Was this the greatest dog of all time?
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog show had a champion who won three times in a row. How did she do it?
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This year, the Westminster Dog Show will draw lots of attention. But no dog will surpass the legacy of the first Best in Show winner — a smooth fox terrier named Warren Remedy. In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox's Phil Edwards explains how it happened.
Warren Remedy won three Best in Show titles at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and she cemented her place in canine history. But her legacy extends beyond her title — as an exemplar of the smooth fox terrier breed, she helped establish the “type” that people expected.
That was largely because of her breeder, a wealthy Manhattan socialite named Winthrop Rutherfurd. Rutherfurd famously dated a Vanderbilt before settling down with a vice president’s daughter, but in addition to lighting up the gossip pages, he bred fox terriers at his estate in Allamuchy, New Jersey. And he promoted them through the American Fox Terrier Club and Westminster Kennel Club. These efforts helped the relatively new breed gain a foothold in American culture.
Warren Remedy may never be surpassed in her three Best in Show titles. So was she the greatest dog of all time? That might be the wrong question. She was the greatest dog of her time, though, and that may have established an even more important legacy, for all dogs and for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
This archival article from Outing Magazine has a surprising interesting history of smooth terriers in America, including how the breed can be traced to just a few dogs.
The Dog Show: 125 Years of Westminster is a great resource for dog show obsessives, and it chronicles all the winners as well as the early history and lore of the show.
The American Kennel Club lists all their dog standards on their website. The listing for the wire fox terrier is a good place to start.
Previous headline: How this dog won Westminster three times
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