Which Pup Will Win Westminster’s Best in Show? All Clues Point to This Breed

westminster 2022 predictions

There are roughly 3,500 dogs competing at this year’s 146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Presented by Purina Pro Plan. Only one will take home Best in Show and top dog bragging rights. Now, we don’t want to ruin the surprise, but we think we have a pretty good idea of who will win. We did some research, tacked a bunch of dog headshots to a wall, observed some of this year’s V.I.P. competitors, connected the dots with red string and drew some conclusions. So, based on the last ten years of winners and some other clues, this year’s Best in Show dog will be the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

The past ten winners of Westminster are as follows:

  • 2021: Wasabi the Pekingese
  • 2020: Siba the Standard Poodle
  • 2019: King the Wire Fox Terrier
  • 2018: Flynn the Bichon Frise
  • 2017: Rumor the German Shepherd
  • 2016: CJ the German Shorthaired Pointer
  • 2015: Miss P the Beagle
  • 2014: Sky the Wire Fox Terrier
  • 2013: Joey the Affenpinscher
  • 2012: Malachy the Pekingese

Clue No.1: Repeat Winners

In the past ten years, two breeds have won twice: the Pekingese (2021 and 2012) and the Wire Fox Terrier (2014 and 2019). Since the show’s inception in 1877, a Pekingese has won five times, as has a Standard Poodle, which won most recently in 2020. However, Wire Fox Terriers are the winningest dogs at Westminster. They’ve taken the gold a whopping 15 times! We think another win for any of these major repeat winners so soon after their recent victories would be a stretch. We also don’t understand the math of “odds,” but we think the odds of us being right are really, really good.  

Clue No. 2: Medium-Sized Dogs Win

Most of the previous ten winners have been medium-sized dogs—and a toy breed just won in 2021. On the other hand, Great Danes have never won Best in Show. In fact, big dogs don’t really kill it on the purple carpet. The biggest breeds who’ve won are the Newfoundland (in 1984 and 2004), the Scottish Deerhound (in 2011) and the German Shepherd (in 1987 and 2017). Uh, hello? Notice a pattern? Based on our fool-proof logic, a Scottish Deerhound will win again in 2031 because every 20 years they give it to a giant pooch. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are medium-sized dogs with big ears and tiny tails, aka the best of all worlds.

Clue No. 3: Corgis Keep Getting Close

Since Pembroke Welsh Corgis were accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1936, they’ve come close to winning so. Many. Times. In the 2000s alone they won Best of Group four times— and they’ve won it seven times total! In 2017, when Rumor the German Shepherd won Best in Show, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi took home third place. This year at Westminster, there are 14 Pembroke Welsh Corgis participating. Guaranteed, every one of these dogs knows how to work a crowd. And the crowd eats it up. Trust us, we’ve literally been to a dog show where the crowd cheered loudest for the Corgi, no question—which brings us to Clue No. 4…

Clue No. 4: Popular Dogs are Due for a Major Win

The most popular breeds in America have never won Best in Show. If you aren’t outraged, you’re not paying attention! Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are the top two most popular breeds and neither has won Best in Show (smh). Labs haven’t even won Best of Group (and a Golden has only done that twice). These are the dogs of the American people and yet we haven’t honored them with a big ribbon or a trophy?! Pembroke Welsh Corgis rank Number 13 on the AKC’s breed popularity chart. They are friendly and hard-working. They play well with others and are eager to please. So what if they aren’t stoic and serious German Shorthaired Pointers like 2016’s winner? Most of the past ten winners are regal, prim and proper. But Pembroke Welsh Corgis? They greet the day with a sense of humor. They’re unafraid to get their hands dirty and play. Sound like anyone you know? Corgis are just like us—doing their best and staying positive during a crazy time. They/we need this! 

Side note: If one of the breeds making their Westminster debut this year wins Best in Show, let’s make a pact not to tell our favorite Golden Retriever or Lab. They’ll be devastated by this beginner’s luck. Both the Mudi and the Russian Toy have never been to Westminster before; let’s be good sports and cheer them on while still betting on the Corgi.   

Clue No. 5: The Best in Show Judge

Dog show judges are incredible. They have to memorize breed standards for all 209 breeds competing in this year’s show and make lightning-quick decisions about which dog most accurately represents breed standards. It’s not about which dog is cuter (though if it was, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi would be an absolute landslide victory, obvi), it’s about which dog is the most perfect example of its breed. This year’s Best in Show judge is Dr. Don Sturz from Brooklyn, New York. Yes, that Dr. Don Sturz, who we all know and love for his work breeding and handling Golden Retrievers, Miniature Poodles and—you guessed it—Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Now, this is not Dr. Sturz’s first rodeo—er, dog show. He’s been adjudicating dog shows for more than 30 years and at the Purina Pro Plan® Show Dogs of the Year award ceremony in 2020 he was awarded Judge of the Year. He’s impartial and not about picking favorites. But we know he knows Corgis well, and we think he knows we know he knows, so you know. He’ll pick a Corgi to win. 

Clue No. 6: The Home Page

When was the last time you visited the Westminster Kennel Club website? Well, if you check their homepage, the first image is of a dog competing in the Master’s Agility Championship. That dog, looking directly into the camera mid-leap? A Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Boom. Case closed. 

Be sure to watch the entire 146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show beginning Saturday, June 18, 2022! You can live stream it or catch it on Fox Sports. The Best in Show finale airs Wednesday, June 22, 2022, after Group Judging (Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups) from 7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. EDT.

4 “Hidden Gem” Breeds to Look for at Westminster’s 146th Annual Dog Show

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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...