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Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club
Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club
Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club
Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club
Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club
Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club
Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club

The biggest Conformation event of the year is here, and the results are out! The 2023 AKC National Championship, which took place on December 16-17 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, saw thousands of dogs competing to see who would take home the coveted title of Best in Show. The winners were announced in a broadcast on ABC, that aired on December 31, 2023.

Group winners in each category competed first among the dogs in their breeds to determine Best in Breed. Then, dogs in each breed went on to compete against all other dogs in their group: the Herding Group, Hound Group, Non-Sporting Group, Sporting Group, Terrier Group, Toy Group, and Working Group. Out of the winners of each group, the Best in Show winner and Reserve Best in Show winner were chosen on Sunday night, judged by Mr. Clay Coady.

Best in Group

Each AKC-recognized dog breed falls into one of seven group classifications:

The Group Winners of the 2023 AKC National Championship

Herding Group Winner

Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club

The winner of the Herding Group at the 2023 AKC National Championship was German Shepherd Dog “Mercedes” GCHG CH Kaleef’s Mercedes. Mercedes is owned by Cynthian Wilhelmy and Sheree Moses, and was bred by AKC Breeders of Merit Sheree Moses Combs, Lauren Arbaugh, Madeline Llewellyn, and Jeanne Hamilton. The Herding Group was judged by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia, with Ms. Janina K. Laurin judging the German Shepherd Dog Best of Breed competition.

Placing second in the group was Norwegian Buhund “Buzz” GCHG CH Cloudpointe Ringside Gossip. Briard “Chris” GCHG CH Ne Orageux’s Nudge Nudge Wink Wink took third place in the group, and Cardigan Welsh Corgi “Jaijai” GCHP CH Redbud Across The Universe place fourth.

Hound Group Winner

Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club

The winner of the Hound Group at the 2023 AKC National Championship was Afghan Hound “Zaida” GCHG CH Zaida Bint Muti Von Haussman. Zaida is owned by Ramon Podesta, Scott Pfeil J., and Donahue A. Sobrado. The Afghan Hound was bred by Ramon Podesta Valenzuela. The Hound Group was judged by Mr. Charles L. Olvis, with Mr. Desmond J Murphy judging the Afghan Hound Best of Breed competition.

Placing second in the group was Treeing Walker Coonhound “Nate” GCHS CH Lost Heritage Knight Of Eldorado. Beagle (13 inch and under) “Olivia” GCHS CH Fetch & Smell Olive Oyl placed third in the group, and American Foxhound GCHS CH Kiarry’s Gotta Have Faith took fourth place.

Non-Sporting Group Winner

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The winner of the Non-Sporting Group at the 2023 AKC National Championship was Miniature Poodle “Sage” GCHG CH Surrey Sage, owned by Cathy Gauche and bred by Kathleen Wallen and Kaz Hosaka. The Non-Sporting Group was judged by Mr. David J. Kirkland, with Dana P. Cline judging Best of Variety for Miniature Poodles.

In second place in the Non-Sporting Group was Schipperke CH Delamer Summer Sand Elle. Bulldog GCHP CH Cherokee Legend Encore took third place, with Bichon Frise GCHS CH Legend’s Follow The Dream placing fourth in the group.

Sporting Group Winner

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The winner of the Sporting Group at the 2023 AKC National Championship was German Shorthaired Pointer “Phoenix” GCHG CH Vjk-Myst Heir To The Throne JH FDC CGCA CGCU TKN BN-V, owned by Robert Grant, Valerie Nunes-Atkinson, Yvonne Hassler-Deterding, and Yvonne Deterding. The GSP was bred by AKC Breeders of Merit Susan Stutz, Yvonne Hassler-Deterding, and Valerie Nunes-Atkinson. The Sporting Group was judged by Ms. Pluis Davern, with Dr. Jose Luis Payro judging Best of Breed for German Shorthaired Pointers.

Placing second in the Sporting Group was Irish Setter “Jackson” GCHG CH Ramblin’ Red Slamdunk Buckpasser RN MH DN CGCA TKA. In third place was Labrador Retriever “Rowdy” GCHG CH Hyspire Ghoststone A Tough Nut To Crack TKN, with English Springer Spaniel GCHG CH Telltale Bohemian Rhapsody taking fourth place in the group.

Terrier Group Winner

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The winner of the Terrier Group at the 2023 AKC National Championship was Bedlington Terrier “Tori” GCHG CH First Class Victoria Berland Empress Of Magic, owned by Jacquelyn Fogel. Tori was also bred by Fogel, who is an AKC Breeder of Merit Participant. The Terrier Group was judged by Mr. Harold “Red” Tatro III, with Mrs. Connie H. Clark judging Best of Breed for Bedlington Terriers.

Wire Fox Terrier GCHB CH Fleet St. Roque Down Easter took second place in the Terrier Group. In third place was Sealyham Terrier “Stache” GCHP CH Goodspice Efbe Money Stache, and Scottish Terrier “Hugh” GCHG CH Chyscott’s The Greatest Showman placed fourth.

Toy Group Winner

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The winner of the Toy Group at the 2023 AKC National Championship was Shih Tzu “Comet” GCHP CH Hallmark Jolei Out Of This World, owned by Luke and Diane Ehricht, Bonnie J. Miller, and Susan Carter. Luke and Diane Ehricht bred Comet, and are AKC Breeders of Merit. The Toy group was judged by Mrs. Rosalind Kramer, with Mr. David J. Kirkland judging Best of Breed for Shih Tzus.

Placing second in the Toy Group was Pekingese GCH CH Pequest Fortune Cookie. Maltese “Cookie” CH Ta-Jon’s Made From Scratch came in third place, with Yorkshire Terrier “Louis” GCH CH Samourai Du Domaine De Monderlay placing fourth.

Working Group Winner

Stephaniellen Photography © American Kennel Club

The winner of the Working Group at the 2023 AKC National Championship was Doberman Pinscher “Wicked” GCHP CH Alcher Tmac Witchcraft V Gentry, owned by Cheryl Green and Tony Mackenzie. Wicked was bred by Green and Mackenzie, as well as Deborah Romans, all AKC Breeder of Merit Participants. The Working Group was judged by Mrs. Vicki Seiler-Cushman, with Andrew H. Brace judging Best of Breed for Doberman Pinschers.

In second place in the working group was Portuguese Water Dog GCHG CH Watersong Pouch Cove Resolute. Giant Schnauzer GCHG CH Spicerack’s Shotgun Rider CGCA TKN placed third, with “Cudar” GCHS CH Emek Hayarden Cudar the Kuvasz coming in fourth.

The AKC National Championship is right around the corner, and you don’t want to miss the action! Tune in to ABC on December 31 at 2 p.m. ET to see who’s crowned Best in Show. 

Did you miss last year’s show? You can watch the 2022 AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin on demand on AKC.tv!