On February 15 and 16, 2016 the Westminster Kennel Club had its 140th annual dog show. The winner was a stoic brown and white speckled German Shorthaired Pointer. For bulldog fans, you may have noticed another successful year as “Annabelle,” while not taking home top honors certainly made her presence known to fans who cheered her on as she playfully strutted her way to 1st in the non-sporting group.
In recent years, bulldogs have continued to showcase themselves as the darlings of shows around the world – inching forward and hinting at the possible throne of Westminster’s Best in Show. Dog show enthusiasts love bulldogs every time they step in front of the crowd, often to loud applause and chanting as they did in Westminster 2016 – “Ann-a-belle! Ann-a-belle! Ann-a-belle!” While at 4-years-old Annabelle may be close to retirement from big shows, she has had a great run and begged the question – How long until another bulldog wins Westminster’s best in show?
Yes, you’ve read that right. I said – next time.
It has been some time since a bulldog won Best in Show at Westminster – 1955, Kippax Fearnought. And it is not surprising with the praise and popularity that bulldogs have received over recent years that the breed is a favorite in years to come to take home another big victory.
Kippax Fearnought – Bulldog Best In Show 1955
Kippax Fearnought – arguably one of the best, and most obscure names on the dog show circuit – was well known among the dog-show circuit in his time. He was gloriously touted on the cover of July 4, 1955, Sports Illustrated as well as other magazines and newspapers after his well-deserved 1955 win. Five years later he was again brought to the spotlight as the grandfather of Handsome Dan X, known as one of Yale Universities finest mascots, and crucial to Yale’s 1960 9-0 record.
Prince Albert – Bulldog Best In Show 1913
Going back another 42 years to 1913 was Prince Albert, a white bulldog with brindle patches along the side of his head. Albert left behind in his own right a legacy hard to compare. He won Best in Show in 1913 and took 2nd in 1914. His 1913 honor was one of the biggest surprises in Westminster’s 140-year history as Prince Albert was the first non-terrier dog to win. In addition to his two Best in Show honors (1st and 2nd place), Prince Albert won Best Male Bulldog (1915) and Best of Breed several years in a row (1914-1917).
Past bulldog winners of Westminster left behind a gloried legacy, and with Annabelle’s charming legacy now paving the way for future bulldogs, we can only ask again – Is 2017 finally the year a bulldog will once again stand atop Westminster’s Best in Show. The cult-like following of bulldogs, keenly similar to football fans in regards to energy and devotion, is only a small indicator of the potential bulldogs will have in upcoming shows.
1913 – Prince Albert
1955 – Kippax Fearnought
2017 – ???