Terrier has won Best in Show at Westminster 46 times?! That’s more than any other Group.
The Wire Fox Terrier has won 22 Groups first at Westminster, 55 Group placements and has had 13 consecutive Group placements (1983-1995).
The huge purple and gold Best in Show at Westminster rosette has gone to a member of the Toy Group 11 times. The most recent Toy dog to win the Garden was Affenpinscher CH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari in 2013.
When it comes to winning at Westminster, the Pekingese is the star of the Toy Group. A Pekingese has taken top honour at the Garden 4 times, most recently in 2012 by CH Palacegarden Malachy. The Pekingese also has the most Group wins with 26, the most Group Placements with 68 and the most consecutive Group placements with 12 (from 1924 to 1935).
Non- Sporting Group
Last year’s Best in Show winner, Bichon Frise CH Belle Creek’s All I Care About Is Love was the 11th member of the Non- Sporting Group to become famous by winning Westminster. Flynn is the second Bichon Frise to win the Garden as CH Special Times Just Right won under Judge Dorothy Macdonald in 2001.
The Standard Poodle is the most victorious member of the Non-Sporting Group when it comes to winning at Westminster. A Standard Poodle has won Best in Show 4 times at the Garden, won the Group 30 times and has had Group placements at 62 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Shows.
The Chow Chow holds the record in this Group for the most consecutive Group placements at Madison Square Garden with 11 (1932-1942).
The Herding Group was shown at Westminster for the first time in 1983. Before that, the members of this Group were shown in the Working Group (Australian Cattle Dog, Bearded Collie, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Bouvier des Flandres, Briard, Rough Collie, Smooth Collie, German Shepherd Dog, Old English Sheepdog, Puli, Shetland Sheepdog, Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi).
Because many breeds in this Group have won at Westminster before the formation of the Herding Group, it is important to share the stats of this Group both before and after 1983.
If one is to include results from before 1983 when the Herding Breeds were in the Working Group, one can say that 5 members of the Herding Group have won Best in Show at Westminster. The most recent Herding Group member to take the Garden is CH Lockenhaus’ Rumor Has It V Kenlyn. A Canadian Old English Sheepdog took Best in Show at Westminster in 1975. It was CH Sir Lancelot of Barvan who was owned by Mr. and Mrs. R Vanword of New Market, Ontario.
Since 1983, 2 members of the Herding Group have taken Westminster. Both were German Shepherd Dogs in 2017 and 1987. The German Shepherd also has the most Group wins with 10 and Group placements with 25. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has the most consecutive Group placements at Westminster in the Herding Group with 8 (1997-2004).
Popular Breeds That Have Not Won Westminster
Not all breeds have won the prestigious Best in Show rosette at Westminster. Although they are popular both here in Canada and in the United States, the Garden has never been won by a Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, Great Dane, Shih Tzu, Labrador Retriever, Chihuahua or a French Bulldog. All these breeds have however had Group placements at the big show.
Westminster Week 2019 begins on February 9th at the Piers in Manhattan. The Canadian Kennel Club will be reporting the Canadian brags on their social media accounts.