Westminster BIS judge 2022 Don Sturz, Jr., in younger days.
Sun, 02/20/2022 - 6:59pm

This Month ... Years Ago

Bo Bengtson flips back the calendar to dog shows of old -- and not so old

The cover of the February 1937 Kennel Review.




From Kennel Review, February 1937:


“Irving C. Ackerman, San Francisco's master showman, ‘hit the peak’ with his twenty-eighth annual Golden Gate show. A great entry of 955 dogs, a splendid tribute to the popularity of a great judging slate. ‘Famous’ Freeman Floyd, who is rated to be the greatest descriptive writer of dogs in the world, drew (among his assignment) 106 Cockers and 60 Springer Spaniels and who, despite his advancing years, turned in a topping performance of judging. […]

“Mr. O. C. Harriman drew 83 Wires (something remarkable for this breed in the West), 46 Chows, 36 Dobermans, 43 Dachshunds and 22 Frenchies. Mrs. Clark, of ‘Halcyon’ fame, judged the Irish Wolfhounds and Welsh Terriers. In the former breed the dog she started with best of breed went through to best in show, and a splendid entry of 26 Welsh Terriers graced the ring for her. Frank Foster Davis judged the obedience classes in a very decisive manner.

“The Eastern judges were much impressed with the tremendous gate, proving that the name ‘Golden Gate’ fits in more ways than one.

“Back to the dogs — Mr. Freeman Lloyd had for his final six, and placed them as follows: Best in Show — the Irish Wolfhound, Shaun of Boyer Ranch, owned by John Dye of Beverly Hills, and well shown by Russel Zimmerman; second the Scottish Terrier Ch. Craghaven Clinker, owned by Stu Erwin of motion picture fame, handled by Harold Duffy; third to the Great Dane, Ch. Guardian of Ridgerest, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Hostetter; fourth to Bud Lewis' Springer Spaniel, Ch. Clipforth Press Agent, followed by C. H. Stratton's Chow Chow, Ch. De Lamar Hong Kong King, and Mrs. Hocum's Peke, Hans Pierrot. All of these dogs had to go through particularly hard groups to reach the finals. The biggest hand of the entire show went to Jack Wolfenden's team of English Setters, which almost brought down the house when awarded the team prize. All four of the dogs posed as statues. […]

“We learned from Freeman Lloyd that he judged his first show in 1892, judged in South Africa in 1898, went to Australia in 1900, came to U.S.A. from Australia as he says ‘via the back door’ — San Francisco. Judged at Westminster 1902. This was his first trip to San Francisco since that time and he tells us he was awakened his first morning by the sound of the mission bells, which seemed no different than thirty-five years ago.”




From Dog World (U.S.), February 1940:

“Why do people expect perfection in the show ring when they cannot obtain it anywhere else? Who contends that the present system is perfect? Any other system may have as many faults and likely more than the present system. There is a trend towards the opinion that all judges should be professional and that the exhibitor should not know until the day of the show who is to judge his dog. Why do the proponents of this system forget human nature?”

“Including all-breed and one-breed shows, the number of shows decreased by ten, from 336 to 326. The number of dogs benched (not number entered), exempting all dogs entered for specials (that is, outside the five regular classes) was 82,473. America's largest show of all time and the world's largest dog show of all time was the M&E show at Madison, N.J., in May, with an entry of 4,456 dogs. This is a one-day outdoor show. The best Amerbred show dog based upon the winning of groups (but this includes only AKC member club shows) likely will be won for '39 by Mrs. Wm. Dupont's Beagle Ch. Meadowlake Draftsman.”




From Kennel Review, February 1942:

“Never in dog show history was there such a brilliant picture as this Westminster finale presented. More attention was given to the theatrical possibilities of the show […] until close to midnight. There were the ceremonies dedicating the show to the Red Cross and introducing the New York firehouse Dalmatians, which moved everybody in the area. The obedience exhibition by the New England Dog Training Club was more elaborate than before.

“Finally, when it came time to best in show, the Garden was darkened, a huge spotlight directed on the center of the ring where the 'Best in Show' sign stood, and Herman Mellenthin summoned the littler Terrier [the Westie Ch. Wolvey Pitter Patter of Edgerstoune] into the klieglit circle, where his coat seemed more alabastine than ever.

