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 2021 was the Pekingese.)

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 among 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, which we update every year…

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

dog breeds that have never won best in show
Labrador Retriever. 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
Golden Retriever. Photo: Dirk Vorderstraße

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers have done even worse, placing in their group only 6 times since Westminster began. But at least they snagged a pair of Best of Groups in the past few years. 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 (2 times): 2006, 2020
  • 2nd Place (1 time): 2009
  • 3rd Place (2 times): 2014, 2017
  • 4th Place (1 time): 2005
French Bulldog. 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 close was in 2021, when this breed captured its second-ever Non-Sporting Group win.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (2 times): 2010, 2021
  • 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
Rottweiler. 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
dog breeds that have never won best in show
Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Photo: 50-phi

5. 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.

Dachshund. Photo: Petful

6. 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)
Australian Shepherd. Photo: haflinger93

7. 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
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Photo: Alexas_Fotos

8. 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
Great Dane. Photo: hurtre

9. 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 22 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 (10 times): 1935, 1941, 1950, 1961, 1968, 1972, 1980, 2005, 2008, 2021
  • 4th Place (4 times): 1930, 1938, 1977, 1990
Miniature Schnauzer. Photo: crimsonninjagirl

10. 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 8 other times, a not altogether dismal showing.

  • Best in Show: none
  • Best of Group (1 time): 1947
  • 2nd Place (3 times): 1948, 1960, 2021
  • 3rd Place (2 times): 1956, 1959
  • 4th Place (3 times): 1946, 1975, 2009
Shih Tzu. 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. Poodle: Standard (5 wins: 1935, 1958, 1973, 1991, 2020); Miniature (3 wins: 1943, 1959, 2002); Toy (2 wins: 1956, 1961)
  7. Beagle (2 wins for the 15-Inch Beagle: 2008, 2015)
  8. Rottweiler (has never won Best in Show)
  9. German Shorthaired Pointer (3 wins: 1974, 2005, 2016)
  10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi (has never won Best in Show)
  11. Dachshund (has never won Best in Show)
  12. Yorkshire Terrier (1 win: 1978)
  13. Australian Shepherd (has never won Best in Show)
  14. Boxer (4 wins: 1947, 1949, 1951, 1970)
  15. Siberian Husky (1 win: 1980)
  16. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (has never won Best in Show)
  17. Great Dane (has never won Best in Show)
  18. Miniature Schnauzer (has never won Best in Show)
  19. Doberman Pinscher (4 wins: 1939, 1952, 1953, 1989)
  20. Shih Tzu (has never won Best in Show)

*Based on the popular breeds list released by the AKC on May 1, 2020.

Full List: All 160 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. Azawakh
  13. Barbet
  14. Basenji
  15. Basset Hound
  16. Beagle, 13-Inch
  17. Bearded Collie
  18. Beauceron
  19. Belgian Laekenois
  20. Belgian Malinois
  21. Belgian Sheepdog
  22. Belgian Tervuren
  23. Bergamasco Sheepdog
  24. Berger Picard
  25. Bernese Mountain Dog
  26. Biewer Terrier
  27. Black and Tan Coonhound
  28. Black Russian Terrier
  29. Bloodhound
  30. Bluetick Coonhound
  31. Boerboel
  32. Border Collie
  33. Border Terrier
  34. Borzoi
  35. Boston Terrier
  36. Bouvier des Flandres
  37. Briard
  38. Brittany
  39. Brussels Griffon
  40. Bullmastiff
  41. Cairn Terrier
  42. Canaan Dog
  43. Cane Corso
  44. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  45. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  46. Cesky Terrier
  47. Chihuahua (Smooth Coat)
  48. Chinese Crested
  49. Chinese Shar-Pei
  50. Chow Chow
  51. Cirnecho dell’Etna
  52. Collie (Rough)
  53. Collie (Smooth)
  54. Coton de Tulear
  55. Dachshund (Longhaired)
  56. Dachshund (Smooth)
  57. Dachshund (Wirehaired)
  58. Dalmatian
  59. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  60. Dogo Argentino
  61. Dogue de Bordeaux
  62. English Toy Spaniel (B & PC)
  63. English Toy Spaniel (KC & R)
  64. Entlebucher Mountain Dog
  65. Finnish Lapphund
  66. Finnish Spitz
  67. French Bulldog
  68. German Pinscher
  69. Giant Schnauzer
  70. Glen of Imaal Terrier
  71. Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
  72. Great Dane
  73. Great Pyrenees
  74. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  75. Greyhound
  76. Harrier
  77. Havanese
  78. Ibizan Hound
  79. Icelandic Sheepdog
  80. Irish Terrier
  81. Irish Wolfhound
  82. Italian Greyhound
  83. Japanese Chin
  84. Keeshond
  85. Komondor
  86. Kuvasz
  87. Lagotto Romagnolo
  88. Leonberger
  89. Lhasa Apso
  90. Lowchen
  91. Maltese
  92. Manchester Terrier (Standard)
  93. Manchester Terrier (Toy)
  94. Mastiff
  95. Miniature American Shepherd
  96. Miniature Bull Terrier
  97. Miniature Pinscher
  98. Miniature Schnauzer
  99. Neapolitan Mastiff
  100. Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
  101. Norfolk Terrier
  102. Norwegian Buhund
  103. Norwegian Elkhound
  104. Norwegian Lundehund
  105. Otterhound
  106. Parson Russell Terrier
  107. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  108. Petits Basset Griffon Vendeen
  109. Pharaoh Hound
  110. Plott
  111. Pointer (German Wirehaired)
  112. Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  113. Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
  114. Portuguese Water Dog
  115. Puli
  116. Pumi
  117. Pyrenean Shepherd
  118. Rat Terrier
  119. Redbone Coonhound
  120. Retriever (Chesapeake Bay)
  121. Retriever (Curly-Coated)
  122. Retriever (Flat-Coated)
  123. Retriever (Golden)
  124. Retriever (Labrador)
  125. Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)
  126. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  127. Rottweiler
  128. Russell Terrier
  129. Saluki
  130. Samoyed
  131. Schipperke
  132. Setter (Gordon)
  133. Setter (Irish Red and White)
  134. Setter (Irish)
  135. Shetland Sheepdog
  136. Shiba Inu
  137. Shih Tzu
  138. Silky Terrier
  139. Sloughi
  140. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  141. Spaniel (American Water)
  142. Spaniel (Boykin)
  143. Spaniel (English Cocker)
  144. Spaniel (Field)
  145. Spaniel (Welsh Springer)
  146. Spanish Water Dog
  147. Spinone Italiano
  148. Saint Bernard
  149. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  150. Swedish Vallhund
  151. Tibetan Mastiff
  152. Tibetan Spaniel
  153. Tibetan Terrier
  154. Toy Fox Terrier
  155. Treeing Walker Coonhound
  156. Vizsla
  157. Weimaraner
  158. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  159. Wirehaired Vizsla
  160. 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!