Thursday, February 13, 2020

Kennel Clubs

I can't bill the title as "War of" because I don't think they're fighting.

The American Kennel Club was founded in 1884; the Westminster Kennel Club in 1877 a mere seven years apart.

Both clubs were formed by rich men.  Westminster started with judging Gun Setters and Pointers.  The group met in the West Hotel, Irving Place and 16th Street, Manhattan.  Today they use Madison Square Garden.  The name Westminster was taken from their favorite bar.  An auspicious start or not; you be the judge on that one.  Today it is #2 in Oldest Continuously RunningEvents, led by the Kentucky Derby at #1.

It wasn't until 1907 that the award Best in Show was created.  Some of the first competitors were J.P. Morgan, journalist Nellie Bly and Queen Elizabeth I.  This setting aside of the sport for rich men continued into the American  Kennel Club whose driving force was August O. Belmont and I think he got into horse racing, too.  The Belmont Stakes?

On September 17, 1884 12 men were invited to a meeting at the Philadelphia Kennel Club.  Each of the invitees had held a dog show or field trials.

In 1932 the club introduced Children's Handling classes.  It wasn't until 1974 that women were allowed to participate.  1956 the 5 millionth dog was registered, a Collie named Lassie the Golden Glory. Today their HQ is in Raleigh, NC

Two new breeds were introduced last year.  To qualify your breed for membership, there have to be at least 300 of the dogs in 20 States.  

A friend of mine reports on what the show dog life is like.  Her dog was a boxer (gorgeous dog; seen the pictures)  named Mr. Bull Nozey Dozer.

"He lived like a very wealthy king with human servants, groomer, chauffeur service, his own dentist, eye specialist, personal trainer and show handler; a life insurance policy with a hospital plan."  She went on, "And the AKC is an expense, too, with event entry fees ranging from $50 to $100 and up.  Really, having a performing dog is extremely demanding - a four legged child on steroids."

But beautiful.  The Dobermans, Whippets, Boxers ... each gorgeous in their own right.

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