Saturday, February 9, 2013

Who's Top Dog at Westminster?

In light of the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show returning to New York City this month and the recent release of the American Kennel Club (AKC)'s ranking of most popular dog breeds, I thought it would be interesting to review the winners of Westminster's Best in Show and compare those with the AKC's listing of most popular dog breeds.

 No Labs

Although the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular pup in America for more than a decade, a Lab has NEVER won Westminster's Best in Show! As recent as 2010, the Lab placed fourth in its group classification; that feat also happened in 2009 and 2003. The highest placement the breed has received was second in its Sporting Dog Group category, and the last time that was accomplished was in 1978. During the 1930s, Labs seemed more popular at Westminster – the breed placed second in group in 1933, 1934, and 1939. Labrador Retrievers were recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1917.

No Goldens Either

The Golden Retriever, ranked third this year on AKC's most popular dog breed list, has also not done well at Westminster, placing only three times, including one best in group (which took place in 2006). The breed placed second in 2009 and second also in 2005.

Winners in Both Categories

America's second most popular dog breed, the German Shepherd, has had one Best in Show placement at Westminster; that occurred in 1987.

The AKC's fourth most popular dog breed last year was the Beagle, and in 2008, Uno the Beagle, became the first of his breed to win Westminster's Best in Show. So, Lab lovers, there is still hope – perhaps this will be the year for the Labrador Retriever!

The Terrier Group has received the most number of Best in Shows at Westminster with 45 winners; terriers are also popular pets, with the Yorkie listed as sixth most popular pooch by the AKC this year the Boston terrier is number 23, and the West Highland White Terrier listed at 36.

The Sporting Group has achieved the second most number of Best in Shows at Westminster with 19 wins. Within that group, the English Springer Spaniel has placed Best in Show six times, and Cocker Spaniels have placed Best in Show four times, each breed receiving more nods for top dog than any other breed in the Sporting Dog category. These dogs are also popular as pets: Cockers rank #27 and Springers #29 on the AKC breed popularity list for 2012.

New Breeds in 2013

Two breeds that will be in this 2013 competition that have not been recognized at Westminster in past years are the Russell Terrier and the Treeing Walker Coonhound. Might one of these “newbies” receive the ultimate prize? We shall see.

Where will your favorite dog breed place at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show? Tune in your television Feb. 11 and 12 and find out!
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