Remembering the Morris and Essex Dog Show

February 29, 2012

The Morris & Essex Kennel Club dog show, 1937

Mary Ann McGann in the current edition of Inside Jersey takes a look back at the Morris and Essex Kennel Club dog show, which was founded by Geraldine Dodge in 1927 , and over the course of the next thirty years, became internationally known as the most prestigious.

McGann notes that, “The event spread out over 130 acres, with 3 1/2 acres of tents and more than 20 acres set aside for parking. There was a telegraph office for journalists to file reports and a small field hospital, staffed by a doctor and two nurses. Honored guests and judges were served an elegant lunch, while others received a special boxed lunch.”

The show attracted an astonishing crowd: 50,000 people to Madison for the single day event.

Mrs. Dodge was a breeder of dogs, particularly English Cocker Spaniels and German Shepherds, and she also judged at major dog shows in every American state as well as the premier shows in Germany, Canada, Ireland, and England. She was the first woman invited to judge Best in Show for the Westminster Kennel Club (in 1924). Furthermore, she founded St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, a refuge for injured and lost animals and education center, by setting aside 16 acres of her estate at Giralda Farms.

Don’t miss the Inside Jersey article, which looks back at a truly important event for New Jersey, and is a wonderful reminder of Mrs. Dodge’s passion for animals. Also learn how the Morris and Essex show was revived in 1997 and continues to host a dog show every five years.

Mrs. Dodge presents the award for Best in Show, 1953

Mrs. Dodge at the Trophy Tent

Images courtesy Hartley Farms Historical Archive