The gold standard of dog shows in the United States is the annual Westminster Kennel Club, which has the venerable honor of being the oldest kennel club in America. Founded in 1877, Westminster Kennel Club has held an annual dog show every year since, and they showcase some of the most impressive and talented dogs alive.
The last Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was hosted from May 8th to May 9th in 2023 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, which also hosts the prestigious US Open tennis tournament. While the exact schedule of the 2024 event hasn’t been released at the time of this writing, the dates have. It will be hosted at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the second year in a row from May 11th to May 14th, 2024.
This competition is multifaceted, and thousands of dogs will compete in five historic competitions again in 2024: the 11th Annual Masters Agility Championship, 9th Annual Masters Obedience Championship, Dock Diving, hundreds of Breed events, and Junior Showmanship. For a bit more about the WKC, its history, the qualifications to enter the WKC Dog Show, and more, join us down below.
What Is the Westminster Kennel Club?
The Westminster Kennel Club was founded in 1877 by a group of gun dog enthusiasts in Manhattan, and their dog show has been the second longest-running continuously held sporting event in American history. Along with the Kentucky Derby which predates it, the WKC’s annual Dog Show has been held every single year without fail, even through wars, the Great Depression, and all the other turmoil of history.
To help contextualize the show’s importance, this event is such a big deal that the New York Stock Exchange invites the winning dog and its owner to open the stock market after their victory.
The WKC became wildly popular among breed enthusiasts of every type, and the organization developed an exhaustive laundry list of breed standards. Somewhat controversially, the WKC has been criticized for seemingly arbitrary “standards” like eye color or shape. Still, they’ve been a constant ally for canines everywhere, contributing to dog health research and offering invaluable educational resources for dog owners everywhere.
How Do You Qualify for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
Like any serious dog sporting organization, the WKC has a sky-high barrier to entry, and your dog will need to boast some serious credentials if they hope to compete in this highly prestigious event. Let’s review some of the qualifications your dog will need to qualify for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show down below. Bear in mind that any one of these qualifiers are acceptable criteria to qualify for the event.
Does It Cost Money to Enter the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
Yes, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show charges all qualifying contestants $100 to enter the event. Honestly, that’s chump change considering the amount of money you’ll need to pour into your dog’s health and career. The average purebred dog with AKC papers will cost you several thousand dollars upfront, not to mention medical bills, paperwork, food, accessories, and so on.
What Are the Prizes for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
Somewhat surprisingly, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has no monetary cash reward for winners at their events. It’s bragging rights and shiny awards, mostly. Just like musicians who get famous on TV shows like American Idol, a lot of the money to be made as a show dog that wins a WKC Dog Show comes into their career after winning.
The winners become instant money makers for breeding, as everyone wants some of those award-winning genes for their next litter of show puppies. Aside from that, winners can make a lot of money in sponsorships and ambassadorships from various public-leaning pet companies out there. Think Purina-level endorsements.
The Westminster Kennel Club’s annual Dog Show will be held from May 11th to May 14th, 2024. To even enter requires a long, storied show dog career for aspiring winners, the Super Bowl of dog shows. This prestigious organization has some controversial breed standards, but its devoted history and canine-related efforts elsewhere still make them a huge deal in the dog world.
Featured Image Credit: Ksenia Raykova, Shutterstock