“The other five dogs remained in the outer darkness until the crowd had been told who the wnner was and that he was owned by the wife of the Ambassador to the Court of St. James …” [The owner was Mrs. John G. Winant, of Concord, New Hampshire, who again won BIS at Westminster in 1950 with another Terrier she had imported from England, the Scottie Ch. Walsing Winning Trick of Edgerstoune.]




From Kennel Review, February 1949:

A full-page ad for the Morris & Essex Kennel Club show, to be held on Saturday, May 28, 1948, at Giralda Farm, Madison, New Jersey, makes it clear that this show was limited to just a small number of breeds: 10 Sporting breeds, six Hounds, eight Working (including Herding; there was no separate Herding group then); 12 Terriers, five Toys and seven Non-Sporting (including “Poodles,” so perhaps eight?). There were 2,086 entries, for an average of more than 42 dogs entered per breed. AKC in 1948 recognized 105 breeds. Best in Show was judged by Mrs. David Wagstaff.


Pekingese Ch. Chik T'Sun of Caversham.




From Popular Dogs, February 1958:

“In a year when scientists were exploring new heights to which men could climb, Chik T'Sun rocketed to a record that put him far and away above all other show dogs in 1957.  In the span of this one year he scored 44 all-breed Bests in Show and 59 Group firsts —a pace unparalleled in all AKC history. … His amazing winning of 14 consecutive Bests in Shows in 14 showings which we doubt has ever been accomplished before.”




From Kennel Review, February 1963:

“Breeder of the Year” was Mrs. William Z. Breed, breeder of the Barmere Brussel Griffons, “for her many achievements in breeding and promoting purebred dogs in America. The Brussel Griffon breed has reached a new zenith in the dog show world through the appearance of Ch. Barmere's Mighty Man, the breed's greatest winner.” Mighty Man was handled by professional handler Evonne Chashoudian. The Barmere prefix had previously been best known for its Boxers.

Tom and Ann Stevenson had a small ad for their Challendon Kennels, then in Carmel Valley, with a photograph of the black Miniature Poodle Ch. Challendon Jonquil. This was before they moved to Santa Barbara and made the SBKC world famous.




From Kennel Review, February 1967:

The Scottish Terrier Ch. Bardene Bingo was Best in Show at Westminster under Percy Roberts.

Best Western Showdog was announced: Miniature Poodle Ch. Frederick of Rencroft, owned by Mr. Joe Glaser and shown by Frank Sabella.

“Black and silver Miniature Schnauzer makes history. For the first time in the history of the Schnauzer breed in the United States, a black and silver dog has attained championship. Ch. Tiger Bo von Riptide finished his championship by topping a hotly contested Terrier group at the first winter show of the KC of Beverly Hills. He is owned by Sue Hendricks and conditioned and handled by Daisy Austad. Congratulations are in order for this historic event!”




From Popular Dogs, February 1968:

“New AKC rules now require both the WB and WB in the ring to compete for BOB and BOS. BOW will be judged AFTER the BOB class. Veterans classes (when scheduled) are to be judged before BOB and BOS; Braces and Teams, after BOW.”

“The Kennel Club of Philadelphia celebrated its 73rd benched dog show on the ninth of December with a record entry of 2,598 dogs in competition and a bright new modernized show site that had everyone singing its praises! Last year's 2,426 entry was a record in itself, only to be exceeded by this 1967 event at Philadelphia's Civic Center Exhibition Hall. The show also marked the 22nd annual obedience trial of the Philadelphia Dog Training Club.

“Exhibitors also commented favorably on the two entire floors of indoor parking that was easily accessible to the show hall floor and the number of foodstands and restaurants available to the public as well as to the exhibitors. It was the agreed opinion of all that this largest of all one-day indoor events will be even larger next year …”

BIS was the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Ch. Cote de Neige Pennysaver, owned by Mrs. William B. Long and shown by co-owner Mrs. Marjorie Butcher under Albert Van Court. The KC of Philadelpia president was William Kendrick.




