The epitome of all dog shows, the Westminster Dog Show opens Feb. 16 in New York City.
The 139th Westminster Dog Show will be held Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 16-17, in New York City, and features 2,711 entries as it extends its standing as the second-longest continuously held sporting event in this country, behind only the Kentucky Derby.
Golden retrievers have the largest entry with 58. They’re followed closely by Labrador retrievers with 56; Australian shepherds, 43; French bulldogs, 41; Cavalier King Charles spaniels, 38; Rhodesian ridgebacks, 38; and Rottweilers, 33. Norwich terriers have the largest entry in the Terrier Group with 19. There are only one white bull terrier and one Norwegian Lundehund entered.
Entries have come from 48 states and Washington, D.C., and 14 foreign countries. For the fifth year in a row, New York has the most with 242. Other top states include California with 204; Pennsylvania, 185; New Jersey, 182; Florida, 145; Texas, 143; Virginia, 132; Ohio, 117; and Massachusetts, 106. There are no entries from North Dakota or Idaho. There are 117 foreign entries, led by Canada with 88. There are 59 entries from Washington.
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The world’s greatest canine athletes will participate in the second annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster. The competition will feature dogs of 72 breeds (led by 49 border collies and 45 Shetland sheepdogs) and also 13 mixed breeds. Washington has only one agility entry.
1877: The first Westminster Kennel Club show is held in the Hippodrome at Gilmore’s Garden in New York City, drawing an entry of 1,201 dogs. 20,000 spectators attend.
1894: American journalist Nelly Bly enters her Maltese at Westminster, four years after her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes.
1907: A smooth fox terrier CH Warren Remedy wins the first Best in Show (BIS). (Best in Show was awarded for the first time in 1907 although the show had been running longer.)
1918: A white bull terrier CH Haymarket Faultless wins BIS.
1923: No Best in Show is awarded this year. The American Kennel Club bars interbreed competition for 1923 except in the Miscellaneous Class. Comprehensive new rules for Group & Best in Show judging are adopted effective for 1924.
1933: A German shepherd belonging to New York Yankee great Lou Gehrig is among this year’s entries. Afra of Cosalta takes second in the Open Bitch class; Gehrig goes on to some success on the baseball field, finishing with a .340 lifetime batting average.
1948: Westminster is televised for the first time.
2006: A colored bull terrier, CH Rocky Top’s Sundance Kid “Rufus,” wins BIS.
2009: A Sussex spaniel named “Stump” becomes the oldest dog ever to capture BIS at Westminster. The 10-year-old golden liver dog (CH Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee) is more than two years older than the previous record holder. Stump is later featured on the cover of AARP Magazine.
2008: CH K-Run’s Park Me In First becomes the first beagle ever and the first hound in 25 years to win BIS. His victory sets off a yearlong celebration dubbed “Beaglemania” by the media. “Uno” becomes the first Westminster winner to be invited to the White House, visiting President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. He rings the bell to open the Nasdaq market and throws out the first pitch at Major League Baseball games in Milwaukee and St. Louis. In November, he rides on a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
2011: For the second year in a row, a Scottish breed takes home the honors; this time it’s a Scottish deerhound named Hickory (GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind). She’s the first deerhound and only the fifth hound to capture BIS.
2014: GCH Afterall Painting the Sky, a wire fox terrier, takes home the BIS award, and in her media tour afterward has a walk-on role in the Broadway smash hit “Kinky Boots.”