5,003 dogs compete for the title of National Champion in Orlando


NEW YORK, NY (November 20, 2018)—The AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin has drawn record entry numbers in its 18th year. An entry of 5,003 dogs will compete for the title of National Champion on December 15 and 16, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Combined with the other weekend events including 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, and the Junior events, the overall show totals top 9,023 entries, making this the largest dog show held in the United States since the AKC 1984 Centennial event and the largest dog show in North America.

“The AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin is a unique experience that no dog lover should miss,” said Dennis Sprung, AKC President and Show Chairman. “With a quality entry thanks to our breeders, and more than 1,000,000 square feet of event space, top canine athletes competing in a wide variety of dog sports, tons of vendors selling dog-themed items in time for the holidays, more than 160 AKC Meet the Breeds® booths and more, there is something for everyone at this canine extravaganza.”

Events in the one million square feet of canine-centric space during the National Championship week of December 11-16, 2018 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 Club

    2018 Highlights:

    Judges: Judge Mr. Elliott B. Weiss of Novelty, Ohio will select the AKC National Championship Best in Show (BIS) winner. The owner(s) of the BIS winner will receive $50,000. Mr. Edd E. Bivin of Fort Worth, Texas will judge Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show from over 1,063 Bred-by-Exhibitor entries (dogs being shown by their owner/breeder). Best Bred-By Exhibitor in Show will 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: Mr. Edd E. Bivin, Mr. Elliott B. Weiss and Mr. Dennis B. Sprung. These esteemed judges will determine the winner from 1,306 entries to be crowned the AKC Royal Canin National All-Breed (Puppy/Junior) of the Year.

    Viewing Coverage: The AKC National Championship evening competition will be streamed live beginning at 4:45 p.m. each night on AKC.TV and www.akc.org. The Bred-By Exhibitor groups, Junior Showmanship Finals, Best Miscellaneous, agility and obedience will be taped and available on demand at AKC.TV. The Agility finals will be streamed live on AKC.TV.

    AKC National Owner-Handled Series Finals: The AKC NOHS Finals Best in Show competition will be judged by Mr. Charles L. Olvis on Saturday, December 15. This invitation-only competition is open to the top ten ranked dogs in the AKC National Owner-Handled Series in each breed/variety from the 2018 qualifying year and drew an entry of 737 dogs. The NOHS Group Finals will be taped and available on demand at www.akc.org.


  • 191 AKC recognized breeds are entered to compete
  • 5,003 entries in the AKC National Championship
  • The largest entries include:
  • 151 Golden Retrievers
  • 147 Dachshunds (all varieties)
  • 112 Australian Shepherds
  • 84 French Bulldogs
  • 100 Labrador Retrievers
  • 63 Rhodesian Ridgebacks
  • 58 Pomeranians
  • 71 Poodles (all varieties)
  • 73 Chihuahuas 
    (both varieties)
  • 72 Cavalier King 
    Charles Spaniels
  • 58 Rottweilers
  • 737 dogs are entered in the AKC National Owner-Handled Series (NOHS) Finals
  • 190 juniors, ages 9-17, who 
    have met high academic 
    standards and qualification 
    criteria based on year-round 
    competition, will compete in Junior Showmanship
  • More than 690 dogs will compete in the North America Diving Dogs/AKC National Championship


  • 243 teams in the two-day AKC Obedience Classic, including 56 breeds from 32 states 
    and Canada
  • 19 Junior Obedience entries and 18 Junior Rally entries in the AKC Juniors Classic
  • 741 entries in the AKC Agility Invitational, including 169 breeds from 45 states and 
    4 countries
  • 76 entries in the AKC Junior Agility Competition (Friday, Dec. 14th)

    To purchase tickets or get more information about the show, visit us at www.akc.org/events/national-championship/ or on Facebook and Twitter. 


    Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information, visit www.akc.org.

    AKC, American Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club seal and design, and all associated marks and logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks of The American Kennel Club, Inc.

    Become a fan of the American Kennel Club on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @AKCDogLovers.


    Royal Canin USA is a leader in science-based cat and dog health nutrition. Founded by a veterinarian in 1968, Royal Canin has 50 years of experience in delivering individualized nutritional solutions. In collaboration with an expert team of nutritionists, breeders and veterinarians from around the world, Royal Canin places cats and dogs at the central point of the innovation process. The Royal Canin product line offers a range of diets based on size, age, breed, lifestyle and therapeutic requirements. Royal Canin diets are available at veterinary hospitals and pet specialty stores nationwide. Royal Canin is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. To learn more about Royal Canin, visit www.royalcanin.com and “LIKE” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/royalcanin.us.



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