Westminster’s dedication to Breed Education is at the forefront of its mission which includes responsible dog ownership—embodied by choosing the right breed for your lifestyle. A variety of Westminster activities and events promoting purebred dogs as ideal family companions, fun canine athletic partners, as well as top notch working and service dogs, provides the public with a relevant, trusted source of dog breed history and information.
- Attending Westminster’s Benched Dog Show is a great way to find the right dog breed to match your lifestyle—the most important 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 interact with the dogs and speak with the owners and breeders to learn more about the various breeds and their needs.
- During the Meet & Compete portion of Westminster Week, in addition to seeing the top agility dogs race through an obstacle course at the Masters Agility Championship, the AKC’s Meet the Breeds® event is a 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 also speak with owners and breeders while meeting more than 150 breeds.
- At each year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, junior showmanship exhibitors gather to recreate competition in Dog Show 101. The live narrated presentation by renowned dog show judges explains the purpose of dog shows, how dog shows work, how the public can use them as a way to further their dog breed education, and what exactly the judge is looking for to make their decisions. Video recorded for educational posterity, the video lives on the WKC YouTube channel.
- A televised dog show since 1948, Westminster was the first dog show brought to the American public on television. This exposure of group competition brought dog breed education to millions of viewers over the past 70 years. By the 21st Century, online streaming and televising of breed judging has furthered this education.
- With worldwide media coverage of the Westminster Week events, thanks to 700 credentialed media professionals, education and entertainment experiences continue to be distributed in print, online, radio, television, podcasts, and even films. To encourage media coverage of dog shows, Westminster sponsors the Dog Writer’s Association of America Walter R. Fletcher Award which recognized a journalist(s) who has consistently covered dog sporting events with a front row seat in the press section at Madison Square Garden.
- Westminster’s been a longtime supporter of the AKC Museum of the Dog and other non-profits organizations dedicated to the history and heritage of purebred dogs.