1876 (or earlier) - A group of sporting gentlemen meet regularly in the bar of a Manhattan hotel to trade stories about their shooting accomplishments and the talents of their dogs. Eventually they form a club and name it after their favorite hotel: The Westminster Breeding Association. Early on, the club owns a kennel and raises Pointers for hunting and field trials.
1876 - The Westminster Breeding Association helps stage a dog show in Philadelphia in celebration of America's centennial. The show is such a success that the members decide to hold their own dog show to allow them to compare their dogs in a setting away from the field. The members change the name of their organization to the Westminster Kennel Club.
1877 - The First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs, given under the auspices of the Westminster Kennel Club, is held in the Hippodrome at Gilmore's Garden in New York City, drawing an entry of 1,201 dogs.
The club pays rent of $1,500 for three days, adding a fourth day during the show to accommodate the overwhelming public interest. The proceeds from that fourth day are donated to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Dogs are listed in the catalog as "not for sale" or for sale at prices which range from $50 to $10,000.
1878 - The entry fee is $2, which includes feed and care of the dog.
1879 - This year's Premium List contains show rules and regulations, adopted together by Westminster and the Philadelphia Kennel Club. A Board of Appeals at the show is made up of three members of each club. It was an early step in the search for a set of rules under which the shows all across the country might be held. There would be no national governing body until the founding of AKC in 1884.
1884 - The Westminster Kennel Club is elected by the American Kennel Club as the AKC's first member club. The American Fox Terrier Club becomes the next member in 1886. Westminster is the only all breed club to be a member until the Rhode Island Kennel Club joins in 1897.
1888 - In accordance with new rules adopted by the American Kennel Club, every dog entered at Westminster must be registered with the American Kennel Club. And in those cases where a potential entrant was not registered with the AKC, the Westminster Show Secretary accepted a registration application and fee (50 cents) and forwarded it to the AKC.
1888 - With her assignment of 117 St. Bernards at Westminster, Anna Whitney becomes the first woman to judge a dog show in America. She judges every year for the next seven years, but it would be 1901 before another woman judges any dog show in the U.S.
1889 - "The Czar of Russia" is listed as the breeder of a Siberian Wolfhound entered at this year's show.
1890 - W.M. Bangs, M.D., writing in Cosmopolitan magazine: "These shows have been very popular and they have had great effect in forming and developing the taste of lovers of the dog; (Westminster Kennel Club) has had great effect in improving the quality of the dogs owned for use and companionship. Of this there can be no doubt ..."
One of the entries at this year's show is a Russian Wolfhound with a listed owner of "The Emperor of Germany."
1892 - The entry fee for Westminster is raised from $3 to $5, where it will remain until 1947.
1893 - Philanthropist J. P. Morgan makes the first of his many appearances at Westminster with his Collies.
1894 - Famous American journalist Nellie Bly enters her Maltese at Westminster, some four years after she made a record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes, racing the record of Phineas Fogg in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days.
1904 - For the first time, handlers wear arm bands with the catalog number of their dog.
1905 - With 1,752 dogs on hand, Westminster becomes the largest dog show ever held anywhere in the world, surpassing the last show held at the Crystal Palace in London.
1907 - The award of Best In Show is given for the first time at Westminster. A panel of 10 judges makes the decision, although their names were not recorded. (In fact, the names making up the panel of Best In Show judges were not recorded until 1912).
1908 - The number of dogs entered reaches 2,000 for the first time.
1909 - Ch. Warren Remedy, a Smooth Fox Terrier, is awarded Best In Show for the third consecutive year, a feat never since duplicated at Westminster.
1910 - A class is offered for the first time for Fire Department Dalmatians, won by Mike of Engine Company 8 of 51st Street.
1916 - One of the entries in the Miscellaneous Class this year is listed as a "Truffles Hunter." Later, nearly 30 dogs of different breeds compete in the Best In Show ring. A panel of five judges selects Ch. Matford Vic for her second consecutive BIS at Westminster
1917 - A special hero of World War I, a German Shepherd named Filax of Lewanno who had brought 54 wounded soldiers to safety, was exhibited at Westminster.
1918 - The profits of this show were donated to the American Red Cross in support of the war effort.
