Top 10 AKC National Championship Winning Show Dogs (2013-2022)


As one of the three major dog shows in the United States along with the National Dog Show and Westminster KC Dog Show, the AKC National Championship is held by the American Kennel Club each year in January or December. The first AKC National Championship dog show was held in 2001 in Orlando, Florida, with a Bichon Frise named JR being the Best in Show winner. The show was known as American Dog Classic at the time. In 2003, the show was held in Long Beach, California and a Norfolk Terrier named Coco took home the prize. an Alaskan Malamute named Costello won Best in Show at the January 2006 AKC National Championship held in Tampa, Florida.

The show, which showcases top canine athletes, can be livestreamed on AKC TV. Out of more than five thousand dogs that come to compete from all over the world, only seven go to Best in Show. Then one dog out of those seven wins Best in Show. This makes the Best in Show winner a very good dog. However, it doesn't mean that others are losers, they are just good dogs. Besides, dogs do not compete with one another during the show. A winning dog is determined by how close it conforms to its breed standard. With that in mind, here is the list of other past Best in Show winning dogs at the AKC National Championship from 2013 to 2022.

1. AKC National Championship 2022 Winner: Star the Bulldog

AKC National Championship 2022 Winner: Star the Bulldog

Handled by Dennis O’Connor, Star the Bulldog, whose registration name is GCHG Cherokee Legend Encore, won Best in Show at the 2022 AKC National Championship in Orlando, FL. Mr. Desmond Murphy was the Best in Show judge. From the 5183 good dogs that came to participate in the show from all over the United States and the world, Star the Bulldog stood out.

2. AKC National Championship 2021 Winner: Bayou the Giant Schnauzer

AKC National Championship 2021 Winner: Bayou the Giant Schnauzer

At the 2021 AKC National Championship, a Giant Schnauzer named Bayou earned the title of Best in Show and a cash prize of $50,000 after triumphing over more than 5,000 dogs. Bayou, officially known as GCHG CH Lagniappe’s From The Mountains To The Bayou, from Port Allen, Louisiana, triumphed in the Working Group before being declared Best in Show by Best in Show judge Mr. Dana P. Cline after a weekend of intense dog competition.

3. AKC National Championship 2020 Winner: Bourbon the Whippet

AKC National Championship 2020 Winner: Bourbon the Whippet

Bourbon the Whippet, registered as GCHP CH Pinnacle Kentucky Bourbon, won Best in Show at the 2020 AKC National Championship held on Dec. 13 in Orlando, Florida. The 5-year-old red-and-white female Whippet, who took Reserve Best in Show and Hound Group First at the 2020 Westminster Kennel Club show, turned the table in 2020 after giving a beautiful performance at AKC National Championship, thus affirming her legendary status as the top-winning Whippet in AKC history. With the help of handler Cheslie Pickett Smithey of Sugar Valley, Georgia, Bourbon outperformed more than 3,000 dogs to win her 108th Best in Show title.

4. AKC National Championship 2019 Winner: Wasabi the Pekingese

AKC National Championship 2019 Winner: Wasabi the Pekingese

Wasabi the Pekingese is the first dog from the toy group to win Best in Show at the National Championship in 2019. Officially known as GCH CH Pequest Wasabi, the fluffy Pekingese in addition to the title took home a cash prize of $50,000 after beating out over 5,200 other competitors.

5. AKC National Championship 2018 Winner: Whiskey the Whippet

AKC National Championship 2018 Winner: Whiskey the Whippet

In 2018, Whiskey the Whippet became the first of his breed to win Best in Show at the AKC National Championship held in Orlando, FL. Registered as GCHP CH Pinnacle Tennessee Whiskey, the adorable Whippet first topped the Hound Group before making it into the Best in Show group that included a Samoyed, a Weimaraner, a Pug, a Norwich Terrier, a French Bulldog, and a Border Collie. Whiskey came out triumphant and took home a cash prize of $50,000. This Best in Show title was Whiskey’s 21st. The dog won his 20th Best in Show title at the 17th Annual National Dog Show that same year.

6. AKC National Championship 2017 Winner: Striker the American Cocker Spaniel

AKC National Championship 2017 Winner: Striker the American Cocker Spaniel

In 2017, an American Cocker Spaniel named Striker from Venetia, Pennsylvania won Best in Show at the AKC National Championship dog show in Orlando, Florida. Officially known as GCHP CH Silverhall Strike Force, Striker won the National Championship after triumphing over nearly 5,000 dogs from the United States and 44 other countries. In addition to a $50,000 cash prize, Striker also earned a paw print pendant. The Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States and is the AKC's smallest sporting spaniel.

7. AKC National Championship 2016 Winner: Preston the Puli

AKC National Championship 2016 Winner: Preston the Puli

In 2016, Preston the Puli became the first corded dog to win Best in Show at the AKC National Championship, the largest dog show in North America. Registered as GCHB CH Cordmaker Mister Blue Sky, Preston beat out nearly 5,000 dogs representing over 200 AKC-recognized breeds and varieties to take top place.

8. AKC National Championship 2015 Winner: Rumor the German Shepherd

AKC National Championship 2015 Winner: Rumor the German Shepherd

Rumor the German Shepherd was declared Best in Show at the 2015 AKC National Championship. Registered as GCH CH Lockenhaus' Rumor Has It V Kenlyn, Rumor the German Shepherd from Maumee, Ohio, was crowned National Champion by Best in Show judge Robert Stein after the dog beat out more than 4,000 dogs. In 2017, Rumor won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.

9. AKC National Championship 2014 Winner: Charlie the Skye Terrier

AKC National Championship 2014 Winner: Charlie the Skye Terrier

Charlie the Skye Terrier was declared the winning show dog at the 2014 AKC National Championship. Officially known as GCH CH Cragsmoor Good Time Charlie, Charlie surely had a good time beating out more than five thousand dogs to take first place. In 2015, Charlie won Best in Show at the National Dog Show presented by Purina.

10. AKC National Championship 2013 Winner: Matisse the Portuguese Water Dog

AKC National Championship 2013 Winner: Matisse the Portuguese Water Dog

Known officially as GCH CH Claircreek Impression de Matisse, Matisse the Portuguese Water Dog was the big winner at the 2013 AKC National Championship. Two Portuguese Water Dogs who lived in the White House as Presidential dogs were Bo and Sunny. The dogs moved into the White House with the Obama family.


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