From Popular Dogs, February 1971:

“The Bichon Frise, an eye-catching French breed of dog, recently received American Kennel Club recognition and can now be shown in the Miscellaneous Class at all AKC endorsed dog shows. My heartfelt congratulations and a king sized bark at the Bichon Frise, and, I might add, much of the credit is due to the untiring efforts as such avid devotees of the breed as Gertrude Fournier. All pure-bred dogdom welcomes the Bichons Frise to the rolls of the American Kennel Club.” - Francis X. Holdenried




From Kennel Review, February 1972:

“Ch. Kearnauch Fergus MacRoy, a five-year-old Kerry Blue Terrier owned by Mrs. J. W. Urmston, was winner of the KC of Beverly Hills annual Winter event 1/9/72 in Los Angeles, California. The win was taken over an entry of 2,923 dogs (the show's largest Winter entry to date) under judge Alva Rosenberg. The Kerry was handled to the win by Bob Jordan, assistant to Ric Chashoudian, who regularly handles the dog.”

“Ch. Joanne-Chen's Maya Dancer, the Maltese handled by Peggy Hogg for owner Mamie Gregory, and Ch. Lakeside's Gilligan's Island, German Shepherd handled by Kim Knoblauch for new owner Helene Klotzman, snared three BIS wins each in the 11-show Florida Circuit. The circuit began 1/8 in Jacksonville and closed 1/24 in Ft. Lauderdale. The two were the only dogs on the Circuit to capture more than one BIS award.”

“For the first time in its 87-year history the American Kennel Club has a Chairman of the Board. The honor was bestowed on Alexander Feldman, treasurer of the AKC since 1967. The decision was made at the club's quarterly meeting 12/14/71 when 160 delegates voted unanimously to elect a chairman. Mr. Feldman and his wife became associated with dogs in 1935 and have been mainstays in Great Danes for many years.”

Peter Green had an eight-page ad feature in this issue, listed as “PETER J, professional dog handler and importer.”


Westminster BIS judge 2022 Don Sturz, Jr. published his Junior Showmanship column in Kennel Review during 1977.




From Kennel Review, February 1977:

The Dog Writer's Association of America announce that they have selected Curtis and Thelma Brown's “excellent work” The Art and Science of Judging Dogs as Best Non-Fiction Book of 1976.

“Did you all catch the feature story on Jane Forsyth in COSMOPOLITAN? Get a copy if you can — it's a well-done article …”

“In the simplest terms, a dog show is the procedure which enables the breeders of pure-bred dogs to evaluate the progress of their breeding efforts by the comparison of their dogs with those of competing breeders by an impartial and able judge.” - Hon. David Merriam




From Sighthound Review, January-February 1985:

“One of the most interesting things that has happened during the almost 30 years I have been involved in dogs is the opening of even more frontiers. In the 1950s nobody travelled much, at least not dog people, with the rare exception of perhaps a British all-rounder or two. In the 1960s, with air travel costs becoming gradually more reasonable, show secretaries everywhere started to realize that there was a whole world of judges out there, some of whom might have a valid opinion to give even if they didn't necessarily speak the native tongue fluently, and since then we have seen more and more frequent exchange of not only judges on an international basis but also of regular visitors and, most important, of dogs.”




From Kennel Review, February 1992:

Patrick Guilfoyle interviews Melbourne T. Downing, Westminster BIS judge that year: “Is there any advice that you would give to some of our aspiring judges or new judges?”

“Yes, indeed. I have one bit of advice. When you judge, put up the dog that you think is the best in every class. Don't worry about reputation, handlers or anything else. You may be wrong when you first start out. The dog you put up and think is the best may not be the best, but always use your own mind, and make your own decision. The people, in due time, will respect you for it, and you will be a very successful judge. I think this is the key to the whole thing.”




From Dogs in Review, February-March 2005:

Interview with Pat Trotter: “I think anybody who breeds is a judge, whether they realize it or not, because you judge your own breeding stock.”

“I believe that the increased number of shows has watered down the quality of the dogs at any given show, except for Westminster and the national specialties, and the Invitational. The sad thing is that we are continuing to devalue the quality of the championship title all the time, because of the logistics of so many shows and so many dogs.”


Best in Show and Reserve Best in Show Westminster Kennel Club 2018 under judge Betty-Anne Stenmark, Bichon Frise GCh. Belle Creek's All I Care About Is Love and Giant Schnauzer GCh. Ingebar's Tynan Dances With Wildflowers. Photo Chet Jezierski.





From D - the Dog News Annual 2019:


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