Looking Back: The 1963 Westminster Kennel Club Show

Go back in history more than 50 years to the 1963 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Dates: February 11-12, 1963

Number of Entries/Dogs: 2,633/2,565

Best in Show Winner: English Springer Spaniel Ch. Wakefield’s Black Knight

Group 1sts: Greyhound Ch. Rudel’s Firefly (Hound Group); Boxer Ch. Treceder’s Painted Lady (Working Group); Airedale Ch. Querencia’s Suerte Brava (Terrier Group); Miniature Pinscher Ch. Rebel Roc’s Casanova Von Kurt (Toy Group); and Dalmatian Ch. Coachman’s Callisto (Non-Sporting Group).

Handler: D. Lawrence Carswell

Owner: W.J.S. Borie

Best in Show Judge: Virgil D. Johnson

The 1963 Westminster Kennel Club dog show was held February 11-12, 1963, in New York City. The English Springer Spaniel Ch. Wakefield’s Black Knight won Best in Show. He was the first English Springer Spaniel to take Best in Show at Madison Square Garden. Best in Show judge Virgil D. Johnson is one of the few people to judge Westminster more than once: He also judged in 1954, when he chose the ASCOB Cocker Spaniel Ch. Carmor’s Rise and Shine, owned by Mrs. Carl E. Morgan. Ch. Wakefield’s Black Knight was the Top Sporting Dog of 1961. He had seven offspring, six of which were also champions.

Ch. Chinoe’s Adamant James is another English Springer Spaniel that took Best in Show at Westminster in both 1971 and 1972. In 2007, another English Springer Spaniel Ch. Felicity’s Diamond Jim was Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, which was the 51st Best in Show ribbon he received during his show dog career. Ch. Felicity’s Diamond Jim was born in 2000 and was the top Sporting Dog of 2006 and No. 2 all breeds that same year.


Other Historical Events of 1963

  • John F. Kennedy is assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.
  • Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, the famous island prison in the San Francisco Bay, closes in March.
  • Zip codes are implemented in the United States to make mail delivery more efficient.
  • Famous basketball star Michael Jordan is born on February 17, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Martin Luther King delivers his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.


A General History of Westminster

A group of sporting dog enthusiasts living in New York City in the 1870s would gather in a bar of the Westminster Hotel to discuss dogs. They decided to form a group named after the hotel called The Westminster Breeding Association. Soon after they changed their name to the Westminster Kennel Club and held a dog show in New York in 1877 in the Hippodrome at Gilmore’s Garden in New York City (they also helped put on a show in Philadelphia the year before). This show has continued for more than 130 years, held every February in New York City, making it the second oldest continuous sporting event in the United States (the Kentucky Derby is the oldest), and it is the oldest dog show in the United States. The coveted title of Westminster’s Best in Show was first awarded in 1907, and it was first broadcast on television in 1948. Westminster is also one of the last benched shows in the United States.



See the 1938 Westminster winner>>

See the 1964 Westminster winner>>

See the 1988 Westminster winner>>

See the 1989 Westminster winner>>

See the Westminster winners from 2003 to the present>>

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