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

Surprise! A shocking 11 out of 20 of America’s favorite dog breeds have not won the top prize.

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.

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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.

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  • 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 for the 15-Inch Beagle: 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 155 Dog Breeds That Have Never Won Best in Show at Westminster

  1. Akita
  2. Alaskan Malamute
  3. American English Coonhound
  4. American Eskimo Dog
  5. American Foxhound
  6. American Hairless Terrier
  7. American Staffordshire Terrier
  8. Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  9. Australian Cattle Dog
  10. Australian Shepherd
  11. Australian Terrier
  12. Basenji
  13. Basset Hound
  14. Beagle, 13-Inch
  15. Bearded Collie
  16. Beauceron
  17. Belgian Malinois
  18. Belgian Sheepdog
  19. Belgian Tervuren
  20. Bergamasco Sheepdog
  21. Berger Picard
  22. Bernese Mountain Dog
  23. Black and Tan Coonhound
  24. Black Russian Terrier
  25. Bloodhound
  26. Bluetick Coonhound
  27. Boerboel
  28. Border Collie
  29. Border Terrier
  30. Borzoi
  31. Boston Terrier
  32. Bouvier des Flandres
  33. Briard
  34. Brittany
  35. Brussels Griffon
  36. Bullmastiff
  37. Cairn Terrier
  38. Canaan Dog
  39. Cane Corso
  40. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  41. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  42. Cesky Terrier
  43. Chihuahua (Smooth Coat)
  44. Chinese Crested
  45. Chinese Shar-Pei
  46. Chow Chow
  47. Cirnecho dell’Etna
  48. Collie (Rough)
  49. Collie (Smooth)
  50. Coton de Tulear
  51. Dachshund (Longhaired)
  52. Dachshund (Smooth)
  53. Dachshund (Wirehaired)
  54. Dalmatian
  55. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  56. Dogue de Bordeaux
  57. English Toy Spaniel (B & PC)
  58. English Toy Spaniel (KC & R)
  59. Entlebucher Mountain Dog
  60. Finnish Lapphund
  61. Finnish Spitz
  62. French Bulldog
  63. German Pinscher
  64. Giant Schnauzer
  65. Glen of Imaal Terrier
  66. Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
  67. Great Dane
  68. Great Pyrenees
  69. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  70. Greyhound
  71. Harrier
  72. Havanese
  73. Ibizan Hound
  74. Icelandic Sheepdog
  75. Irish Terrier
  76. Irish Wolfhound
  77. Italian Greyhound
  78. Japanese Chin
  79. Keeshond
  80. Komondor
  81. Kuvasz
  82. Lagotto Romagnolo
  83. Leonberger
  84. Lhasa Apso
  85. Lowchen
  86. Maltese
  87. Manchester Terrier (Standard)
  88. Manchester Terrier (Toy)
  89. Mastiff
  90. Miniature American Shepherd
  91. Miniature Bull Terrier
  92. Miniature Pinscher
  93. Miniature Schnauzer
  94. Neapolitan Mastiff
  95. Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
  96. Norfolk Terrier
  97. Norwegian Buhund
  98. Norwegian Elkhound
  99. Norwegian Lundehund
  100. Otterhound
  101. Parson Russell Terrier
  102. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  103. Petits Basset Griffon Vendeen
  104. Pharaoh Hound
  105. Plott
  106. Pointer (German Wirehaired)
  107. Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  108. Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
  109. Portuguese Water Dog
  110. Puli
  111. Pumi
  112. Pyrenean Shepherd
  113. Rat Terrier
  114. Redbone Coonhound
  115. Retriever (Chesapeake Bay)
  116. Retriever (Curly-Coated)
  117. Retriever (Flat-Coated)
  118. Retriever (Golden)
  119. Retriever (Labrador)
  120. Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)
  121. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  122. Rottweiler
  123. Russell Terrier
  124. Saluki
  125. Samoyed
  126. Schipperke
  127. Setter (Gordon)
  128. Setter (Irish Red and White)
  129. Setter (Irish)
  130. Shetland Sheepdog
  131. Shiba Inu
  132. Shih Tzu
  133. Silky Terrier
  134. Sloughi
  135. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  136. Spaniel (American Water)
  137. Spaniel (Boykin)
  138. Spaniel (English Cocker)
  139. Spaniel (Field)
  140. Spaniel (Welsh Springer)
  141. Spanish Water Dog
  142. Spinone Italiano
  143. Saint Bernard
  144. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  145. Swedish Vallhund
  146. Tibetan Mastiff
  147. Tibetan Spaniel
  148. Tibetan Terrier
  149. Toy Fox Terrier
  150. Treeing Walker Coonhound
  151. Vizsla
  152. Weimaraner
  153. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  154. Wirehaired Vizsla
  155. 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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