Westminster: America's Dog Show 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 nearly 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 creating the platform, Westminster continually
reaches its audience with significant and credible messages.
- Celebration: promoting dog ownership by sharing life lessons that we learn from our dogs about unconditional love, loyalty, and living in the moment. For years, the world has known Westminster as the greatest dog show in the world. Its popular live telecast on USA Network in the last 20 years has allowed Westminster to become a celebration of the dogs in our lives. Emphasizing that these are real dogs and real people in a great family sport, we remind our viewers and fans that the real Best In Show dog is the dog sitting at home on the couch next to them.
- Education: teaching responsible ownership and how to find the right dog to match your lifestyle. An educated owner is better prepared for the challenges of dog ownership and that helps keep dogs out of shelters. What better opportunity could there be for dog owners and prospective dog owners than 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 visit with the owners and breeders in hopes of finding that right dog.
- Charity: 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. 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 through the years, more than $1 million in veterinary school scholarships at Cornell, Pennsylvania, Tufts, Michigan State, Tuskegee, and California-Davis.
- More charity: 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.
- Recognition: Through the years, Westminster has recognized in the Garden and on national television heroic dogs, individuals and organizations whose work touches people in need. 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 over the years through 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 in 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.