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Behavior & Training YOUR 2015 WESTMINISTER


Watch the Show:

The 2015 Westminster Kennel Club 139th Annual All Breed Dog Show, presented by Purina® Pro Plan®, will be held this year on Monday and Tuesday, February 16th and 17th. Live coverage of the finals will be broadcast on CNBC on Monday from 8 – 11 pm Eastern Time, and on USA on Tuesday from 8 – 11 pm Eastern Time.


Every dog at Westminster has the chance to win Best in Show – but first, there are three rounds of competition to get through.

  • Round One: All dogs compete individually to win Best of Breed.
  • Round Two: Best of Breed winners compete individually to win their groups.
  • Round Three: Group winners compete to win the overall title of Best in Show.


Judges compare each dog to a written description, called the “Standard,” of an “ideal specimen” of their breed. That description includes a few different things: 

  • The original function of the breed (like hunting or herding)
  • General appearance
  • Movement
  • Temperament
  • Physical traits, such as height, weight, coat, colors, eye color, eye shape, ear shape, feet, tail and more

Another way dogs are judged is called “judging on the day.” That means the way the dog looks and acts (enthusiastic or calm, for example) on the day of the show can also be a factor. 


All of the breeds competing at Westminster are divided into 7 groups. The groups are arranged, for the most part, by the original purpose behind each breed.

The Hound Group

Most hounds were developed as hunting dogs, especially for hunting with horses and tracking game independently.

Breed examples: Dachshund, Irish Wolfhound, Bloodhound, Greyhound

The Sporting Group

The sporting group is made up of dogs that were bred to help with hunting, retrieve game, and work together with people.

Breed examples: Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Irish Setter, Pointer

The Working Group

Dogs in the working group traditionally perform lots of different kind of work – pulling loads, guiding people with special needs, offering protection, and more.

Breed examples: Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Boxer, Rottweiler, Great Dane

The Herding Group

Using dogs to herd animals like sheep, cows, and goats is an ancient tradition that has resulted in the development of the many breeds that make up this group.

Breed examples: German Shepherd, Border Collie, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Shetland Sheepdog

The Toy Group

Toy dogs, which are characterized by their small size, were developed to act as companion animals, and are especially suited to living indoors.

Breed examples: Pomeranian, Pug, Chihuahua, Papillion, Shih Tzu

The Terrier Group

Most terriers were originally bred to hunt small burrowing animals like rats, badgers, and weasels. They’re well known as spirited, feisty dogs.

Breed examples: Scottish Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Fox Terrier

The Non-Sporting Group

The non-sporting group is made up of all the dogs who don’t fit into the other categories, so this group is full of lots of different kinds of dogs with different traits.

Breed examples: Poodle, Shiba Inu, Dalmatian, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog


All 8 of the last 8 Best in Show winners were fueled by Purina® Pro Plan®, and so are 94 out of the top 100 AKC All-Breed Champions*. But it’s not just for champions in the ring – your dog deserves exceptional nutrition, too. Find out which Purina Pro Plan formula is right for your dog with myPLAN.

Check out more amazing facts about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

*AKC Top DogsSM All Breed Competition through December 31st, 2014.