The First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs

Today in History, May 8, 1877:

For several years a group of sportsmen had been gathering at their favorite bar inside the Westminster Hotel in New York City to tell tales of their hunting excursions and share a few drinks.

They decided eventually to set up some kennels nearby for their four-legged friends and hire trainers. Thus was born the Westminster Kennel Club, named for their favorite establishment.

From here it was decided to host a dog show, the first of which drew approximately 1,200 entrants as The First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs, held at Gilmore’s Garden for three days beginning May 8, 1877.

Today we know the show as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the venue as Madison Square Garden.

The show is the second longest continuous running sporting event in the United States…bested only by the Kentucky Derby which began in the same decade.

Oh the stories they can tell. Entries reportedly have been made using the late Col. George Custer’s dogs, those of the monarchs of England, Russia and Germany, and the indomitable Nelly Bly.

The show predates movies, the light bulb, many states, and the “show went on” during wars and the Great Depression.

The show has, of course, progressed from hunting dogs to pretty much every breed, and now carries on longer and draws even more remarkable crowds.

“From Where the Sun Now Stands, I Will Fight No More Forever”


Today in History, September 21: 1904 – 

“I am tired of fighting. “Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ He who led the young men (Olikut, his brother) is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. FROM WHERE THE SUN NOW STANDS, I WILL FIGHT NO MORE FOREVER.” 

 Chief Joseph, who in 1877 had led his band of the Nez Perce in a running battle for 1400 miles in an attempted retreat into Canada from the US Cavalry, ending in his surrender to US troops under Gen. Nelson A. Miles, dies in Washington State. His people had been friendly with the white people since the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.