Sporting Group Records
Date 1st Entered
This date is determined by Westminster Kennel Club records and is somewhat arbitrary. It does not necessarily correspond with official recognition by the AKC nor with its standing as a separate breed or variety at Westminster. Rather it is usually when that breed is first named as such in the catalog and show records.
If the breed was shown somewhat consistently in the Miscellaneous Class before 1924, that goes to establish the “Date 1st Entered.” If shown in Miscellaneous Class in 1924 or after, it is noted but did not count until regular status is granted and the breed winner is eligible for Group and BIS competition. See Miscellaneous Breeds section.
BIS & Group Placements
Best In Show has been awarded since 1907 (except for 1923) and Group competition has been held since 1924.
The column headings in each chart represent the number of Best In Show Awards and Group placements in each position. The year in parentheses in the “BIS” and “1” column represents the last year that this breed won BIS and the last year that it won the Group; the number in parentheses in one of the other columns represents the last year that the breed placed in the Group; if there is a year only in the “1” Group column, that means that the last time that the breed placed in the Group, it won the group. For example, a Pointer has won 3 BIS (the most recent in 1986), 14 Group 1 (most recent in 1989, 4 Group 2, 7 Group 3, and 5 Group 4 awards. The last time it placed in the Group was in 1998 with a Group 4.
The 1888 Catalog is the first in which AKC Rules are included (adopted Dec 6, 1887). From Rule 2: “Every dog entered at any show held under these rules … must be registered in the American Kennel Club Stud Book. In case a dog has not been registered previous to date of entry, owner must fill out a registration blank and forward same, with fee of 50 cents, together with show entry to the Secretary of the Show, who shall mark the dog as registered and forward blank with registration fee to the Secretary of the American Kennel Club (The above to take effect January 1st, 1888).”
Best In Show wins – 20
Most recent: German Shorthaired Pointer (2016)
Most Group wins – 15
English Springer Spaniel
Most consecutive Group wins – 3
Cocker Spaniel (Black) (1939-1941)
Gordon Setter (1997-1999)
Most Group placements – 56
Most consecutive Group placements – 12
Irish Setter (1933-1944)
Current streak of Group placements – 3
Setter (English) (2021-2023)
Year in parentheses indicates the most recent year of the award.
|BIS||Grp 1st||Grp 2nd||Grp 3rd||Grp 4th|
|Brittany||1935||0||3||3 (2022)||2||4 (2023)|
|Pointer||1877||3 (1986)||14 (1989)||5 (2008)||8 (2023)||5|
|Pointer (German Shorthaired)||1935||3 (2016)||6 (2021)||3||5 (2022)||3|
|Pointer (German Wirehaired)||1960||0||1 (2013)||3 (2020)||1||1|
|Retriever (Chesapeake Bay)||1877||0||0||0||0||1 (1985)|
|Retriever (Curly-Coated)||1926||0||0||0||0||1 (2006)|
|Retriever (Flat-Coated)||1926||0||1 (2001)||0||1||1|
|Retriever (Golden)||1928||0||3 (2020)||11||6 (2017)||7|
|Retriever (Labrador)||1923||0||0||4||1 (2016)||6|
|Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)||2004||0||0||0||0||0|
|Setter (English)||1877||1 (1938)||8 (2023)||10||14 (2021)||2|
|Setter (Gordon)||1877||0||6 (1999)||0||2 (2010)||4|
|Setter (Irish)||1877||0||11 (2017)||13 (2019)||18||14|
|Setter (Irish Red And White)||2010||0||0||0||0||0|
|Spaniel (American Water)||1945||0||0||0||1 (2019)||1 (1947)|
|Spaniel (Clumber)||1878||1 (1996)||1||1||3 (2018)||3|
|Spaniel (Cocker) Black||1877||2 (1941)||7 (2011)||16 (2015)||5||8 (2019)|
|Spaniel (Cocker) A.S.C.O.B.||1899||1 (1954)||3 (1973)||6 (2018)||7 (2020)||5|
|Spaniel (Cocker) Parti-Color||1899||1 (1921)||5 (1994)||4||3 (2004)||1|
|Spaniel (English Cocker)||1937||0||0||3||2||5 (2008)|
|Spaniel (English Springer)||1916||6 (2007)||15 (2015)||11||10||7 (2014)|
|Spaniel (Field)||1877||0||0||1 (2002)||0||0|
|Spaniel (Irish Water)||1877||1 (1979)||7 (2014)||3 (2023)||1||3 (2017)|
|Spaniel (Sussex)||1895||1 (2009)||4 (2019)||0||1 (2005)||2|
|Spaniel (Welsh Springer)||1953||0||0||0||0||1 (1987)|
|Vizsla||1962||0||1 (1983)||1 (2007)||3||4 (2020)|
|Weimaraner||1943||0||3 (2008)||0||1||5 (2021)|
|Wirehaired Pointing Griffon||1911||0||0||1||1||4 (2022)|
|*Beagle, 15 In.||0||1 (1928)||0||2||1 (1929)|
|*Irish Wolfhound||0||0||0||0||1 (1927)|
* Moved to Hound Group in 1930
- An English Curly Coated Retriever was entered in the Miscellaneous Class in 1879. English Retrievers were entered in the Miscellaneous Class in 1880, 1881, 1884 and 1886. There was a regular class for English Retrievers from 1888-1899.
- In 1900 and from 1903-1922, the class became simply Retrievers instead of English Retrievers.
- In 1923-24-25, there were two separate classes: Labrador Retrievers and Retrievers. In 1924 and 1925 (there was no Group competition in 1923), the Best Labrador and the Best Retriever each advanced to the Sporting Group.
