Looking Back: The 1988 Westminster Kennel Club Show

Go back in history more than 25 years to the 1988 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Dates: February 8-9, 1988

Number of Entries/Dogs: 2,683/2,651

Best in Show Winner: Pomeranian Ch. Great Elms Prince Charming II

Group 1sts: German Shorthaired Pointer Ch. NMK’s Brittania V Sibelstein (Sporting Group); Bloodhound Ch. Viking’s Thor (Hound Group); Doberman Pinscher Ch. Royal Tudor’s Wild As The Wind, CD (Working Group); Cairn Terrier Ch. Tidewater Master Gold (Terrier Group); Standard Poodle Ch. Alekai Airy (Non-Sporting Group); and Shetland Sheepdog Ch. Rockwoods Gold Strike (Herding Group).

Handler: Skip Piazza

Owners: Skip Piazza and Olga Baker of Avondale, Pa.

Best in Show Judge: Michele Billings

The total attendance for the 1988 two-day Westminster Kennel Club dog show was more than 21,000. Best in Show judge Michele Billings said this of Best in Show winner Pomeranian Ch. Great Elms Prince Charming II: “He has a wonderful carriage and was put down in flawless condition. I have judged him once before, and I gave him a Group.” Of the 43 judges at the 1988 Westminster dog show, 23 were women, and four of the seven final Groups and Best in Show were judged by women. Michele Billings of Kings Creek Kennels (Beagles and German Shepherd Dogs) has judged at Westminster 14 times (as of 2013, when she judged Pomeranians and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels).

Ch. Great Elms Prince Charming II (Ch. Cedarwood’s Image Of Diamond X Great Elm’s Sweet Candy) was born on December 28, 1984. He is the only Pomeranian to ever take Best in Show at Westminster. He is also the last Pomeranian to win a Group 1st at Westminster.


Other Historical Events of 1988

  • On March 8, two army helicopters collide in Fort Campbell, Ky., killing 17.
  • Sonny Bono is elected mayor of Palm Springs, Calif. on April 12.
  • Wildfires spread through Yellowstone National Park from June to November, affecting 36 percent (793,880 acres) of the park, making it the largest wildfire in United States history.
  • George H. W. Bush successfully campaigns for the presidency, winning the election on November 8 over Michael Dukakis.
  • The first World AIDS Day is observed on December 1.


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 winners>>

See the 1963 Westminster winners>>

See the 1964 Westminster winners>>

See the 1989 Westminster winners>>

See the Westminster winners from 2003 to the present>>

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