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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 tenure. While theoretically, any breed can take home the floor-sweeping Best in Show ribbon, the reality is that some breeds win more than others – and some win a lot more. Historically, terrier breeds like the Wire Fox Terrier and Scottish Terrier have won Westminster more than 40 percent of the time. (In fact, those two breeds alone have racked up 15 and eight wins, respectively.)

But as anyone who has sat amid the hooting and hollering of the opinionated Westminster audience knows, some breeds are automatic crowd favorites. Any dog that looks like a regular Joe, with a tousled coat or wrinkly skin, usually gets crowd support. But fussier, more primped breeds? Not so much.

Whether out of fealty or familiarity, Westminster fans also root for the breed that sits on the couch beside them. But chances are they might not get much satisfaction on that score, either. Of the top five dog breeds registered by the American Kennel Club, two have never won Best in Show at the Garden.

Here are some canine hopefuls that have yet to best their competitors at New York City’s famous dog show. On May 6 through May 9, tune in to watch breeds compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

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