8 of America’s Favorite Dog Breeds Have Never Won “Best in Show” at Westminster

Surprise! A shocking 8 out of 20 of America’s favorite dog breeds have not won the top prize.

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Golden retrievers have placed only 5 times in their group in the history of Westminster. By: angela n.

Every year, the American Kennel Club ranks the most popular dog breeds in America, and every year, representatives of those breeds compete for Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. In 2018, a Bichon Frise won the top honors.

But did you know a surprising 8 out of America’s favorite dog breeds have never won Best in Show?

Best in Show isn’t the only title up for grabs at Westminster, though. With 1 glaring exception (Labrador Retriever people, I’m talking to you), these 8 dog breeds below — all ranked in the top 20 most popular breeds for many years — have earned quite a few Best of Group awards and consistently placed in the top 4 of their groups.

By: Kevin Rodriguez Ortiz

1. Labrador Retriever

America’s favorite dog for many years now, Labrador Retrievers have done abysmally at Westminster, placing only 11 times but never first 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 you should spend more time on conformation and less time perfecting your sad Lab faces!

  • Second Place (4 times): 1933, 1934, 1939, 1978
  • Third Place: 2016
  • Fourth Place (6 times): 1964, 1974, 1986, 2003, 2009, 2010
By: Dirk Vorderstraße

2. Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers have done even worse, placing in their groups only 5 times since Westminster began. But at least they snagged a single Best of Group, back in 2006. Another Sporting Group dog, Goldens were recognized in 1925, giving them plenty of time — I guess you were all too busy fetching tennis balls?

  • Best of Group: 2006
  • Second Place: 2009
  • Third Place (2 times): 2014, 2017
  • Fourth Place: 2005
By: Petful

3. Dachshund

The overwhelming winner among all the breeds listed here, dachshunds have placed many times in the Hound Group, with 10 Best of Groups. There are 3 types of Dachshunds who compete: longhair, wirehair 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 of Group (10 times): Longhair (1998), wirehair (1997, 1952, 2012), smooth (1969, 1968, 1961, 1952, 1951, 1948)
  • Second Place (11 times): Longhair (2008, 1989, 1975, 1974, 1966, 1965, 1957), wirehair (1978), smooth (1983, 1937, 1933)
  • Third Place (16 times): Longhair (1991, 1990, 1976,  1954, 1946), wirehair (2003), smooth (1967, 1964, 1963,  1959, 1955, 1953, 1950, 1941, 1936, 1926)
  • Fourth Place (16 times): Longhair (1943), wirehair (2009, 2007, 1994, 1987, 1986, 1981, 1979), smooth (1960, 1949, 1948, 1939, 1935)
By: cheriejoyful

4. 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 4 Best of Group placements, as well as 14 other group placements.

  • Best of Group (4 times): 2001, 2000, 1983, 2016
  • Second Place (4 times): 2003, 1997, 1977, 1973
  • Third Place (6 times): 2010, 1999, 1985, 1979, 1974, 1972
  • Fourth Place (4 times): 1991, 1988, 1975, 1971
By: crimsonninjagirl

5. Miniature Schnauzer

A completely different breed from the standard schnauzer, which won Best in Show in 1997, and the giant schnauzer (which very nearly won Best in Show in 2018), 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 of Group: 1947
  • Second Place (2 times): 1960, 1948
  • Third Place (2 times): 1959, 1956
  • Fourth Place (3 times): 2009, 1975, 1946
By: Anthony Kelly

6. Chihuahua

Aye, chihuahua! Admitted into the Toy Group in 1904, this diminutive dog has only placed 5 times — but at least 1 of them was Best of Group. Like Dachshunds, Chihuahuas compete with multiple coat types, in this case smooth and long.

  • Best of Group: Smooth coat, 1984
  • Third Place (3 times): Long coat (2006, 2004), smooth (2017)
  • Fourth Place: Smooth, 1993
By: hurtre

7. 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 of Group (5 times): 1983, 1962, 1959, 1933, 1931
  • Second Place (3 times): 2000, 1943, 1932
  • Third Place (9 times): 2008, 2005, 1980, 1972, 1968, 1961, 1950, 1941, 1935
  • Fourth Place (4 times): 1990, 1977, 1938, 1930
By: Petful

8. Shetland Sheepdogs

Shetland sheepdogs, Herding Group members since 1911, have also done well, taking home 5 Best of Group ribbons and 12 other placements.

  • Best of Group (5 times): 1997, 1990, 1988, 1985, 1943
  • Second Place (2 times): 2001, 1989
  • Third Place (5 times): 2006, 1999, 1986, 1965, 1939
  • Fourth Place (5 times): 1952, 1951, 1948, 1947, 1932

So, what’s your explanation for the discrepancy in America’s most popular dogs showing so poorly at Westminster? Leave your comment below!

Tamar Love Grande

View posts by Tamar Love Grande
Tamar Love Grande, former associate editor, is a Crazy Dog Person who has fostered and found homes for more than 200 dachshunds in the past few years. Tamar lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her cat and far too many wiener dogs.

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