Your dog and the National Dog Show: Is your dog's breed a winner?
(WENY) -- Every year since 2001, the National Dog Show has served as a Thanksgiving tradition on many families television sets. For dog owners, its a classic program showing off numerous breeds competing for the coveted "best-in-show."
Many of the breeds competing are well-known, but some are seldom seen and much less common to see, this prompts the question: "What kinds of dogs win the most?" Some of the most popular breeds in America have yet to win major competitions, even after over 110 years of nationally recognized dog shows.
Across the three major dog shows in the country, the National Dog Show, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and the AKC National Championship, there are seven recognized groups that certified breeds are categorized by. Each group has had varied success over the years of competition.
By far the most successful is the Terrier Group, with 58 recognized best-in-show's across the three competitions. The energetic and eager group includes the single-most successful breed in showing history, the Wire Fox Terrier, an 18-time champion including two NDS titles in 2011 and 2012. The more common Scottish Terrier has brought home 10 total best-in-show's, including "Sadie" who won all three championships from 2009 to 2010.
The second best group remains the Sporting Group, with 24 best-in-show's. The group known for numerous varieties of retrievers, spaniels, setters, and pointers. The agile and alert sporting dogs have excelled in showing and hunting related competitions. The group includes America's two most popular breeds: the Labrador and Golden Retriever. Despite their popularity, the Labrador has only ever won a single National Dog Show title in 2001, while Golden Retriever lovers continue to wait for it's first best-in-show.
The most successful of the sporting dogs includes the English Springer Spaniel and the Pointer (including German Shorthairs), having seven and eight titles respectively. The beloved American Cocker Spaniel brings a respectable four WKC best-in-shows to the table as well.
Working dogs are the third most-successful, with 20 combined best-in-shows. The ever-intelligent and watchful cousins of the sporting dogs have been bred to assist man and perform jobs such as water rescues, sled pulling, and livestock guarding. Though they've found success in every era of showing, recent success has been sparse, as only six working dogs have come away with best-in-show distinctions since 2001. Boxers and Dobermans are the most successful, bringing in nearly half of all best-in-show's among working dogs, with four and five titles respectively.
Settled in the middle of the pack is the Non-Sporting Group, a collection of breeds with no singular size, coat or appearance. Notable favorites include the Dalmatian, Chow Chow, and Poodle. The 17-time champion group is the only one to have produced a winner in each of the big three competitions in the 2020s.
The National Dog Show is on a streak of three straight dogs in the group, including "Claire," a Scottish Deerhound which became the only dog to win back-to-back National Dog Shows in 2021. The most successful non-Sporting breed has been the Standard Poodle, it's seven championships make it the most successful non-Terrier Group breed.
Though they are typically the smallest group, the Toy Group does not come with the smallest amount of best-in-show's, at 15. 40 percent of the Toy Group's titles have come from the Pekingese, another 20 percent was claimed by various Toy Poodles. Popular toy breeds including the Pomeranian, Pug, and Yorkshire Terrier have also claimed at least one big three title.
Hound Group dogs are known for their relentless agility, ancestral hunting characteristics, and international diversity. 10 of their 13 best-in-show performances have come in the last 15 years. Though the last NDS Hound Group winner was in 2018, the group has won the previous two AKC National Championships. The Hound Group doesn't have a single star though, the Whippet and Bloodhound both claim three titles while the well-known Beagle is a two-time AKC Champion.
Finally, the Herding Group rounds out the pack with just seven best-in-show's across the big three competitions. While herding dogs are the undisputed champions of agility contests nationwide, they struggle immensely in showing. Some of the most popular dog breeds are in the Herding Group, but have yet to strike gold. Winless breeds include the Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Corgi, and Belgian Malinois. The most successful breed in the least successful group is the German Shepherd, a three-time champion with their last taste of victory coming in 2015. The Australian Shepherd has accounted for an NDS best-in-show in 2007 and an AKC National Championship in 2010.
New breeds are approved by the American Kennel Club each year, widening the field and toughening the competition. Regardless the show has served as an enjoyable program to watch with the family for over 20 years.