Elusive Westminster Victory: Why Golden Retrievers Can’t Seem to Clinch the Top Spot

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is one of the most prestigious and popular dog shows in the world, attracting thousands of dog enthusiasts and millions of viewers every year. However, there is one glaring injustice that has plagued this event for over a century: no golden retriever has ever won the coveted Best in Show title. Will we ever hear John O’Hurley in his distinct voice announce that a golden retriever has won best in show?

How is it possible that one of the most beloved and versatile dog breeds in America has never been crowned the champion of the Westminster Dog Show? Is it a matter of bad luck, poor judging, or something more sinister? According to the AKC The golden retriever has been one of the top 3 most popular dogs in the United States for over a decade, yet still no wins. Just from a statistical perspective based on total number of dogs, one should have already won, likely multiple times.

The golden retriever is a medium-sized breed that originated from Scotland by Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, where it was bred as a hunting dog that could retrieve birds from land or water. The breed is known for its friendly, intelligent, and loyal personality, as well as its beautiful golden coat that ranges from light to dark shades. The breed standard describes the ideal golden retriever as having a broad head, dark eyes, a wide and powerful muzzle, a large black nose, and ears of moderate size. The coat should be dense and water-repellent, with moderate feathering on the neck, back, legs, and tail. They really are just a beautiful dog that looks almost bred to show, could that be the reason? Trying too hard?

The golden retriever is not only a popular pet, but also a successful working dog that excels in various fields such as guide, assistance, search and rescue, therapy, obedience, agility, and field trials. The breed has proven its versatility and intelligence by being the first three dogs to earn the AKC Obedience Champion title in 1977. The breed has also been owned by several presidents, such as Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan. A golden retriever has won the AKC national agility championship 9 times.

Despite these impressive achievements and widespread popularity, the golden retriever has never won the Best in Show title at the Westminster Dog Show. The closest it ever came was in 2006, when a golden retriever named Andy won the Sporting Group and advanced to the final round, only to lose to a bull terrier named Rufus. Since then, no golden retriever has even won its own group at Westminster.

Why is this the case? Some might argue that it is simply a matter of preference and taste, and that different judges have different opinions on what constitutes the best dog of each breed and group. However, this argument does not hold up when we consider that some breeds have won multiple times at Westminster, such as the wire fox terrier (15 times), the Scottish terrier (9 times), and the poodle (9 times). Clearly, there is some bias or favoritism towards certain breeds over others.

Another possible explanation is that the golden retriever is too common and familiar to stand out among the other breeds. The breed is so popular that it might be seen as boring or ordinary by some judges who are looking for something more exotic or unique. However, this argument also fails to justify why some other common breeds have won at Westminster, such as the Labrador retriever (2 times), the beagle (2 times), and the German shepherd (2 times). Moreover, being common does not mean being inferior or lacking in quality. The golden retriever is still a remarkable breed that meets and exceeds its breed standard.

A more plausible and disturbing reason for why the golden retriever has never won at Westminster is that there is some form of discrimination or prejudice against the breed by some judges or organizers of the event. Perhaps some judges have a personal grudge or dislike towards golden retrievers for some reason. Perhaps some judges are influenced by external factors such as politics, money, or pressure from certain breeders or clubs. Perhaps some judges are simply ignorant or incompetent when it comes to evaluating golden retrievers.

Whatever the reason may be, it is clear that there is something wrong with the way the Westminster Dog Show is conducted and judged. The golden retriever deserves a fair chance to compete and win based on its merits and qualities, not on its popularity or lack thereof. The golden retriever is not only a wonderful companion and worker, but also a beautiful and noble representative of its breed. It is time for the Westminster Dog Show to recognize and reward this breed for what it truly is: one of the best in show.