1918 - Amongst the donors of special trophies this year: Mrs. Payne (Helen Hay) Whitney, who was the first president of the Cairn Terrier Club of America. Her father, John Hay, was personal secretary to President Lincoln, Ambassador to the UK, and Secretary of State). Also making donations: Mrs. John Philip Sousa, wife of the band leader and composer; Mrs. Rodman Wanamaker, wife of the department-store owner and patron of the arts from Philadelphia; and Mrs. F.W. Vanderbilt.
1919 - Once again, profits were donated to the American Red Cross. While the war was over, Westminster offered special "Service Classes" for those who were serving or had served in the Armed Forces.
1923 - No Best In Show prize is awarded because of ongoing changes in American Kennel Club rules.
1924 - In the first Westminster held under the new rules for Groups and Best In Show judging, five Group winners (Sporting, Working, Terrier, Toy and Non-Sporting) competed for the final award of Best In Show.
1924 - Westminster becomes the first club to conduct Best In Show judging in accordance with the new rules and format installed by the AKC.
1926 - Madison Square Garden III opens on 8th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. Westminster moves its show there, where it will remain until the facility closes in 1968.
1928 - Mrs. Reginald F. Mayhew of Forest Hills, NY, becomes the first woman to have a voice in deciding Best In Show, as one of a panel of five judges making the decision.
1933 - Mrs. M. Hartley Dodge judges Best In Show, becoming the first woman to officiate as the sole judge of this award. Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge is soon legendary in the dog show world, as the force behind the Morris & Essex Kennel Club and the benefactor of St. Hubert Giralda Animal Shelter in New Jersey.
1933 - A German Shepherd belonging to New York Yankee great, Lou Gehrig, is among this year's entries. "Afra of Cosalta" takes second in the Open Bitch class; Gehrig goes on to some success on the baseball field instead, finishing with a .340 lifetime batting average as one of the most beloved Yankees of all time.
1934 - The Children's Handling Grand Challenge Trophy is offered for the first time at Westminster. Later to be known as Junior Handling, this competition continues to be part of Westminster every year.
1935 - Mrs. Sherman Hoyt handles her Standard Poodle to BIS, the first such win ever for a woman handler, a feat that would not be repeated until 1956.
1937 - 3,140 dogs are entered at Westminster.
1938 - Best In Show Judge John G. Bates is pictured on the cover of Time Magazine before Westminster, with the caption, "His choice becomes the people's choice."
1941 - The show is changed from three days to a two-day event.
1941 and 1942 - Proceeds from these shows are donated to the American Red Cross. In 1943 and 1944, proceeds go to the benefit of Dogs for Defense. In 1945, the National War Fund is the recipient of the proceeds.
1946 - A tugboat strike causes New York Mayor William O'Dwyer to close the city down on the eve of the dog show. Business was allowed to resume 24 hours later, by that time forcing Westminster to make arrangements to hold its show in one day instead of two. Using 17 rings and a makeshift schedule that kept all rings in constant use, Best In Show was awarded by 12:15 a.m. that night, 15 minutes earlier than the year before.
1948 - Television coverage of Westminster takes place for the first time.
1951 - The Boxer, Ch. Bang Away of Sirrah Crest, becomes the first dog from West of the Mississippi to win Best In Show at Westminster.
1956 - Anne Hone Rogers (later Mrs. James Edward Clark) becomes the first woman professional handler and the second female to handle a dog to the Best In Show award.
1968 - Lakeland terrier Ch. Stingray of Derryabah becomes the first dog to win Best In Show at Westminster after winning the same award at Crufts, Westminster's London counterpart.
1968 - The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the final event of any kind held at Madison Square Garden III. In 1969, the show moves to Madison Square Garden IV, its present location.
1969 - A bitter snowstorm cripples the New York area and plays havoc with Westminster's first show at the new Garden.
1972 - The English Springer Spaniel Ch. Chinoe's Adamant James captures his second consecutive Best In Show at Westminster, becoming the seventh dog with multiple BIS wins (six dogs with two, one dog with three). As of 2009, no dog has done it since.
1975 - Ch. Sir Lancelot of Barvan, an Old English Sheepdog, becomes the first Canadian dog to win BIS honors since 1918.
1976 - William W. Brainard, Jr. becomes the first person to judge Best In Show three times, a mark that is still unmatched.
