The year was 1877 when several sporting men got together in the famous city of New York, New York City and thought it would be a great idea to get some of the best dogs together and hold a dog show. They came up with this idea while partaking in a few cocktails, and decided that the name of the show should be Westminster, with the name Westminster hailing from one of the most popular and most prestigious hotels there was in New York at the time, which has long been gone since then. The sporting men were known for sitting in the bar and comparing hunting and shooting stories, and over time, the idea for the dog show eventually lead to the formation of a club that is the club we know today, the Westminster Kennel Club.
Over 1,200 dogs were involved in the first show, which was held at the Madison Square Gardens. Eventually these same men came up with the idea of training the dogs for the shows. They found and purchased a training area and kennel where their dogs would be kept. A trainer was brought in to work with the dogs to prepare them for showings. The idea of the shows were to display the dogs and show them off away from the field, where they could be compared for different qualities.
Some of the most interesting facts surrounding the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, is that the shows began in the first Madison Square Gardens, and has followed the Gardens through four generations of the building, with the WKCDS show now being held in Madison Square Gardens IV. Since the beginning of the dog show 127 years ago, there have been 26 different presidents that have held office in the US, it survived through multiple power outages, a national depression, two World Wars, and a major tugboat strike that had threatened to shut down the entire city.
The dog show itself, also predates the bylaws and regulations of the sport. There were some rules and laws put into play for the first showings, however, a board of appeals was later put into position to govern the rules and regulations for the shows, which happened in 1884.
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog show has always been a very interesting sport and has proved to be the most prestigious dog show ever. Big names have always been associated with the show, even from the start. In the early years of its development, the late General George Custer’s pack, as well as two Deerhounds that were bred by the Queen of England, were listed in the catalogue. the Czar of Russia was listed as the breeder of a Siberian Wolfhound in the 1889 show, among many others through the years.
To this date, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show is the second longest sporting event to ever run, next to the Kentucky Derby. Straight from the beginning, the show proved to be a huge hit, and so popular in fact, that the original show was extended from three days to four, just to appease the spectators. It is not only popular in the Gardens itself, but every year, millions of viewers tune in on their televisions around the country, to watch the show and see which dogs are being awarded for their perfection.
It is because of the WKCDS, that the first interest sin purebreds took hold and spawned a real interest in breeding dogs for the most purest of their kind, then showing their breed, and competing for the number one spot to be recognized as the best breed of dog of all others. It is considered the most coveted award to hold the first place cup in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.