Looking Back: The 1964 Westminster Kennel Club Show

Go back in history 50 years to the 1964 Westminster Kennel Club dog show.


Dates: February 10-11, 1964

Number of Entries/Dogs: 2,607/2,547

Best in Show Winner: Whippet Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth, ‘Ricky-Ticky-Tat’

Group 1sts: Pointer Ch. Crookrise Danny of Muick, handled by Harry Sangster (Sporting Group); Boxer Ch. Treceder’s Painted Lady, judged by Percy Roberts (Working Group); Sealyham Terrier Ch. Alcide of Axe (Terrier Group); Maltese Ch. Co-Ca-He’s Aennchen Toy Dancer (Toy Group); Miniature Poodle Ch. Tedwin’s Top Billing, handled by Frank Sabella (Non-Sporting Group).

Handler: Robert Forsyth

Owners: Mrs. Chas B. Newcombe, Pennyworth Kennels

Best in Show Judge: Len Carey

William H. A. Carr, the East Coast Editor of Dog World magazine, wrote in the April 1964 issue that, “at the outset it seemed that this year’s Westminster dog show was ill-starred.” The Terrier judge, George H. Hartman, died a week before the show just after being voted Dogdom’s Man of the Year for the second time (he was replaced by Mr. A. Stamm). The day before Westminster, Dr. John Brancato of New York City, who had entered his 11-month-old Afghan Hound puppy in the show, had a heart attack and died. Mrs. Madeleine E. Baiter, a well-known Working breeds judge and Welsh Corgi breeder, fell and fractured her hip, and Mrs. Heywood R. Hartley fell down the stairs at the Dog Fanciers Luncheon Club meeting after Westminster, which resulted in a dislocated shoulder and broken arm. The show, however, went off without a hitch, and no unfortunate events occurred at the show venue.

At Westminster 1964, 16-year-old Anna Maria Stimmler, who had been mentored by Anne Hone Rogers (later Clark) for the past two years, became the youngest person to handle a dog to a Group win at Westminster Kennel Club, and she was the only owner-handler ever to win a Group at the Garden with a Maltese. The day after the show, Stimmler brought the Group-winning Maltese to her Catholic school just outside of Philadelphia. One of the nuns reportedly told her, “We did just as I promised, Anna Maria. At exactly 2:30 yesterday, when the Group was scheduled to be judged, I had the whole class stand up and say a ‘Hail Mary’ for you.” As Stimmler began to smile, the nun added, “but you didn’t say anything to me about praying for a Best in Show, you know.”

The weekend after Westminster, the Best in Show-winning Whippet, called ‘Ricky-Ticky-Tat’ by his owner Mrs. Newcombe, took BIS at the Elm City Kennel Club show in New Haven, Conn. Many dogs would stay for these shows in Hartford and New Haven. The Whippet lost the Hartford show to the Cocker Spaniel Ch. Biggs’ Snow Prince, the dog that won the American Spaniel Club specialty the month before in January. Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth ended up being the top dog in the United States in 1964.


Other Historical Events of 1964

  • On March 27, the Great Alaskan earthquake (a 9.2 on the Richter Scale) causes massive damage to Anchorage and kills 125.
  • Jeopardy! debuts on NBC with Art Fleming as its first host.
  • Sydney Poitier is the first African-American to win an Academy Award (he won for Best Actor for Lilies of the Field).
  • Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island prison in South Africa.
  • The first major student protest of the Vietnam War occurs throughout the country, the largest marches appearing in New York City and San Francisco.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is signed into law and abolishes racial segregation in the United States.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., becomes the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • “I Want to Hold Your Hand” is the first hit song from The Beatles in the US, and The Rolling Stones release their debut album.
  • Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) becomes the heavyweight champion of the world.
  • The first Ford Mustang hits the US markets.


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 1963 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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