Dogs

11 Dog Breeds That Have Never Won Best in Show at Westminster


Golden Retrievers are among the dog breeds that have never won Best in Show at Westminster. Photo: angela n.

Every year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) ranks the most popular dog breeds in America, and every year, representatives of those breeds compete along with many others for “Best in Show” — the top prize at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. (The winner of Best in Show in 2019 was the Wire Fox Terrier.)

But did you know that a surprising 11 out of America’s 20 favorite dog breeds have never won Best in Show?

Best in Show isn’t the only title up for grabs at Westminster, though. Most of the dog breeds listed below — all ranked in the top 20 most popular dog breeds in America — have earned quite a few Best of Group awards and consistently placed in the top 4 of their groups.

We spent hours — actually, several days — digging through news archives and kennel club records to bring you the following list…

The Most Popular Dog Breeds That Have Never Won “Best in Show” at Westminster

dog breeds that have never won best in show
Photo: Kevin Rodriguez Ortiz

1. Labrador Retriever

America’s favorite dog for many years now, Labrador Retrievers have done abysmally at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, placing only 11 times but never 1st in their group. A Sporting Group breed, Labs were recognized by the AKC in 1917. That’s 100-plus years in which to accomplish something, Labbies. Perhaps they should spend more time on conformation and less time perfecting their sad Lab faces!

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group: none
  • 2nd Place (4 times): 1933, 1934, 1939, 1978
  • 3rd Place (1 time): 2016
  • 4th Place (6 times): 1964, 1974, 1986, 2003, 2009, 2010
Photo: Dirk Vorderstraße

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers have done even worse, placing in their group only 5 times since Westminster began. But at least they snagged a single Best of Group, back in 2006. Goldens — who, like Labs, are in the Sporting Group — were officially recognized in 1925, giving them plenty of time. But maybe they were all too busy fetching tennis balls?

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (1 time): 2006
  • 2nd Place (1 time): 2009
  • 3rd Place (2 times): 2014, 2017
  • 4th Place (1 time): 2005
Photo: Alexey Kuznetsov

3. French Bulldog

A little dog with batlike ears and a distinct underbite, the French Bulldog has never won Best in Show at Westminster — which is pretty sad, considering these dogs have been exhibited there since 1897. The last time a French Bulldog got even close was 2010, the year this breed captured its only Non-Sporting Group win.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (1 time): 2010
  • 2nd Place (6 times): 1924, 1926, 1956, 1963, 2009, 2019
  • 3rd Place (2 times): 1957, 2013
  • 4th Place (14 times): 1927, 1930, 1931, 1942, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1970, 1989, 1999, 2004, 2017
Photo: Pixabay

4. Rottweiler

Rottweilers, members of the Working Group since 1931, have had no Best in Show wins at Westminster. It gets worse: Although they’ve had 1 group win, Rottweilers have placed 2nd, 3rd or 4th only 6 other times in all those years.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (1 time): 2006
  • 2nd Place: none
  • 3rd Place (3 times): 1984, 1987, 2016
  • 4th Place (3 times): 1989, 1996, 2013
Photo: Petful

5. Dachshund

The overwhelming winner among all the breeds listed here, Dachshunds have placed many times in the Hound Group, with 11 Best of Groups. There are 3 classes of Dachshunds who compete: Longhaired, Wirehaired and Smooth. (Miniature and Standard Dachshunds compete together in each of these 3 classes.)

