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How Much Do Dog Owners Need To Spend For Sending Their Dogs To Dog Shows

How Much it Cost to Getting a dog to a dog show?

Thanksgiving Day has a particular connotation for dog lovers because it coincides with the National Dog Show, for which canine lovers wait anxiously throughout the year. Dog shows are popular in the US, as evident by the 2000 dog shows held each year.

These shows have a television viewership of 20 million. Surprising as it may sound but true, dog lovers stay glued to the television on Thanksgiving Day to get a glimpse of their favorite canines that cheer the hearts and make the day’s celebrations more enjoyable.

In New York City, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a highly prestigious event. Dog owners are upbeat about showcasing their dogs while competing for the Best in Show crown.

The show is intensely competitive, and its popularity reflects in the participation of 2500 canines belonging to 209 breeds in the event held belatedly this year in June 2021 after the relaxation of the Covid19 restrictions.

The number is slightly low because of the pandemic, which otherwise touched 2800 in 2018. The event is a landmark among the oldest sporting events in America because with a continuous run just behind the Kentucky Derby. Some even look upon it as the Super Bowl in the dog’s world.

Dog show

Money does not attract dog show participants.

The commercialization of sports has turned sporting events into money-spinners for the organizers, hosts, and winners. Money is indeed a big motivation for the participants, but surprisingly, things are not the same for dog shows. Few dog shows offer monetary prizes, and the competitors of dog shows do not incline to get rich.

The focus of dog owners is not on money but on recognition, fame, and admiration of their canines which are more significant rewards for the efforts and money spent in preparing the dogs for the shows and sending them to the competitions.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show does not have any prize package. However, the champion receives the polished pewter bowl named Westminster Legend Trophy, and there are similar awards for winners in other categories.

The absence of prize money is not a concern for the competitors who prefer to soak in the tears of joy on an unforgettable night after winning an event. The competitors’ approach is heart over the head as they measure their success in terms of the glory achieved.

Showing dogs is expensive.

While the attitude of the competitors of the dog shows might seem somewhat baffling in a world where sports and money go hand-in-hand, it is even more surprising that they spend considerable money for participating in the shows.

Dog owners who are highly passionate about showing their dogs spend hundreds and thousands of dollars every year to send their dogs to the shows. The more is the participation rate; the higher is the spending. Costs can vary dramatically according to the spending abilities of owners and how much they are willing to spend.

For example, to send your dog to the Westminster competition, you need to campaign for a year to garner attention, and it can be costly when you add the usual costs of grooming, traveling, and showing.

The components of cost 

To understand the reason for dog shows being so costly for dog owners, you have to look into the various components of cost.

Buying the right dog

All dogs are not suitable for training and grooming for competitions because dogs that compete in dog shows belong to unique breeds with in-born competitive traits that run in their blood. Regardless of your favorite dog breed, focus on getting a dog of the right pedigree, breed, and temperament.

To buy a show-quality dog with some training, you need to spend anything between $5,000 and $8,000. Purebred dogs are costly, and you need only purebreds that can excel in whatever they learn for the shows.

Show entry fees

Entry fees for dog shows are pretty low, and on average, each show would cost you about $25-$30. However, the total sum spent over a year can be significant depending on the number of shows you intend to participate in.

Handler fees

For sending your dog to dog shows, you must hire a professional handler who is conversant with dog shows and has enough experience handling different dog breeds during the competitions. The handler fees depend on the number of wins scored by your dog in any event.

The expenses can range between $75 and $750. The charges apply for handlers who are handling other dogs too. The fees are much more if you want an exclusive professional handler for your dog.

The handler fees can double for big shows like the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It is one of the biggest dog shows in the USA. More wins translate into higher handler fees.


To prepare your dog for a big show like the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, you need to start a year ahead and launch an advertising campaign for promoting your dog to ensure that it receives the maximum attention at the right time.

Advertising your dog in show magazines that the show judges receive and launching social media campaigns are part of the campaigning. Although social media promotions are free, advertising in print media can cost about $1000 a month.


If you choose a dog breed that needs special grooming that helps stand out from the crowd, the weekly expense is about $50.

Travel, food, hotels

Besides your own cost of travel, food, and accommodation, you must pay for your dog and the handler, too. Travel costs vary according to the distance and the location. The annual cost can be about $12000

In addition, you must pay for the boarding cost for shows that board throughout the year which amounts to $3600 approximately. Insurance would cost $1000 a year.

Win or lose, stay prepared to spend the money and earn the satisfaction of showing your dog how you want.

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