Search Menu

Dogs from 49 States and 21 Countries

 Will Vie for Best in Show

NEW YORK, NY (November 20, 2018) – The AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin has drawn record entry numbers in its 18th year. An entry of 5,003 dogs will compete for the title of National Champion on December 15 and 16, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Combined with the other weekend events including the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes, AKC Agility Invitational, the AKC Obedience Classic, AKC National Owner-Handler Series Finals, NADD/AKC Diving Dogs Championship, and the Junior events, the overall show totals top 9,023 entries, making this the largest dog show held in the United States since the AKC 1984 Centennial event and the largest dog show in North America.

“The AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin is a unique experience that no dog lover should miss,” said Dennis Sprung, AKC President and Show Chairman. “With a quality entry thanks to our breeders, and more than 1,000,000 square feet of event space, top canine athletes competing in a wide variety of dog sports, tons of vendors selling dog-themed items in time for the holidays, more than 160 AKC Meet the Breeds® booths and more, there is something for everyone at this canine extravaganza.”

Events in the one million square feet of canine-centric space during the National Championship week of December 11-16, 2018 include the:

2018 Highlights:

Judges: Judge Mr. Elliott B. Weiss of Novelty, Ohio will select the AKC National Championship Best in Show (BIS) winner. The owner(s) of the BIS winner will receive $50,000. Mr. Edd E. Bivin of Fort Worth, Texas will judge Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show from over 1,063 Bred-by-Exhibitor entries (dogs being shown by their owner/breeder). Best Bred-By Exhibitor in Show will receive $15,000.  Best in Stakes at the AKC/Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes will be judged by an elite panel: Mr. Edd E. Bivin, Mr. Elliott B. Weiss and Mr. Dennis B. Sprung. These esteemed judges will determine the winner from 1,306 entries to be crowned the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed (Puppy/Junior) of the Year.

Viewing Coverage: The AKC National Championship evening competition will be streamed live beginning at 4:45 p.m. each night on AKC.TV and  The Bred-By Exhibitor groups, Junior Showmanship Finals, Best Miscellaneous, agility and obedience will be taped and available on demand at AKC.TV.  The Agility finals will be streamed live on AKC.TV.

AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals: The AKC NOHS Finals Best in Show competition will be judged by Mr. Charles L. Olvis on Saturday, December 15. This invitation-only competition is open to the top ten ranked dogs in the AKC National Owner-Handled Series in each breed/variety from the 2018 qualifying year and drew an entry of 737 dogs. The NOHS Group Finals will be taped and available on demand at


  • 191 AKC recognized breeds are entered to compete
  • 5,003 entries in the AKC National Championship
  • The largest entries include:
    • 151 Golden Retrievers
    • 147 Dachshunds (all varieties)
    • 112 Australian Shepherds
    • 84 French Bulldogs
    • 100 Labrador Retrievers
    • 63 Rhodesian Ridgebacks
    • 58 Pomeranians
    • 71 Poodles (all varieties)
    • 73 Chihuahuas (both varieties)
    • 72 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
    • 58 Rottweilers
  • 737 dogs are entered in the AKC National Owner-Handled Series (NOHS) Finals
  • 190 juniors, ages 9-17, who have met high academic standards and qualification criteria based on year-round competition, will compete in Junior Showmanship
  • More than 690 dogs will compete in the North America Diving Dogs/AKC National Championship


To purchase tickets or get more information about the show, visit us at or on Facebook and Twitter.