Daniel the Golden Retriever Was Robbed of Best in Show, and the Internet Is Livid

Abi Travis - Author

Feb. 12 2020, Updated 3:09 p.m. ET

daniel the golden retriever
Source: Getty Images

The 144th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is officially over, but we have a feeling that dog lovers all over the world will be talking about it for quite a while. The entire concept of a competition to judge the best dog is pretty bonkers when you consider the fact that literally every dog is the best dog, and yet, the Westminster judges do it every year. But this year, the internet has decided they got it 100 percent wrong and is demanding justice for Daniel the Golden retriever.

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Daniel the Golden Retriever was the winner of the Sporting Group.

In case you’re unfamiliar with how the Westminster Dog Show works, all of the dogs who have been awarded the Best in Breed title compete in one of seven groups (Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding, Sporting, Working, or Terrier). The Best in Show title is then bestowed upon one of those group winners. Daniel — perfect, adorable dog that he is — was the winner of the Sporting Group. He was also clearly an audience favorite. Just listen to these cheers:

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This was the first time since 2006 that a Golden Retriever won the Sporting Group and was made eligible to compete for Best in Show. So far, a Golden Retriever has never been awarded with Best in Show, so this was obviously very exciting for all the Daniel fans.

But when it came to award Best in Show, the judges determined that Siba the Standard Poodle was the winner. Not Daniel. The internet didn’t take to kindly to that, as you might imagine. Before long, Dog Twitter was filled with people demanding justice for Daniel. Some even used the #DanielWasRobbed hashtag.

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There’s no doubt that Siba is a great dog. She’s wonderful! She’s just not Daniel. Daniel was so smiley! He hugged his handler when he won his group! He’s a happy, good boy who deserves all the belly rubs in the world! Some people were also frustrated by the fact that poodles seem to win a lot. Siba is the tenth poodle to win Best in Show (past winners have included poodles of all three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy).

daniel the golden retriever siba
Source: Getty Images
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How do Westminster Dog Show judges choose the Best in Show winner?

As we already mentioned, it’s impossible to choose one best dog because all dogs everywhere are inherently the best. So the Westminster judges do what makes the most sense: They judge the dogs based on very specific breed specifications. Basically, they’re looking for dogs that best exhibit the breed standards.

So Siba winning Best in Show doesn’t necessarily mean the judges thought she was a better dog than Daniel. It just means that Siba more closely adhered to the Standard Poodle standards than Daniel did to the Golden Retriever standards. 

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Ultimately, we can all agree on the fact that Daniel is a very good dog. He’s the best dog! And Siba is also the best dog! And who knows? Maybe next year will be the year of the golden retriever. In the meantime, we’re very proud of all of the dogs who competed. Heck, we’re proud of every dog everywhere.

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