Westminster Dog Show 2022: How It Works, New Breeds, and How to Watch
Another year, another pandemic-forced delay—but the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show returns this month for its 146th edition.
Late last year, the Westminster board opted to postpone the show originally scheduled for January at New York City's Madison Square Garden because of the surging COVID-19 omicron variant. Instead, the show will be held next week at Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, N.Y. It's the second year in a row the big, fancy house has served as the show's backup location.
Along with the conformation show that will crown another Best in Show, Westminster also hosts agility and obedience competitions. Here's how to catch all the action, how the show works, and which breeds to keep an eye on.
When Is the 2022 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
The slate of events begins Saturday, June 18, and runs through Wednesday, June 22. The agility competition starts Saturday while the obedience trials begin Monday.
Breed judging for the main event, the conformation show, will begin Monday, lasts through Tuesday, and culminates with the Best in Show ring Wednesday night.
How to Watch the 2022 Westminster Dog Show
If you watch live television through cable, satellite, or a streaming service, you can watch much of the show on FOX and FS1. (Some of the breed judging and obedience and agility events will be streamed on the Westminster website.)
The main primetime broadcast on Tuesday, June 21, begins at 7 p.m. eastern time on FS1. That night will feature group judging for the hound, toy, non-sporting, and herding groups. The Wednesday broadcast also starts at 7 p.m. eastern on FS1 and includes judging for the sporting, working, and terrier groups before culminating with the Best in Show ring.
Those interested can also stream the action on the FOX NOW and FOX Sports apps.
How Does the Westminster Dog Show Work?
The most important thing to remember in a conformation dog show is that the dogs are judged against their breeds' standards—written guidelines, maintained by the breed's parent group, that describe the ideal features of the breed. So, the dogs aren't really competing against each other. Judges decide which dogs most closely match their breed's standards.
Hundreds and hundreds of dogs from the 211 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club are eligible to compete. At first, each dog competes for the Best of Breed title. So, all the Great Danes show together in one group, for example, and the judge decides which one of them best conforms to the breed standard.
The Best of Breed winners are then allocated into the seven groups: herding, hound, non-sporting, sporting, terrier, toy, and working. Continuing with our example, the Great Dane would compete in the Working Group. The dogs are again measured against their breed standards.
Seven dogs each win their group and advance to the Best in Show ring. This year, Donald Sturz Jr. will judge the group winners and decide who wins Best in Show.
Are There Any New Breeds in 2022?
- The Russian toy will—surprise—compete in the Toy Group. These outgoing dogs used to be a favorite of aristocrats, but they now love chasing toys and snoozing in laps.
- Mudi—pronounced "moody"—dogs are Hungarian sheepdogs and are considered rare in North America. They'll compete in the Herding Group.
Who Won the Westminster Dog Show in 2021?
That would be Wasabi. The decorated Pekingese beat out a star-studded Best in Show ring to become the fifth of his breed to take home top honors at Westminster since 1907 (which is as far back as the show's records go).
Will he repeat this year?
Which Breeds Have Won Westminster the Most?
Westminster is the second-oldest continuously running sporting event, so we've had a few repeats. If you're planning to fleece your family members in a friendly dog-show wager like I am, it's good to know the most successful breeds based on Best in Show wins:
Which Popular Breeds Have Never Won Westminster?
Many of them! In fact, half of last year's 10 most popular breeds have never won Best in Show:
Maybe there is such a thing as being too popular.
Who Does the Daily Paws Staff Want to Win?
Chad Taylor, staff writer: A Lab! They've been the most popular dog breed in the U.S. for over three decades but have never won Best in Show.
Jessica Comstock, editor: Echoing the stubby leg love, I'm rooting for a dachshund victory.
Jody Tramontina, art director: I'm rooting for the little one, the Yorkie. It hasn't taken home the trophy since the '70s.
Karman Hotchkiss, editorial director: Any dog who doesn't look like a mop!