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The History of Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Jan 30th 2014

As the second longest continuously running sporting event behind only the Kentucky Derby, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is one of America’s most prestigious events.

The very first show in New York City took place in 1877 before the automobile, light bulb or Brooklyn Bridge’s existence. With an astounding entry of 1,201 canine competitors in the first year the show gained so much attention that it was extended from three to four days.  It didn’t take long for word to spread and for the event to become one of the most prestigious dog shows in the world. Even ‘Royal’ dogs (dogs bred by Royalty), from around the world have been entered in the competition along with dogs of other famous figures, including J.P. Morgan.

Lasting through two World Wars and countless snowstorms the, Westminster Dog Show has proved its longevity and has even outlasted three previous versions of its venue, the iconic Madison Square Garden.

Madison Square Garden has been the main venue since the beginning and New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania has been the canine participants’ home away from home during the competition for a lot of that time. Located directly across the street from Madison Square Garden, New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania became the perfect place for participants to stay. As the years have progressed the hotel has become more and more attuned to their canine guests needs. Today the over-the-top treatment includes everything from a canine spa and gym to a designated doggie concierge who caters to participants. There is even a pet fashion show! New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania takes pride in being one of the host hotels and looks forward to the event year after year.

The show historically only allowed pure breed dogs, but this year that will change with the introduction of the Masters Agility Championship. For the first time since the very early years, mixed breed dogs will be eligible to enter the competition. For a show that has been around for over one hundred years, the addition of a new event is a big deal, and is sure to make this year’s event one for the books!

For more information on our hotel specials for the Westminster Dog Show, visit our Westminster page.