Are you curious about which canines are typically the star performers at the country’s most buzzed-about dog competition? Want to make an educated guess about which of the 3,200 contestants could take home the top title? Take a look at the history of the “Best in Show” category and see which types of dogs have been more likely to outshine others in the past.
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, an annual competition dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs, dates back to 1877, with Best in Show introduced as a category in 1907. Best in Show, awarded to one of seven finalists, is the literal top dog!
All contestants must be purebred dogs, and, as of 2013, 187 breeds and varieties, including the newly recognized Treeing Walker Coonhound and Russell Terrier, are now eligible to compete. More than 300,000 dogs have entered the show over the years.
Breeds and Varieties with More than 10 Best in Show Winners
Wire Fox Terriers: The only dogs to win more than 10 Best in Shows in Westminster’s history, Wire Fox Terriers have had thirteen recipients of the coveted prize. It may come as no surprise to learn that this Terrier’s defining characteristics include a “cocksure personality,” boundless energy and an ingrained drive and determination (according to the American Kennel Club)--all of which seem to be the stuff of champions!
The wins were steady in the early years (1915-1917, 1920, 1926, 1928,1930, 1931, 1934 and 1937), but since then there have only been three, in 1946, 1966 and the most recent occurring in 1992.
Does this sharp decline in snagging Best in Show signal this dog’s day in the spotlight is over? We’ll let you be the judge!
Breeds and Varieties with 5-10 Best in Show Winners
Scottish Terriers: This breed has won eight Best in Shows since 1907, with the most recent in 2010.
The Scottie Dog is also the only breed to have been the “first dog” at the White House during three different U.S. Presidents' administrations. That must be the star qualities those Scottish Terriers are born with along with their innate “ruggedness and power.”
English Springer Spaniels: These dogs, which the AKC describes as stylish and “eager to please,” have earned six Best in Shows, with the most recent in 2007. They’re known for their ability to keep going and going, which may have helped so many make their way to the top.
Breeds and Varieties with 2-5 Best in Show Winners
Airedale Terriers, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, Smooth Fox Terriers, Pekingese, Standard Poodles, and Sealyham Terriers have all won four Best in Shows.
Pointersand Miniature Poodles have earned three Best in Shows.
Afghan Hounds, Black Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Lakeland Terriers, Newfoundland Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Old English Sheepdogs, German Shorthaired Pointers, Toy Poodles, and West Highland White Terriershave captured Best in Show twice.
And The Most Best in Shows Goes to This Dog Group…
Westminster has divided purebred dogs into the following groups: sporting, hound, working, Terrier, toy, non-sporting, and herding.
By far, the group that has claimed the most Best in Shows is the Terrier group, with 45 wins, followed by sporting (19), working (15), toy and non-sporting (10 each), hound (four), and herding (one).
Warren Remedy, a female Smooth Fox Terrier, is the only dog to have won Best in Show three times--in 1907, 1908 and 1909. Fun fact: with the exception of the coat, this breed is “essentially identical” to the 13-time Best-in-Show-winning Wire Fox Terrier, according to the AKC. And yep, three Wire Fox Terriers have won twice. One Black Cocker Spaniel, one Doberman Pinscher, and one English Springer Spaniel have also taken the top spot two times.
Who will you be rooting for this year?
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