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On May 8, 1877, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opened in New York City’s Gilmore’s Garden

May 8, 2026

On May 8, 1877, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opened in New York City’s Gilmore’s Garden (a forerunner of Madison Square Garden). Today, the show is one of the largest and most famous dog shows in the world.

Did you know? The kennel club took its name from the Westminster Hotel, the preferred gathering place for its founding sportsmen members to gather and talk about shooting and their favorite hunting dogs.

Excepting the Kentucky Derby, the Dog Show is the oldest continuously-running sporting event in the U.S. (other events were disrupted by weather, economic downturns, and wars, but the Kentucky Derby and Westminster Dog Show have gone on).

 

Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, Giacomo Balla, 1912

-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer