Westminster Kennel Club
2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Everything you need to know
Westminster Kennel Club

2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Everything you need to know

Updated May. 2, 2023 2:33 p.m. ET

The 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is here!

After a slight pandemic delay, the 145th Westminster Dog Show kicks off this weekend, when 2,500 dogs representing 209 breeds will compete for the highly coveted title of Best in Show.

Here's what you need to know before the competition begins Friday.

What exactly is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?


The Westminster Dog Show is a competition hosted by the American Kennel Club that brings dogs of all breeds from around the world together to compete in agility, obedience and conformation contests.

The purpose of the show is to evaluate breeding stock, and winners are selected based on their ability to contribute and improve the next generation of dogs. 

It is America’s second-oldest continuously run sporting event, second only to the Kentucky Derby. Think of it as the dog world’s Super Bowl. 

Where will it be held?

The Westminster Dog Show was hosted in New York City from its inception in 1877 through 2020, but this year the event will take place at the historic Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York, and it will be the first Westminster Dog Show to be held outdoors.

Sounds fun! When is it and how can I watch?

The Westminster Dog Show, hosted by FOX Sports' Jenny Taft, begins Friday, but the majority of (and the most highly anticipated) events will be broadcast Saturday and Sunday on FOX, FS1 and FS2, and you can also watch on the FOX Sports app.

What should I know about the events?

Westminster weekend begins with the eighth annual Masters Agility Championship on Friday, followed by Junior Showmanship, Breed, Group and Best in Show judging on Saturday and Sunday. The Masters Obedience Championship will be held Sunday as well.

On Friday, 350 dogs will participate in two preliminary standard agility rounds (jumps and weaves), and then 50 finalists – 10 from each height class – will compete in the finals Saturday evening for the title of Grand Champion at the Masters Agility Championship. 

On Sunday, 10 breeds will compete for the title of Master Obedience Champion. The first round of competition consists of utility and signal exercises, but the real action happens in the finals when all teams perform a six-minute routine to showcase their talents in range of obedience.

Last year, a 7-year-old Labrador Retriever named Heart won the Obedience Championship for the fifth consecutive year – every year since it was added to the dog show in 2016 – but newcomers will have a chance at the trophy this year as Heart has officially "retired." 

What is the TV schedule?


Breed Judging and Junior Showmanship Preliminaries, 1-4 p.m. ET (FS2)
Masters Agility Championship Finals, 5-7 p.m. ET (FOX)
Group Judging: Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups, 7:30-11 p.m. ET (FS1)


Breed Judging and Junior Showmanship Preliminaries and Finals, 1:30-4 p.m. ET (FS1)
Group Judging: Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups, followed by Best in Show, 7:30-11 p.m. ET (FOX)

How does it work?

All dogs are placed into seven groups for judging: Hound, Toy, Terrier, Herding, Working, Sporting and Non-Sporting. Dogs win points based on the number of dogs defeated – the more dogs entered, the more points per win. 

Dogs are judged on how close they come to a written standard describing the ideal dog in their breed when it comes to appearance, movement, temperament, and specific physical traits such as height and weight, coat, colors, eye color and shape, ear shape and placement, feet, tail and more. 

Then there is a process of elimination. The four dogs that are judged Best in Breed in their respective groups proceed to compete in Best in Group, and the winner from each group advances to compete for the grand prize of Best in Show.

Who won last year?

The 2020 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show took place Feb. 11 at Madison Square Garden. 

Last year's seven finalists were Siba the Standard Poodle, Bourbon the Whippet, Bono the Havanese, Wilma the Boxer, Conrad the Shetland Sheepdog, Vinny the Fox Terrier and fan-favorite Daniel the Golden Retriever, who snagged top honors in the Sporting Group and had a chance to become the first of his breed to win it all. 

However, it was Siba of the Non-Sporting Group who claimed the top prize. It was the fifth Best in Show win by a Standard Poodle and eleventh win for the Non-Sporting Group, good for fourth-most all time.

Who are the dogs to look for this year?

Keep an eye out for four new breeds – Barbet, Belgian Laekenois, Biewer Terrier and Dogo Argentino – that will join the 209 AKC-recognized breeds and make their Westminster Dog Show debut this weekend.

How do I place my bets?

Westminster weekend is a great time to win some serious cash with FOX Bet's Super 6 contest. Just download the FOX Super 6 app, make your picks, and you could win $1,000  – absolutely for free.

What are some other fun facts about the Westminster Dog Show?

The oldest dog to win Best in Show was a Sussex Spaniel named Stump, who was 10 in 2009, and the youngest dog to win was a Rough Collie named Laund Loyalty of Bellhaven (no, we didn't make that up), who was just 9 months old in 1929. Laund Loyalty of Bellhaven is also the only Collie to win Best in Show at the world's premier dog event.

The Terrier Group has won the most (47 times), with the most recent winner being a Wire Fox Terrier in 2019, and the Herding Group has won only twice, with the most recent being a German Shepherd in 2017.

In Westminster's history, only seven dogs have won Best in Show twice, and the Wire Fox Terrier is the breed with the most individual wins (14). 

Neither Golden Retrievers nor Labrador Retrievers have ever taken home the Best in Show title, despite consistently being two of the most-entered breeds. There are 44 Golden and 41 Labrador Retrievers in this year's show. Other well-represented breeds are the Vizsla (36), German Shorthaired Pointer (35) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (33). 

What were the highlights last year?

Remember Daniel the Golden Retriever? Well, the support for Daniel was so huge that #DanielWasRobbed started trending on social media after the competition ended last year. (Daniel is doing just fine, though. He has his own children's book now.)

P!nk, a Border Collie from Ohio, claimed the title of Grand Champion at the 2020 Masters Agility Championship for the third straight year with an outstanding 29.35-second performance, beating her previous winning run of 29.78 seconds in 2018.

Like P!nk, Wilma the Boxer was another standout fan favorite, this time from the Working Group.

The top seven put up some tough competition… 

… but in the end, Queen Siba took home the win (and then New York City by storm). 


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