Sit & Stay For Some Cool Archival Footage From Past Westminster Kennel Club Dog Shows
The 147th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the 2023 installment of the event that began in 1877, is taking place May 8-9. FS1 and FS2 have live coverage both days, in the afternoon and evenings. (More details on where to watch on TV and via livestream are at this link.)
Not many, if any, images — moving or otherwise — exist from this event’s earliest days, of course. With the advent of film, some coverage of the dog show was at least able to have been included in newsreels that people watched in movie theaters during the middle of the 20th century.
By the ’60s, the Westminster Dog Show started becoming a popular television broadcast — on CBS until the ’80s, then on USA Network from the mid ’80s until 2017, and, in recent years, on the Fox Sports networks.
Below, we’ve fetched some footage of Westminster Kennel Club Dog Shows from over the past 70 years or so, ranging from newsreels to TV broadcasts.
Aside from the fashions the people are wearing in these clips, the shows look pretty similar to how they do today, with the handlers trotting around the floor, hoping to impress the judges with their dogs. It also seems as though announcers for this event have probably always sounded, to some degree, like Fred Willard‘s character in the 2000 comedy Best in Show.
And it should go without saying that all of the canine competitors have always been very good dogs, no matter what the year.
Dog Shows and You
Before we get into the clips, let’s learn a little about dog shows and you, courtesy of this 1954 film produced by the American Kennel Club. Among other things, it will give you helpful tips on how to comport yourself if you are taking part in a dog show; for example, crumpling a ribbon and insulting a judge are serious breaches of conduct, so don’t even think about it:
1949 WKC Dog Show Obedience Demonstration (Newsreel Highlights)
1953 WKC Dog Show Best in Show (Newsreel Highlights)
1960 WKC Dog Show (Newsreel Highlights)
1963 WKC Dog Show (Newsreel Highlights)
1971 WKC Dog Show Best in Show (Television Broadcast)
1990 WKC Dog Show Best in Show (Television Broadcast)
2004 WKC Dog Show Best in Show (Television Broadcast)
Timeline of Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Best in Show Winners 1907-2017
This video offers a fun and fascinating timeline of every winner of Westminster’s Best Show starting in 1907, when that title was first awarded there, through 2017 (when the video was posted):