Editorial: November 12, 2021
We haven’t enjoyed the full year’s season of dog shows, but it certainly has been a unique one. It started with the one-off summer Westminster Kennel Club, held outside of New York City on the palatial grounds of the Lyndhurst estate, followed by the Morris & Essex Kennel Club, which holds a unique position in our sport as it is held only once every five years. And now next week the Kennel Club of Philadelphia will hold its dog show. The show, while held just slightly to the west of Philadelphia, is unique in what it offers. Once, like many other dog shows held in major cities, Philadelphia was a must-attend event, boasting a membership that included many bold-face names in our sport. Given the moniker of the Dandy Dozen, they included William Kendrick, Charles A.T. O’Neill, Jack LaFore, Alan Robson, Stuart Cochran, Jack Sheenan, Sam Peacock, Charlie Schaefer, Sam Ewing, Council Parker, Stanley Broadbent … they were the core of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. While the club dinner was a men-only affair, ladies were invited to lunch. The club’s profits were donated to the University of Pennsylvania. Eventually competing shows were held on the same weekend in other locations, and cracks began to appear in this weekend. A solution was to cluster the show, which proved to be financially unsound for renting the convention center and all that entailed for so many days. So, like many others, the show moved farther from the city center. But what makes the present-day Kennel Club of Philadelphia so special is its exposure. Thanks to the hard work of Wayne Ferguson (a name that has become synonymous with success) and his fellow club members, or maybe it was divine intervention, but whatever the cause, we in the sport of purebred dogs have an audience of 25 million viewing what we love to do on national network television on Thanksgiving Day. The exposure is more than priceless. This is an opportunity that only comes around once in a lifetime. We need to grab it, support it and hold onto it. While to us it’s the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, to the general public it’s “The National Dog Show” on NBC following the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Tens of millions view this event on television. Members in collaboration with the Carson Production Company dress up the show for its television audience. This is an event that needs to be supported with entries from across the country so that is indeed a national event that presents the best of every breed recognized by the American Kennel Club.