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Dog Showing with Mid-20th Century Style

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70 – August, 2016

By Debra Lampert-Rudman

I recently inherited hundreds of classic and antique dog books – from breed books to instructional manuals and illustrated references. In reading one of them, Milo G. Denlinger’s Grooming and Showing Instructions, penned (or probably typewritten) in 1946, there are quite a few tips worth sharing that readily apply to today’s digital dog show scene, 70 years later. And, even more tips that were surprising and fun to read.

Milo G. Denlinger, through his Denlinger’s publishing company, was one of the most prolific purveyors of dog books in the mid-20th century.

Although dog breed standards, tools, numbers of recognized breeds (there were only 6 groups and 110 breeds then), and handling and grooming styles may have changed and evolved, Denlinger’s book is surprisingly readable – and relevant – today. Its doses of common sense and tongue-in-cheek humor are traits that dog show fanciers might want to consider bringing to their next show weekend.

Section I – Showing

“The dog owner who can’t go into the competition with urbanity and good nature and sportsmanship had better keep his dog at home. Such an exhibitor not only loses the pleasure he might himself derive from showing his dog, but he detracts from the pleasures of the other exhibitors and of everybody concerned. If your dog is good enough to win, that is fine. You are open to congratulation and will doubtless feel a sense of pride with a fluttering heart. It is your day and youhave a right to make the most of it. On the other hand, however, while you are likely to win a prize of some kind, you may not win everything in sight. Don’t begrudge the winning exhibitor his victory and don’t disparage the dog that defeated yours.”

Setting his tone early, Denlinger stresses the importance of good sportsmanship – from exhibitors to judges. He goes on to say that in the “long history of dog shows it would be extraordinary if no dishonesty of judges had ever occurred. With all the vigilance to prevent it, it is even more amazing that it has been kept at so small a minimum as it has…They want to do good jobs.”

Believe it or not, in the 1940s a dog could attain its championship without ever being registered with the American Kennel Club. Paying 25 cents to the show-giving club to forward to the AKC for record-keeping, a dog could appear at three shows with the promise of registration by the fourth show. Entry fees were $3.25 for most shows, larger shows $5.25, for each class with a smaller fee for each additional class for the same dog.

Click here to read the complete article
70 – August, 2016

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