The Life and Times of a Kennel Club

The history of the Minneapolis Kennel Club reflects dramatic changes in the dog world.

By | Posted: Mon Feb 7 00:00:00 PST 2005

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A highlight of the 1947 show was the presence of Rin Tin Tin III, grandson of the famous movie dog. The dog had served as a K9 soldier during World War II and he and his master stayed at the Radisson Hotel. He was on exhibit twice a day and the Minneapolis newspaper gave him, and the show, an excellent write-up. To date, this was the largest show held in Minneapolis with an entry of 633 dogs and again, the show was held over two days. A Maltese was entered for the first time and this was also noted in another article in the newspaper.

In 1949 there were 56 breeds on display at the show. The 1950 show was once again back at the old Minneapolis Auditorium and entries had settled at 568 dogs with 44 Golden Retrievers and 54 Boxers, and the Hound group had finally grown to 65 dogs. By 1955 a parade of champions had been added and the catalog cost was increased to $1. 

In 1955, the show still covered a two-day period but opening judging time had been moved up to 9 a.m. with Best i n Show taking place at 10:15 p.m. on Sunday night, leaving time for the judges to don formal attire. An added attraction, noted in the catalog, was a dinner dance, open to all, held at the Calhoun Beach Hoteldinner, dancing and cocktails for $3.50 per person. Somewhere after this date the two-day show was discontinued and all dogs were judged on one day.

(In 1957 I attended my first dog show with a fellow University of Minnesota student whose family bred and exhibited German Shepherds. I watched the activities with amazement and confusion. However, it must have been an exciting eventor was it an exciting date?as I recently ran across the judging program among my memoirs. Little did I know how involved in the world of purebred dogs my life would become!)

Shows started changing rapidly after 1955 and by 1970 Minneapolis Kennel Club had an entry of almost 1,200 dogs. The Hound group finally came into its own with an Afghan Hound entry of 45. In addition, 107 dogs were entered in obedience and, although junior showmanship was offered, there were no entries.

In 1981 MKC started holding two shows a year and by 1984 the six groups of dogs had been expanded by the American Kennel Club to seven groups with the division of Working and Herding breeds. Entries were around 1,400 to 1,500 and we were one of only six clubs in the country that still offered a benched show. The "old-timers" remember the camaraderie of these shows where there was a chance to visit, exchange pedigrees, bring food for lunches and compete for the best decorated bench. Although the benching day was long10 a.m. to 4 provided a wonderful opportunity to meet people and to acquaint the general public with specific breeds. In addition, everyone had the chance to watch the judging of other breeds rather than hurrying home after your dog had been shown.

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