1982 - The Westminster Kennel Foundation and Judge Frank Sabella become the first to donate gifts of art to the AKC Museum of the Dog.
1983 - Ch. Kabik's The Challenger, an Afghan Hound, becomes only the third Hound to win Best In Show and through 2009 is still the last Hound to do so.
1987 - The Westminster Kennel Foundation establishes an annual scholarship program for veterinary students.
1989 - A red Doberman Pinscher bitch, Ch. Royal Tudor's Wild as the Wind CD, becomes the first dog with an obedience title to capture Best In Show (and through 2009 remains as the only dog to do so).
1992 - Westminster becomes the first Champions Only dog show held under AKC rules. Awards of Merit are added to the awards, the exact number given to be a function of the number of entries in each breed or variety.
1993 - After capturing Best In Show the previous year, Ch. Registry's Lonesome Dove, a Wire Fox Terrier, fails in an attempt to repeat the win when it is awarded third place in the Terrier Group. This is the last time that a BIS winner has tried to repeat.
1997 - Ch. Parsifal Di Casa Netzer, a Standard Schnauzer, becomes the first Italian bred dog to win Best In Show.
1999 - "Kirby", a spunky Papillon officially known as Ch. Loteki Supernatural Being, becomes the oldest dog ever to win Best In Show. He is eight years, one month and ten days old. With this win, he becomes the first dog in the world to win both the World Dog Show (he won Best In Show at Helsinki over 17,000-plus dogs in 1998).
2003 - Ch. Torums Scarf Michael, a Kerry Blue terrier, captures Best In Show, becoming only the second dog to win both Westminster and Crufts.
2005 - For the first time, breed judging is broadcast to the general
public via streaming video on the Westminster web site
(www.westminsterkennelclub.org). Over 1.4 million streaming videos
are requested online, from 140 countries, along with 15 million page
2005 - For the first time, Madison Square Garden is completely sold
out for both days of the dog shows.
2006 - Once again, the Garden is completely sold out for both days of
the show, in spite of The Blizzard of 2006, which dropped a record-
breaking 27 inches of snow on Manhattan on the Saturday and Sunday
before the show.
2006 - Streaming video of the breed judging highlights increases
threefold in its second year, producing a staggering 23.7 terabytes
(a terabyte is 1,024 gigabytes). This total compares with 6.5
terabytes in 2005. Visitors logged 2.13 million visits (up 33% over
the previous year).
2006 - The enthusiastic Garden crowd and national television
audience join in saluting individuals and organizations in the dog
world that joined with Westminster in being active in the rescue and
recovery effort after the devastating Gulf Coast hurricanes of the
2007 - Chet Collier, longtime member and past show chair and
president, is the first recipient of the club's Sensation Award.
Named for the club's symbolic Pointer, the award is given in
recognition of a member's contribution to the club, to purebred dogs,
and the sport of showing dogs. Collier died later that year.
2008 - Ch. K-Run's Park Me in First becomes the first Beagle ever and
the first Hound in 25 years to win Best in Show at Westminster. His
victory sets off a year-long celebration dubbed "Beaglemania" by the
"Uno" becomes the first Westminster winner to be invited to the
White House, visiting President and Mrs. Bush in May, and later
visits Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the capital in Austin.
He rings the bell to open the NASDAQ market, throws out the first
pitch at major league baseball games in Milwaukee and St. Louis, is a
celebrity headliner at various events, and visits children, soldiers,
and other patients in hospitals and health care facilities around the
country. In November, he rides on the Peanuts/United Media float in
the world-famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
2009 - Senior citizens around the world join in the celebration as a Sussex Spaniel named "Stump" becomes the oldest dog ever to capture Best In Show at Westminster. The 10-year-old golden liver dog (registered name Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee) is more than two years older than the previous record holder, winning in front of another sellout crowd at the Garden. Stump is later featured on the cover of AARP Magazine.
2010 - The New York Post calls her the "Hottie Scottie," and the Scottish Terrier named Sadie (Ch. Roundtown Maryscot of Mercedes) struts her stuff to Best In Show and a post-show media tour that includes a visit to the Empire State Building, a visit with Donald Trump, and a trip to the New York Stock Exchange to ring the bell to open the market. It is the eighth time that a Scottish Terrier has captured the top award at Westminster, a total second only to Wire Fox Terriers (13).