Dog Shows That Allow Mixed Breeds to Compete · The Wildest

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4 Dog Shows That Give Mixed Breeds a Chance to Shine

We’re excited for the Westminster Dog Show, but we also want to highlight dog competitions that lift up non-purebred dogs.

by Sio Hornbuckle
Updated May 10, 2024
National Rescue Dog Show
Photo: Ser Baffo / ABC

From tomorrow, May 11 through next Tuesday, May 14, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be taking over Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York. The world-famous competition was established in May 1877 (seriously, that’s not a typo: eighteen-seventy-seven). It’s impossible not to respect that legacy — or the hundreds of well-trained, well-groomed pups who have strut their stuff over the years. As we watch these incredible pups perform yet again, we have nothing but respect for them and their talents.

But this is also a good time to recognize that when it comes to show eligibility, not all dogs are given a fair shot. As in most major dog shows, mixed-breed dogs aren’t able to compete. Luckily, there are other dog shows filling the gap. Below are four competitions that lift up mixed-breed dogs and remind us that wherever a pup came from, they deserve a chance at stardom.

4 mixed-breed dog shows

The Farm Dog of the Year

The Farm Dog of the Year contest celebrates the pups working on food farms across America. Instead of judging by pedigree, a panel of judges selected by the American Farm Bureau Federation chooses dogs based on their helpfulness on the farm and their bonds with their pet parents. Winners are awarded with a year’s supply of pet food and $5,000 cash. In addition to the judge’s choice, a People’s Choice Pup is awarded. Meet the 2024 Farm Dog of the Year, Skippy.


Hosted by The Kennel Club of the United Kingdom, this dog show is an alternative to Crufts, a massive competition exclusive to purebred dogs. Scruffts was created to give families without purebred pups the opportunity to participate in all the dog-socializing, community-building, and glamour of traditional dog shows. There are no breed standards; instead, dogs are judged on character, health, and temperament. All money raised by the small entry fee is donated to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

Yes, the award title looks a little rude at first glance, but this contest has been entertaining humans and adorning nontraditional dogs since the 1970s, and we hope it never stops. Each year, about 20,000 people attend the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest show at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California. There are two separate divisions for purebred dogs and mutts, with the two winners ultimately competing for the overall title of “World’s Ugliest Dog” (by which we of course mean “World’s Most Unconventionally Beautiful Dog”).

AKC National Obedience and Agility Championship

After 125 years as an advocate for (select) purebred dogs, the American Kennel Club (AKC) finally created a mixed-breed dog program. All American Dogs (aka mutts) may compete in agility, obedience, and rally competition against purebred dogs in a show of skill and talent, rather than looks. The 2024 show will be held in Ohio this July.

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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