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The Golden Age – Montgomery County Kennel Club

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178 – September, 2017

By Amy Fernandez
Reprinted from November/December, 2012

There are plenty of group shows, but none with the cachet of Montgomery County Kennel Club. Countless important dogs, handlers, breeders, and judges have converged there over the decades. For example, Ch. Heather Reveller of Sporran, Ch. Walnut Challenger, and Ch. Faultless of Blighty are iconic in their respective breeds. Throw in Len Brumby, Bill Prentice, and Percy Roberts and it begins to sound like a fantasy dog show. And those were just a few of the players at the 1933 Montgomery show.

Even by yesterday’s definition, Montgomery was ex- tremely competitive. But its intensity also made it a pacesetter for wider changes in the dog world as it grew and adapted to America’s economic and social changes. Former professional handler and famed Scottie breeder Bob Bartos started going in the 1960s, and has exhibited and judged at Montgomery.

“The dog business started in the late 1800s” and Bartos accurately calls its early decades “nothing much” characterized by a handful of elite East Coast sportsmen who enjoyed it as a hobby. “Dog shows really took off in the 1920s when the big money East Coast kennels like Belmont’s started importing dogs.” A major catalyst was the creation of the Terrier Group and the Best In Show award in 1924. These changes caused the competitive atmosphere to heat up consid- erably. Consistently documenting Group and Best In Show wins created a race for records and unbeatable dogs. America had always been the prime market for top quality British dogs. But Terrier purchases were a veritable showcase of American capitalism and competitive spirit. “An almost continuous stream of our best specimens found their way to the States. The prices paid were in innumerable instances quite fab- ulous.” (Hutchinson’s Dog Encyclopedia). High prices for Wires, Scotties, and Bull Terriers were rou- tine, but America’s love for the new and different re- ally blossomed in the late 1920s.

Westies were first imported by the New York real estate magnate Robert Goelet who usually made headlines for his opulent homes and glamorous wives. He kicked off his Westie buying spree with Ch. Kiltie for 400 pounds, a price that raised eyebrows. Before that shock wore off he brought over Glenmohr Model and Dazzler Sands. These dogs laid the groundwork for the breed’s development in America.

Click here to read the complete article
178 – September, 2017

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