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Which of America’s Favorite Breeds Have Never Won at Westminster?

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With thousands of prized pups from around the nation competing for Best in Show in just a few days, The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has yet to award these favorite breeds with the top prize.


In 1877, a group of sporting gentlemen gathered in a Manhattan bar and formed the Westminster Kennel Club. Now in its 145th year, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has been dubbed “America’s Dog Show.”

But, with prized pups from around the nation coming to Madison Square Garden to compete for Best in Show, “America’s Dog Show” has yet to award some of America’s favorite breeds with the top prize. In 144 years of competing, these 8 breeds, all ranking in the Top 20 of America’s favorite, most popular dogs, have never won Westminster.

Up first, America’s most favorite breed, the Labrador Retriever!

Labrador Retriever, 12 Months Old, Sitting
The Labrador retriever is currently ranked the #1 most popular dog breed in America.

The Labrador is a retrieving gun dog of medium size, with a dense, weather-resistant coat, an “otter” tail, and a clean-cut head with a “kind” expression. The first Labradors arrived in England from Newfoundland aboard fishing boats early in the 19th century, and imports to this country began in the early 1900s. Labrador temperament is outgoing, indulgent with peers, human oriented and tractable. Labradors can be found in guide and assistance dog programs, and substance detection and search and rescue work. Since 1992, the Labrador Retriever has headed the list as the most popular breed in the U.S.

Visit the official website for the Labrador Retriever Club

Not far behind in rank, the next breed that’s never won the big prize is the 5th most popular breed in America and a favorite “family dog.”

Can you guess which fair-haired breed has never won? 

If you guessed the Golden Retreiver, you’re right!

The Golden Retriever Ranks #5 In America'S Most Popular Breeds.
The Golden Retriever ranks #4 in America’s most popular breeds.

The Golden Retriever was developed in Scotland and England in the late 19th century for the purpose of retrieving wildfowl on land and water. Its physical characteristics and its willing, adaptable, trainable nature have also fitted it for usefulness in many other endeavors such as service dogs, guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs and search and rescue. While the Golden is an ideal family dog, it requires training and exercise. Persons wanting to purchase a Golden Retriever puppy should learn about this breed and purchase only from a reputable breeder.

Visit the official website for the Golden Retriever Club of America

Another favorite among pet parents, this long, short breed hasn’t had his time in the spotlight just yet… which breed is it? 

If you guessed the Dachshund, you’re right!

The Longhaired Dachshund.
The Longhaired Dachshund.

The Dachshund, developed in Germany three centuries ago, is a perfect example of form following function. With his long, low body, prominent forechest and front legs designed for digging, the Dachshund is well equipped for going underground to hunt badger and other den-dwelling animals. A versatile hunter, he has the instincts and intelligence to excel in conformation, earthdog, obedience, agility and tracking events.

The clever, affectionate Dachshund is an entertaining and devoted pet. The three Varieties – Longhaired, Smooth, and Wirehaired – compete separately. Within each variety the two sizes, miniature and standard, are shown together.

Visit the official website for the Dachshund Club of America

Up next, the most popular of all the “little dogs,” and, subsequently, the second most popular breed of dog found in shelters across the country, these little dogs are BIG in personality, but have never taken the top prize at Westminster. Can you guess who it is? 

If you guessed the Chihuahua, you were right!

There Are Two Varieties Of Chihuahua Competing At Westminster.
There are two varieties of Chihuahua competing at Westminster.

There is much disagreement as to the origins of the Chihuahua. Guesses include Mexico and the Aztecs, Egypt, the Sudan and Malta. Used for sacrifice in religious ceremonies and eaten by the conquistadors, there is no question that it is an ancient breed. It was said that a yellow Chihuahua could guide its owner’s soul across the river of death to the other side. Chihuahuas have been a registered breed in this country for 100 years. Clever, gigantic in heart and personality, this no more than six pound companion is much beloved by owners. There are two varieties, Long and Smooth Coat.

Visit the official website for the Chihuahua Club of America

Our next popular breed that’s come very close—competing five times in the Best in Show Ring—but never taken the trophy, is an ancient toy breed, known for their gorgeous, long, shiny hair that’s often topped with a bow. Can you name this imperial favorite? 

If you guessed the Shih Tzu, you’re right!

The Shih Tzu Is A Favorite On The Show Floor, But Somehow Falls Just Short Of Best In Show Each Year.
The Shih Tzu is a favorite on the show floor, but somehow falls just short of Best in Show each year.

The Shih Tzu, according to tradition, was developed in China’s Imperial courts by the crossing of ancient Chinese and Tibetan breeds. This royal Toy dog became extinct in China following the revolution of 1949 but fortunately, a number of Shih Tzu had been taken home by diplomats so the breed was continued in England, Norway and Sweden. In recent years the breed has become enormously popular in the United States as a sturdy, lively, alert Toy dog that is a happy companion. Shih Tzu in the show ring have a long flowing double coat; family pets look charming in a variety of short-hair clips.

Visit the official website for the American Shih Tzu Club

Our next breed, in stark contrast to the Chihuahua and Shih Tzu is one of the largest breeds in existence. Can you guess the name of this “great” big dog? 

If you said the Great Dane, you were right!

This &Quot;Great&Quot; Dog Has Never Won The Top Prize.
This “great” dog has never won the top prize.

The Dane is a true giant among breeds descending from the Mastiff. The Great Dane was developed in Germany to hunt wild boar, and was known as the Boar Hound when it appeared in America late in the 19th century. While intimidating in size and stature, this is a breed noted for its gentleness and “human-like” compassion. They make excellent family dogs. Its impressive size, family devotion and gentle nature combine to create a first-rate companion. The breed also competes well in obedience, agility and tracking. Permissible conformation colors are brindle, blue, black, fawn, harlequin and mantle.

