The Westminster Kennel Club had been founded approximately one year earlier, when a group of sporting gentlemen would meet in the bar of the Westminster Hotel in Manhattan. It has been said by Maxwell Riddle, (in a newspaper article quoted by William Stiefel in, "The Dog Show, 125 Years of Westminster.") they met to "drink and lie about their shooting accomplishments." The gentlemen however, eventually formed a formal club, and purchased a training area and kennel where they could keep their dogs (primarily hunting dogs). The club even hired a trainer. They named the club for the hotel they had so enjoyed drinking in.
Within a year, those same gentlemen decided they needed a setting to compare their dogs, not in the field. It was decided to hold the, "First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs," in 1877. The show was scheduled to last for three days, but wound up going for four days, with proceeds from the extra day going to the ASPCA to create a home for "stray and disabled dogs."