The Westminster Kennel Club dog show is arguably the most well-known dog show in the United States. The show is also the second-longest continually held sporting event, only one year behind the Kentucky Derby. Westminster actually pre-dates the American Kennel Club -- as well as automobiles, the light bulb, and zippers.
The Westminster Kennel Club held its first dog show in 1877. An entry of 1,201 dogs exhibited at Gilmore's Garden, the predecessor to Madison Square Garden where the show is held to this day.
Westminster first offered a Best in Show award in 1907. Now considered one of the most coveted wins in dog shows, the very first Westminster BIS went to the Smooth Fox Terrier, Ch. Warren Remedy. Remedy won BIS for three consecutive years -- a feat never since repeated at the Westminster Kennel Club show.
In 1951 Ch. Bang Away of Sirrah Crest, a Boxer, was the first dog from west of the Mississippi to win Best in Show at Westminster. Boxers have dominated the Working Group at Westminster since that time.
The Westminster Kennel Club broadcast streaming video of breed judging for the first time in 2005. Viewers in over 140 countries requested more than 1.4 million videos, garnering 15 million hits to the Westminster web site in the process.
Coming out of retirement for the 2009 show, the Sussex Spaniel Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee breaks the record to become the oldest dog ever to win Best in Show at Westminster. At 10 years old, "Stump" is more than two years older than the previous record holder, "Kirby" the Papillon.
The Westminster Kennel Club show is held in mid-February, and has become a tradition both for those in the dog fancy and those who just like to observe. The 2011 Westminster show airs on February 14 and 15 on the USA Network.
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