Visit the official website for the Great Dane Club of America

Up next, this miniature version of his much larger cousin has never taken the top prize, despite being a fan favorite every year. Who is it? 

Did you guess the Miniature Schnauzer? You’re right!

The Miniature Schnauzer.
The Miniature Schnauzer.

The Miniature Schnauzer, cousin to the larger Standard Schnauzer, did not originate in England as many of the terriers, but in Germany. He is a small dog but in no way is he delicate. He makes an excellent companion because he is obedient, quick to learn, devoted to his owner, spunky and fearless. His deepest need is to live as part of the family, going where they go and doing what they do. He does not shed, but needs to be groomed approximately every six weeks. He comes in three colors: salt and pepper, black and silver, and solid black.

Visit the official website for the American Miniature Schnauzer Club

This next dog is often mistaken for a Collie due to its similar appearance, but is much smaller – and more popular as a family pet. Who is it?

If you said Shetland Sheepdog, you’re right!

The Shetland Sheepdog, Or Sheltie, Is Another Favorite Who Has Yet To Win Best In Show!
The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, is another favorite who has yet to win Best in Show!

The Sheltie originated in the Shetland Islands, developing there and on the British mainland as a popular, affectionate companion, guardian and farm dog. The Sheltie generally resembles a Collie in miniature. His color may be sable (ranging from light golden brown to dark mahogany), black, or blue merle, with varying amounts of white and/or tan. His most outstanding characteristic is his unique temperament. He has an intense desire to please and an enormous capacity for love and affection. The Sheltie is exceptionally trainable and responsive, characteristics which make him an ideal companion and an outstanding worker in obedience and agility.

Visit the official website for the American Shetland Sheepdog Association

And, finally, which breed has won Best in Show more often than any other?

If you guessed the Wire Fox Terrier, good job! You’re right!

Best in Show has been won by the Terrier Group 47 out of the 109 times that the prize has been awarded since 1907, more than twice as many wins as any other group. The single breed that has won the most is the Wire Fox Terrier, which has won 16 times.

The Wire Fox Terrier Has Won Best In Show More Than Any Other Breed To Compete.
The Wire Fox Terrier has won Best in Show more than any other breed to compete.

The origin of the Wire Fox Terrier dates back to the rough-coated black and tan terrier. Early pedigrees show that wire and smooth varieties were interbred until they became separate breeds in 1985. A non-shedding, hard broken outer coat and softer undercoat distinguishes the wire from its smooth cousin. An unconditional love for their human family, smart appearance, alert and outgoing manner always attracts attention, in and out of the show ring.

Visit the official website for the American Fox Terrier Club

Since 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club has held an annual benched all-breed dog show in New York City. Like many longstanding events, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a change of plans. Due to the ever-changing government restrictions, a move to a springtime, outdoor dog show was necessary to uphold Westminster’s commitment to the health and safety of everyone who attends our show. For the first time since its inception, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be held outside of NYC at Lyndhurst, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in Tarrytown, New York on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13, 2021, with live coverage across FOX Sports networks.

Which breed will you be cheering for this year? Tell us in a comment!

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  1. Avatar Of Joel R Urbon

    Joel R Urbon


    It is incredible but America’s favorite web-foot hound has never won. This next year will be the year of the Otterhound. Going all out for the clown of hounds.

  2. Avatar Of Wendy Browne

    Wendy Browne


    Oh HELLO, how about America’s first created registered purebred and top dog for decades, THE BOSTON TERRIER? How was The American Gentleman, AKC competitor and a breed exclusively created for exhibition/companionship since 1893 left off this list?

  3. Avatar Of Carol Mcelheney

    Carol McElheney


    My Bouvier des Flandres is entered this year, and to my knowledge, none has ever won Best in Show. Let’s make it a first! Go Lexie! Vegas odds give the Bouvier 50-1 odds to win.

  4. Avatar Of Donald Vickers

    Donald Vickers


    Sheltie I have three!

  5. Avatar Of David E. Morgan

    david e. morgan


    I do not believe in this organization as a true supporter of animal rights! I have seen at many shows how poorly these poor babies are treated by their owners! As a rescuer and activist for animal's rights, I have often found "dog show" people not being really informed or enthused about saving the life of every little/big four legged animal! They are mostly in the sport of winning without much concern for the dog's well being… so I NEVER watch these shows.
    david e. morgan
    Milan, Ohio

  6. Avatar Of Judy Petitto

    Judy Petitto


    Golden Retriever all the way!!

  7. Avatar Of Maxtoo



    I have a shh tzu, a mini schnauzer and a half French half English brittany. I was surprised to see the schnauzer on the list, and would love to see a shih tzu win!!!

  8. Avatar Of Maxtoo



    I have a shih tzu and a mini schnauzer. Love them both, and was surprised none of either had ever won. Also have a Brittany. Not surprised that they aren’t on the list. Mine is half English, half French brittany. Didn’t know there were the two until we got her.

  9. Avatar Of Ana Ana says:

    Who would guess? After I read the headline, I was sure I won’t see a Labrador Retriever and a Golden retriever there but you really surprised me. As I am huge Jack Russell fan, I was surprised to see Russell Terriers had their Westminister debut only three years ago and they are also really popular. I couldn’t find if any won the best in show, but I suppose it didn’t.

  10. Avatar Of Max



    I will be cheering for the Schipperke, a wonderful breed, I am blessed to have 2 & they are the joy of my life!

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