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Ah, Dachshunds! (Just please, please, don’t call them “weiner dogs.”) Scrappy and self-assured, these low-slung badger hunters come in three coat varieties – smooth, long, and wire. But despite that triple-threat advantage, a Best in Show has eluded the German-engineered Dachshund, though the breed has made it to the finals numerous times.
The luxuriously coated Shih Tzu, with its proudly carried, bow-topped head, has had a perennial bad hair day in the Westminster Best in Show ring, never winning in the five times it has won the Toy Group. But that’s still a record to be proud of in a group that’s home to such stiff competitors as multiple BIS winners like the Pekingese and the Toy Poodle. The Shih Tzu is 20th in popularity in AKC registrations, which is a far cry from its origins in imperial China, where the breed was closely held and never gifted or given away.
There are three sizes of Schnauzers, all of which are considered separate breeds. While the Standard Schnauzer won Best in Show at Westminster in 1997, the Giant and the Miniature are still waiting for their moment in the spotlight. The most popular of the Schnauzers, ranking 17th in AKC registrations in 2022, the Miniature Schnauzer competes in the Terrier Group, where more “traditional” terriers have dominated Best in Show for decades.
Now for the other end of the size spectrum: Immortalized in popular culture in everything from Taco Bell commercials to Paris Hilton photo ops, the diminutive Chihuahua is a lot of dog in a very small package. But Westminster judges have yet to conclude that less is more when it comes to this iconic Mexican breed: Neither of the two Chihuahua varieties – long or smooth coated – have had a chance to strike a pose inside the show’s silver Best in Show trophy.
Once called the German boarhound (even though its name credits Denmark for its origins), the Great Dane is the Apollo of dogs, as stately as it is supersized. But that impressive stature – not to mention being ranked 19th in popularity – sadly isn’t reflected in the breed’s Best in Show standing at Westminster, which currently is nil. Danes come in a variety of colors and patterns, and a new one – merle – began competing at AKC shows in 2019, adding some additional contenders to this noble breed’s dog-show ranks.
This striking black dog with rich tan markings is a real up-and-comer in American Kennel Club registrations, methodically climbing up to number seven in popularity. But while Rottweilers are powerful and robust, no amount of brawn has been able to catapult them to Westminster’s top spot. Instead, the top contenders in the Working Group have been the Boxer and Doberman Pinscher, which have each logged four wins over the years.
As good as gold – that’s the opinion owners have about their friendly, enthusiastic retrievers, which is why they are the third most popular AKC-recognized breed. But still, Westminster’s top prize has eluded them, despite the fact that Golden Retrievers have earned multiple first through fourth placements in the Sporting Group since they started competing in 1928. By contrast, English Springer Spaniels are the top winners in that group, with six Best in Show notches in their show collars.
The Labrador Retriever is the second-most popular dog breed in America – and has been one of the most popular for more than three decades. Still, it’s always been a bridesmaid, never a bride at Westminster, earning multiple Group placements over the years. Then again, given the Lab’s unflappable, easygoing temperament, chances are they'd rather be retrieving that slimy tennis ball for you anyway … over and over and over again.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, presented by Purina® Pro Plan® has crowned hundreds of Best in Show winners in its history. Though any breed can win the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, some breeds have taken home the Best in Show ribbon more than others. But breeds don’t win based on popularity: some of the most popular breeds have never won Best in Show at Westminster.

Historically, some breeds win more than others, some of them a lot more. Terrier breeds like the Wire Fox Terrier and Scottish Terrier have won Westminster more than 40% of the time. In fact, those two breeds alone have racked up 15 and eight wins, respectively. So which popular breeds have never taken home the coveted title?

Popular Breeds to Never Win Westminster

French Bulldog

Despite rising in the most popular rankings the past few years to dethrone the 31-year leader, the Labrador Retriever, the French Bulldog has never won Best in Show at Westminster. The breed did, however, win Reserve Best in Show at Westminster in 2022. GCHP Fox Canyon’s I Won the War at Goldshield CGCA CGCU TKN, owned by Perry Payson, Alexandra Vorbeck, and Sandy and Morgan Fox, has also only been Reserve BIS once at this dog show.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever was the most popular dog breed in the American Kennel Club rankings for 31 years. Even so, Best in Show is not a popularity contest as some may think. The Labrador Retriever has never taken home the coveted Best in Show title, or Reserve Best in Show. Maybe this will be their year!

Golden Retriever

While the Golden Retriever may be a fan-favorite, they have never won Best in Show at Westminster. Their status in the top five most popular breed hasn’t wavered much over the last few years, but they’re still waiting to take home the title.


Currently sitting at the sixth most popular breed, the Dachshund is just shy of the top five. This petite, long dog has also never won Best in Show or Reserve Best in Show at Westminster.


Rottweilers are growing in popularity, and they’re currently the ninth most popular breed by AKC registration rankings. These working dogs have never won Best in Show, or Reserve Best in Show, at Westminster.

Breeds that Have Won Westminster Once

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies have only won Westminster Best in Show once: in 1978. Ch. Cede Higgins, owned by Barbara and Charles Switzer, is currently the only Yorkshire Terrier to win Best in Show at this dog show. They’ve never taken home a Reserve Best in Show either.


In 1988, a Pomeranian, Ch. Great Elms Prince Charming, II, owned by Skip Piazza and Olga Baker, won Best in Show at Westminster. This is their only win, and the breed hasn’t won Reserve Best in Show at Westminster either.

Cocker Spaniel — Sort of

Two variations of the Cocker Spaniel have won Westminster Best in Show only once. The Parti-Color and A.S.C.O.B. variations of the breed have won once, in 1921 and 1954 respectively. The Cocker Spaniel (Black) has won twice, in 1940 and 1941. No variation of the breed has ever won Reserve Best in Show at Westminster. The AKC doesn’t recognize the variations as different breeds.

It just goes to show that breed popularity rankings don’t have anything to do with the judge’s decisions in crowning Best in Show winners. Conformation is about how well a breed fits the breed standard, so it’s really up to the individual dog, not the breed, to take home the crown. Learn more about the sport of conformation and how dogs are judged in dog shows, or check out a show near you to learn more about the long history of dog shows.

Related article: How Do I Get My Puppy Started in Dog Shows?
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