Westminster Kennel Club History Lesson

Ever wonder how the Westminster Kennel Club came into existence and how it became the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?

Founded in New York City, not only the most populated city in the United States, but also the most densely populated major city in the United States. New York City traces its origin to 1624, but in 1877 a group of sporting gentlemen decided that this would be a good time to hold a dog show in Manhattan.

How did the club get its name?

The group of sporting gentlemen used to meet in the bar of the, now defunct, Westminster Hotel in Manhattan. They would congregate there to drink and extoll about their shooting accomplishments. Eventually they formed a club and at one of those meetings decided that they would stage a dog show so that they could compare their dogs in a setting away from the field. At first they couldn’t decide on a name until one of the group members suggested that they name it after their favorite bar. The idea was unanimously agreed upon, hence the naming of the Westminster Kennel Club.

The first show was held in 1877 at Gilmore’s Garden (the precursor of Madison Square Garden) delivering 1,201 dogs in attendance. Aptly created in a city that exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment, it didn’t take long before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, would be on its way to becoming the world’s greatest dog show.

It was reported from “Forest and Field” magazine, “We question if on any previous occasion has there ever assembled in this city such a number of people at one time, and representing as much of the culture, wealth and fashion of the town.”

To put it in perspective, the Westminster has been around so long that it pre-dates the invention of the light bulb, the automobile, the zipper; the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument; and manned air flight and the establishment of the World Series! The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second longest continuously held sporting event in the country; second only to the Kentucky Derby, that’s been held longer, but only by one year!

Whether you have a purebred, award-winning, ribbon-sporting, Best in Show dog, or a rescue dog that is part of your pack, the team at 4Paws Insurance would like the opportunity to talk to you about our pet insurance and what we have to offer. Or, if a cat is part of your clan, we welcome the opportunity to discuss what coverage you may need. For the first time in its history, cats were allowed to be a part of the Meet and Greet segment of the Westminster Dog Show!