The AKC recognized Dachshunds as a breed in 1885, which perhaps accounts for the enduring popularity and relatively high rankings at Westminster.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (11 times): Longhaired (1998, 2019); Wirehaired (1952, 1997, 2012); Smooth (1948, 1951, 1952, 1961, 1968, 1969)
  • 2nd Place (11 times): Longhaired (1957, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1975, 1989, 2008); Wirehaired (1978); Smooth (1933, 1937, 1983)
  • 3rd Place (16 times): Longhaired (1946, 1954, 1976, 1990, 1991); Wirehaired (2003); Smooth (1926, 1936, 1941, 1950, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1967)
  • 4th Place (13 times): Longhaired (1943); Wirehaired (1979, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1994, 2007, 2009); Smooth (1935, 1939, 1948, 1949, 1960)
Photo: hurtre

6. Great Dane

One of the oldest-recognized breeds, Great Danes were admitted into the Working Group in 1887. Although they’ve never won Best in Show, they’ve taken home 5 Best of Group ribbons, with a total of 21 placements.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (5 times): 1931, 1933, 1959, 1962, 1983
  • 2nd Place (3 times): 1932, 1943, 2000, 1943
  • 3rd Place (9 times): 1935, 1941, 1950, 1961, 1968, 1972, 1980, 2005, 2008
  • 4th Place (4 times): 1930, 1938, 1977, 1990
dog breeds that have never won best in show
Photo: 50-phi

7. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgis were first recognized by the AKC in 1934, and they are a proud member of the Working Group. Over the years, these pups have picked up an outstanding 7 Best of Group ribbons and more than 2 dozen other placements. Not bad! But no Best in Show win ever.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (7 times): 1960, 1972, 1976, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004
  • 2nd Place (9 times): 1949, 1955, 1962, 1970, 1973, 1977, 1984, 1992, 1999
  • 3rd Place (9 times): 1936, 1961, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2017
  • 4th Place (7 times): 1939, 1956, 1957, 1963, 1971, 1990, 2011

By the way, the Pembroke’s close cousin, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, which is a member of the Herding Group, has never won Best in Show at Westminster either.

Photo: haflinger93

8. Australian Shepherd

Look, we should cut the Australian Shepherd a little slack — this dog breed has been competing at Westminster only since 1994.

Interestingly enough, Australian Shepherds are not from Australia. They descend from working mountain dogs, who were companions to Basque shepherds from southern France and northern Spain. These smart, exuberant working dogs are members of the Herding Group.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (1 time): 2008
  • 2nd Place (3 times): 2005, 2006, 2016
  • 3rd Place (1 time): 2015
  • 4th Place: none
Photo: crimsonninjagirl

9. Miniature Schnauzer

A completely different breed from the Standard Schnauzer and the Giant Schnauzer, the Miniature Schnauzer is a member of the Terrier Group and was recognized in 1926. Since then, the breed has managed to eke out only 1 Best of Group, but it has placed 7 other times, a not altogether dismal showing.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (1 time): 1947
  • 2nd Place (2 times): 1948, 1960
  • 3rd Place (2 times): 1956, 1959
  • 4th Place (3 times): 1946, 1975, 2009
Photo: Alexas_Fotos

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These gentle, graceful pups — members of the Toy Group — have never won Best in Show at Westminster? That’s crazy!

One possible reason: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are relatively new to the scene, competing at Westminster only since 1997.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group: none
  • 2nd Place (1 time): 2014
  • 3rd Place (1 time): 2003
  • 4th Place (1 time): 1997
Photo: cheriejoyful

11. Shih Tzu

Added to the Toy Group in 1969, Shih Tzus have done remarkably well for a breed that has competed for only the past half century. The breed has garnered an admirable 5 Best of Group placements, as well as 14 other group placements.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (5 times): 1983, 2000, 2001, 2015, 2016
  • 2nd Place (4 times): 1973, 1977, 1997, 2003
  • 3rd Place (6 times): 1972, 1974, 1979, 1985, 1999, 2010
  • 4th Place (4 times): 1971, 1975, 1988, 1991

List of the 20 Most Popular Dog Breeds

Here’s the AKC’s full list of the 20 most popular dog breeds in America, along with each breed’s Best in Show history at Westminster:

  1. Labrador Retriever (has never won Best in Show)
  2. German Shepherd Dog (2 wins: 1987, 2017)
  3. Golden Retriever (has never won Best in Show)
  4. French Bulldog (has never won Best in Show)
  5. Bulldog (2 wins: 1913, 1955)
  6. Beagle (2 wins: 2008, 2015)
  7. Poodle: Standard (4 wins: 1935, 1958, 1973, 1991); Miniature (3 wins: 1943, 1959, 2002); Toy (2 wins: 1956, 1961)
  8. Rottweiler (has never won Best in Show)
  9. Yorkshire Terrier (1 win: 1978)
  10. German Shorthaired Pointer (3 wins: 1974, 2005, 2016)
  11. Boxer (4 wins: 1947, 1949, 1951, 1970)
  12. Siberian Husky (1 win: 1980)
  13. Dachshund (has never won Best in Show)
  14. Great Dane (has never won Best in Show)
  15. Pembroke Welsh Corgi (has never won Best in Show)
  16. Doberman Pinscher (4 wins: 1939, 1952, 1953, 1989)
  17. Australian Shepherd (has never won Best in Show)
  18. Miniature Schnauzer (has never won Best in Show)
  19. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (has never won Best in Show)
  20. Shih Tzu (has never won Best in Show)

Full List: All the Dog Breeds That Have Never Won Best in Show at Westminster

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American English Coonhound
  • American Eskimo Dog
  • American Foxhound
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Australian Terrier
  • Basenji
  • Basset Hound
  • Beagle, 13 Inch
  • Bearded Collie
  • Beauceron
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Bergamasco Sheepdog
  • Berger Picard
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Black and Tan Coonhound
  • Black Russian Terrier
  • Bloodhound
  • Bluetick Coonhound
  • Boerboel
  • Border Collie
  • Border Terrier
  • Borzoi
  • Boston Terrier
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Briard
  • Brittany
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Canaan Dog
  • Cane Corso
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Cesky Terrier
  • Chihuahua (Smooth Coat)
  • Chinese Crested
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Chow Chow
  • Cirnecho dell’Etna
  • Collie (Rough)
  • Collie (Smooth)
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Dachshund (Longhaired)
  • Dachshund (Smooth)
  • Dachshund (Wirehaired)
  • Dalmatian
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Toy Spaniel (B & PC)
  • English Toy Spaniel (KC & R)
  • Entlebucher Mountain Dog
  • Finnish Lapphund
  • Finnish Spitz
  • French Bulldog
  • German Pinscher
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
  • Great Dane
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Greyhound
  • Harrier
  • Havanese
  • Ibizan Hound
  • Icelandic Sheepdog
  • Irish Terrier
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Japanese Chin
  • Keeshond
  • Komondor
  • Kuvasz
  • Lagotto Romagnolo
  • Leonberger
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Lowchen
  • Maltese
  • Manchester Terrier (Standard)
  • Manchester Terrier (Toy)
  • Mastiff
  • Miniature American Shepherd
  • Miniature Bull Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Norwegian Buhund
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Norwegian Lundehund
  • Otterhound
  • Parson Russell Terrier
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Petits Basset Griffon Vendeen
  • Pharaoh Hound
  • Plott
  • Pointer (German Wirehaired)
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Puli
  • Pumi
  • Pyrenean Shepherd
  • Rat Terrier
  • Redbone Coonhound
  • Retriever (Chesapeake Bay)
  • Retriever (Curly-Coated)
  • Retriever (Flat-Coated)
  • Retriever (Golden)
  • Retriever (Labrador)
  • Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Russell Terrier
  • Saluki
  • Samoyed
  • Schipperke
  • Setter (Gordon)
  • Setter (Irish Red and White)
  • Setter (Irish)
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Shiba Inu
  • Shih Tzu
  • Silky Terrier
  • Sloughi
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Spaniel (American Water)
  • Spaniel (Boykin)
  • Spaniel (English Cocker)
  • Spaniel (Field)
  • Spaniel (Welsh Springer)
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Spinone Italiano
  • St. Bernard
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Swedish Vallhund
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Treeing Walker Coonhound
  • Vizsla
  • Weimaraner
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  • Wirehaired Vizsla
  • Xoloitzcuintli

So, why do you think so many popular dog breeds have never won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show? Leave your comment below!

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