Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

AKC National Championship Draws Largest Entry in Its History

Pet Age Staff//December 2, 2019//

AKC National Championship Draws Largest Entry in Its History

Pet Age Staff //December 2, 2019//

Listen to this article

Press release: The American Kennel Club

The AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin continues to top itself, drawing record numbers in its 19th year. An entry of 5,284 dogs will compete for the title of National Champion on December 14 and 15 in Orlando, Florida. Combined with the other weekend events such as the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes, AKC Agility Invitational, the AKC Obedience Classic, AKC National Owner-Handler Series Finals, NADD/AKC Diving Dogs Championship, the Junior events and the AKC Temperament Test, the overall show totals top 11,008 entries, surpassing the AKC 1984 centennial event and becoming the largest in the history of the American Kennel Club. The event also remains the largest dog show in North America.

“The AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin continues to be an experience that welcomes every dog lover,” said Dennis B. Sprung, AKC president and show chairman. “Not only does the show consistently garner top notch competitors thanks to our breeders, the more than 1,000,000 square feet of event space allows us to provide a wide array of sports featuring the best canine athletes, vendors selling tons of dog-themed items in time for the holidays, over 160 AKC Meet the Breeds booths, plus multiple educational and fun opportunities.”

Events in the one million square feet of canine-centric space during the National Championship week of December 10-15, leading up to the crowning of America’s Champion include the:

  • AKC Junior Showmanship Finals
  • AKC Junior Agility Competition
  • AKC Juniors Obedience & Rally Classic
  • AKC National Owner-Handler Series Finals
  • AKC Meet the Breeds
  • Specialty Shows, Group Shows and the FSS/Miscellaneous Open Show
  • Orlando cluster, consisting of the Space Coast Kennel Club of Palm Bay, the
    Brevard Kennel Club, the Central Florida Kennel Club and Orlando Dog Training

2019 Highlights

Judges: Judge Mrs. Dorothy Collier of Sapphire, North Carolina, will select the AKC National Championship Best in Show (BIS) winner. The owner(s) of the BIS winner will receive $50,000. Dr. Thomas Davies of Brimfield, Massachusetts, will judge Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show from 1,148 entries and receive $15,000.

Best in Stakes at the AKC/Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes will be judged by an elite panel: Mrs. Dorothy Collier, Dr. Thomas Davies and Patricia M. Cruz. These esteemed judges will determine the winner from 1,382 entries to be crowned the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed (Puppy/Junior) of the Year.

Viewing Coverage: There will be extensive live coverage throughout each day on and the evening competitions begin live streaming at 4:30 p.m. The agility finals will also be streamed live on, available online, on the app, which is on the
Apple Store and Google Play and Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Altice.

AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals: The AKC NOHS Finals Best in Show competition will be judged by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia on December 14. This invitation-only competition is open to the top 10 ranked dogs in the AKC National Owner-Handled Series in each breed/variety from the 2019 qualifying year and drew an entry of 791 dogs. The NOHS Group Finals will also be streamed live on


  • All 193 AKC-recognized breeds are entered to compete
  • 5,284 entries in the AKC National Championship
  • The largest entries include:
    159 Golden Retrievers
    127 Labrador Retrievers
    121 Dachshunds (all varieties)
    107 Australian Shepherds
    91 French Bulldogs
    82 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
    73 Whippets
    73 Pomeranians
    73 Poodles (all varieties)
    62 Chihuahuas (both varieties)
    56 Rhodesian Ridgebacks
  • 791 dogs are entered in the AKC National Owner-Handled Series (NOHS) Finals
  • 159 juniors, ages 9-17, who have met high academic standards and qualification criteria based on year-round competition, will compete in Junior Showmanship
  • 1,382 puppies and junior dogs are entered in the AKC/Royal Canin National All-Breed Puppy and Junior Stakes
  • 1,148 Bred-by-Exhibitors in competition
  • 1,007 dogs will compete in the North America Diving Dogs/AKC National Championship


  • 244 teams in the two-day AKC Obedience Classic, including 67 breeds from 30
  • 69 Junior Obedience entries and 96 Junior Rally entries in the AKC Juniors
    Classic, including 18 breeds from 13 states.
  • 704 entries in the AKC Agility Invitational, including 165 breeds from 47 states and
    4 countries
  • 84 entries in the AKC Junior Agility Competition (December 13)