For the 15th year in a row, Chris and I are promoting the Kennel Club of Philadelphia Dog Shows. 

This is a really old tradition in Philadelphia, dating back to 1879.  I should know – I wrote the history of the shows that we used in our press kit.

This show has a “benched” format, meaning the dogs all stay on benches all day, when not in the ring.  The headaches involved in putting on this kind of show are so enormous that benched shows are now very rare – there are only 5 left in the nation. 

At a benched show, you’re expected to stroll up and down the rows, petting the dogs (with permission), watching the primping and polishing and grooming, and learning about the amazing variety of breeds.  We’ll have 150+ breeds entered in our shows, including 3 brand-new breeds that have just been accepted by the American Kennel Club.

Yes, it’s just like Best in Show.  In fact, the producers of that movie called Chris to see about filming at our show, which we were very excited about.  When the logistics proved impossible,  they shot it in Toronto and called it Philadelphia.  But they did hold one of the premiere showings here, with special invitations to us and to KCP members.  We had them bring their dogs to the Ritz Theatre.

This year the shows will be held November 14 and 15 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA, near Valley Forge.  We’ll be giving away 6 tickets for adult admission a random drawing from the comments below.  Tell us why you love your dog, or why you love canines in general.  If I can’t figure out how to randomly choose the winners, Chase and Noah can pick one winner, Hugh another, and Malcolm the third.  The three winners will receive two free tickets, a re”tail” value of $24.  Winners will be announced here at MOB on Tuesday 10/13.

The Saturday show is taped and broadcast on Thanksgiving Day nationally by NBC, as The National Dog Show Presented by Purina.   Sunday is a whole new all-breed dog show with another Best in Show chosen at the end.  You can attend either day.   Lots more info here:

Some favorite facts from the KPC history.

In 1879, the best pointer dog of any weight went home with a new Remington gun.  Best pug won “a pair of fine candle sticks.” 

The dogs had very simple names.  Although Max is the most popular dog name today, and we know lots of dogs named Millie too, here are some of the 19th century names:  Bub, Lucy, Mitch, Jerry, Raven, Flirt, Captain, Kate, Crab.  Royal names were popular – King, Duke, Lady Rock, Scottish Queen.

Coverage of the KCP 1884 show in The New York Times included mention of the “Crested Chinese Edible Dog.” 

Only 13 rules governed the first show, including the disqualification of dogs with mange.

Vicious or dangerous dogs could only be exercised by exhibitors, not by staff.  (Today you would never see a vicious or dangerous dog at the show – they are all beautifully behaved.)

Dogs could be shipped to Philadelphia for free, when accompanied by a human, on one of  the many railroads serving Philadelphia.  (Now, many of them arrive in RVs fit for a king.)

Finally, yes – it is ironic that Chris and I don’t have a dog.  At least he has the credibility of a childhood dog, a poodle named Frenchie.   We trot out that answer whenever someone asks “What breed are you in?”

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