Westminster: Giving Back Since 1877
The impact of The Westminster Kennel Club in the world of dogs and the dog-owning public is significant, unique, and extensive.
For over 140 years – since its establishment in 1877 – The Westminster Kennel Club has given back to its local, national and international communities in many ways. With its annual all-breed dog show as the founding element of what’s now known as “Westminster Week,” the club continues to offer its communities educational, financial and promotional support.
The club has always taken a leadership role in family-friendly dog sports. To this day this annual celebration of dogs educates and informs the public about responsible dog ownership, purebred dogs and the many ways to enrich the relationships with their pets.
- Benched Dog Show – Finding the right dog to match your lifestyle is the first step in responsible ownership. An educated owner is better prepared for the challenges of dog ownership and that helps keep dogs out of shelters. This is a unique opportunity for dog owners and prospective dog owners to attend one of the world’s few benched dog shows. In the benching area, the general public can get “up close and personal” with the dogs and speak with the owners and breeders to learn more about the various breeds and their needs.
- Meet & Compete – During the Meet & Compete portion of Westminster Week the AKC’s Meet the Breeds event is another full day dedicated to breed education. This fun event encourages the public to meet the breeds in an exhibition-style, non-competitive atmosphere. It’s a relaxed, family-friendly event where the public can speak with owners and breeders while meeting over 150 breeds. In addition to the annual dog show, this event gives people the opportunity to learn about the breeds before making a decision to bring one into their family.
- At its first show in 1877, Westminster donated all the proceeds from an entire day to the ASPCA to establish a home for stray and disabled dogs. This donation has continued every year since.
- Over the years Westminster’s charitable giving has also included the Red Cross, Dogs for Defense, the National War Fund, Take The Lead, Angel On A Leash, National Association of Search and Rescue Dogs, relief efforts for natural disasters, AKC Humane Fund, AKC Companion Animal Rescue, California Dog Owners Coalition, Greyhound Rescue, the Canine Health Foundation, the Seeing Eye, Animal Medical Center, Project HEAL for wounded military members, and the Warrior Canine Connection.
- Since 1990 Westminster has given more than $1.43 million in veterinary school scholarships to students at Cornell, Pennsylvania, Tufts, Michigan State, Tuskegee, and California-Davis.
- Each year for the Junior Showmanship competition, which is limited to young people ages 9-18, the Westminster Kennel Club offers the eight finalists Scholarship Awards totaling $20,000 for their use in post-secondary schooling for the college or technical school of their choice.
Partnering for Rescue:
- Westminster teams with its sponsor Purina, in support of Purina’s charities: Rally to Rescue, Pets for People, and One Hope Alliance, to help shelter dogs and breed rescue across the country. Over the years, Westminster has helped to raise millions of dollars for rescue programs and shelters to help dogs in need.
- On numerous occasions during Westminster’s televised finals competition at Madison Square Garden, the heroic dogs, individuals and organizations whose work has touched people in need have been regularly recognized. That includes heroic war dogs, fire department dogs, search and rescue dogs and people of 9/11, participants in the rescue and recovery effort in the Gulf States, Middle East War military veterans, service dogs and therapy dog teams and the people, patients and families they touch, and many more.
The reach of the Westminster Kennel Club and its famed annual all-breed dog show extends to the millions of spectators who have attended the show, the millions of television viewers (televised since 1948), the hundreds of thousands of exhibitors, and most recently, the millions of viewers on the Internet and on social media. More than 700 media organizations representing more than 20 countries annually cover the event in person, helping to create thousands of stories and placements in media across the country and around the world.