8. The Westminster Dog Show was Madison Square Garden’s longest tenant
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show‘s group and Best in Show competitions were held at the Garden every year from 1877 to 2020, making the Dog Show the longest continuous tenant of the venue. This was broken in 2021, when the Dog Show was moved outside for the first time due to COVID-19. The Dog Show is the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the U.S. behind the Kentucky Derby.
The show began as a competition for gun dogs, such as Pointers and Setters, who were owned by a group of hunters. And the prizes were glamorous — to some: the most prized awards were pearl-handled pistols, The first show drew over 1,200 dogs, taking four days. Proceeds from the fourth day were even donated to the ASPCA, which was founded in 1866. Beginning in 1884, the AKC starting requiring that all dog participants were registered with the AKC and properly recognized for competition.