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The Rich & Colorful History of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

The 142nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will continue to add to its legacy as the greatest dog show in the world, persisting as the second longest continuously held sporting event in this country (just one year behind the Kentucky Derby) next week!

Debby Wong / Shutterstock, Inc.

To fully grasp the place in history of the Westminster Kennel Club and its famed annual event, consider that Westminster predates the invention of the light bulb and the automobile, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument, the invention of basketball and the establishment of the World Series. Since Westminster held its first show 142 years ago, 25 men have been elected president and 12 states have joined the union.

As one might imagine, the history of the club and its show is rich and colorful.

• A share of the proceeds from the first show in 1877 was given to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to open a home for stray and disabled dogs. Westminster continues to support the ASPCA today.

• In that first show, there were entries in 35 different breeds and a Miscellaneous Class,…

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