- In 1926-27, the Retrievers class became Retrievers (Flat or Curly). Labrador Retrievers competed separately and the two winners moved forward to the group.
- From 1928-1931, there was only one breed class offered, Retrievers, with separate judging for each of the different Retrievers. Only one dog was selected as Best Retriever to go forward to the Sporting Group.
- From 1932-37, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers were judged separately; Flat-Coated Retrievers and Curly-Coated Retrievers were judged together as Retrievers. One Labrador, one Golden, and one Retriever each went forward to the Sporting Group.
- Beginning in 1938, the Curly and Flat-Coated Retrievers were separated so that four different Retriever breed winners (Golden, Labrador, Flat-Coated, and Curly-Coated) went forward to the group.
According to Bea Smith Brown’s book The English Springer Spaniel in America (1970), in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, “…most spaniels were unclassified and unclassifiable.” In those days, the size was usually the only factor in determining in which class a Spaniel would be entered.
During this time, dogs that would later come to be known as English Springer Spaniels, Sussex Spaniels, and Field Spaniels were probably all shown as Field Spaniels because of their size (over 28 lbs.). However, while the colors listed with the individual entries give some indication of this, there is no definitive evidence as such.
On the other hand, it is generally agreed that the earliest Cocker Spaniels shown at Westminster were most likely English Cockers in type. At Westminster, the distinction between “American type” and “English type” was made for the first time within the Cocker classes in 1937, but only one winner was selected as Best Cocker Spaniel and went forward to the Group. The two were finally separated in 1943 at Westminster when Spaniels (Cocker) and Spaniels (English Cocker) Variety winners both advanced into the Sporting Group.
Here are the divisions and designations as taken from the Westminster catalogs through the years:
- In 1877, entries were in these classes:
- Cocker Spaniels (colors were given for each individual breed entry, either liver and white, or black
- Field Spaniels of any other breed (colors were given in each individual breed entry as liver and white; lemon and white; orange and white)
- Irish Water Spaniels
- Retrieving Spaniels other than pure Irish (this class was offered only in 1877 and 1878)
- In 1878, a separate class was offered for the first time for Clumber Spaniels.
- In 1879, the Cocker and the Field Spaniels were combined into one breed class: Cocker or Field Spaniels.
- In 1881, the Cocker and Field Spaniels were again separated into the following breed classes:
- Field Spaniels (large size), dogs over 28 lbs., bitches over 25 lbs.
- Cocker Spaniels, dogs under 28 lbs., bitches under 25 lbs.
- In 1882, those Spaniel Classes (excluding Irish Water Spaniels and Clumber Spaniels) were combined for dogs and bitches:
- Spaniels (other than black) over 28 lbs.
- Cocker Spaniels (other than black) under 28 lbs.
- Black Spaniels over 28 lbs.
- Black Cocker Spaniels under 28 lbs.
- In 1883, the classes were changed again:
- Field Spaniels (any color) over 28 lbs.
- Cocker Spaniels (other than black) under 28 lbs.
- Cocker Spaniels (black or black and white) under 28 lbs.
- In 1884, the classes were:
- Field Spaniels (any color) over 28 lbs. – no change
- Cocker Spaniels (liver or black) under 28 lbs.
- Cocker Spaniels (any color other than liver or black) under 28 lbs.
- No changes until 1889, when it became:
- Field Spaniels (black)
- Field Spaniels (liver)
- Field Spaniels (other than liver or black)
- Cocker Spaniels (black)
- Cocker Spaniels (other than black)
- In 1890:
- Field Spaniels (over 28 lbs.)
- Cocker Spaniels (not exceeding 28 lbs.) – black
- Cocker Spaniels (not exceeding 28 lbs.) – any other color
- 1891: no weights specified for Field Spaniels, but classes again divided by color (black and liver).
- 1895: One class for Field and Sussex Spaniels
- In 1899, the terms A.S.C.O.B. (Any Solid Color Other than Black) and Parti-Color appear for the first time but are not separated into different classes or Varieties.
- Norfolk Spaniels (later became English Springer Spaniels) are entered in the Miscellaneous Class in 1916 and 1917. An English Springer Spaniel is entered in the Miscellaneous Class in 1921. A class is offered for Springer Spaniels beginning in 1923 and this eventually becomes English Springer Spaniels in 1930.
- The Parti-Color Cocker becomes a separate Variety in 1943, while Blacks and ASCOBs are judged together as Solid Colors. In 1944, the solid colors are separated so that there are now three separate Varieties (Black, ASCOB, Parti), with each sending a representative to the Sporting Group.
- It is generally acknowledged that the Cocker Spaniels exhibited at Westminster beginning in 1877 were probably of the English type. However, no differentiation is made until 1937, when “English type” and “American type” were used to describe the entries in Cocker Spaniels. English Cocker Spaniels first competed as a separate variety at Westminster in 1943, and the American type continued in the three varieties of Cocker Spaniels, resulting in four dogs advancing to the Sporting Group competition.
- German Shorthair Pointers were entered in the Miscellaneous Class in 1931 and 1934.
- A Spinone Italiano was entered in the Miscellaneous Class in 1932 and 1933, but the breed was not entered again until 2001 after it had been officially recognized by the AKC.
- The Beagle, Greyhound, Irish Wolfhound, and the Whippet, along with several other dogs now known as Hounds, were a part of the Working Group from 1924-1929. These dogs were reclassified as members of the newly-established Sporting (Hound) Group in 1930.