Early Dog Shows, Part I

The love-hate relationship that exists between the kennel clubs and large segments of the dog fancy community is certainly not new.

By | Posted: Thu Jun 23 00:00:00 PDT 2005

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According to The Canine World, "In plain English, [Miss Dutton] won three prizes on an entry which was erroneous, her wins being subsequently objected to by the Kennel Club because of the discrepancy between entry and registration [...] According to the official report of the meeting, Mr. Duerdin Dutton, who attended on behalf of his niece, had no desire to see a number added to the dog's name. [...] The committee withdrew their objection without a murmur. So, although the bitch is not registered as Dorothy, and cannot be registered as Dorothy, her owner is to keep the prizes she won as Dorothy. [...] Kennel Club members can do as they please in the matter of making entries. They need not register their dogs, they can enter them without date of birth, or the wrong date if that comes easier than looking it up, they may state the wrong sire or dam or leave it out altogether, they may, in fact make entries just as it suits them. If any objection should be lodged against their wins, the Kennel Club committee will support them. And yet, this is the same committee that objected to 23 wins at Edinburgh for errors or omissions on entry forms."

Show committees were well aware of the Kennel Club's limited authority to enforce its policies. If they considered a ruling unfair, it was not unheard of for them to simply ignore it. "The Castlerock committee last year overruled the Kennel Club objections and paid their prize money according to the awards of the judges. And strange to say, those awards are in the [Kennel Club] studbook although the Kennel Club objected to nearly all of them." (The Canine World)

Because official registrations were new to the dog world, their significance was still questioned by many fanciers. Most exhibitors took a casual approach to the information requested on entry forms or published in show catalogs. This informal attitude was reinforced by the fact that catalogs were normally rife with errors. None of the parties involved felt compelled to ensure any degree of accuracy, and subsequent Kennel Club penalties were greeted with outraged surprise. The Canine World fumed: "If the Kennel Club is so mighty particular over pedigrees and dates of birth and if they are really earnest, why don't they demand a proof of the catalogue a couple of days before each event? There are plenty of clerks about who would be glad of the job of checking the catalogue; in fact the catalogue is checked after the shows, why not before? [...] The catalogue would go to the world a model of correctness. People would not look upon pedigrees and dates of birth with so much suspicion, and the Kennel Club would benefit accordingly."

Another early rule was designed to resolve the problem of clubs defaulting on the payment of prize money. "No person shall be allowed to enter or run a dog in his own or any other person's name who is a defaulter for either entries or stakes in field trials, dog shows, racing, or coursing meets."

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