28 Jun: Before There Was ‘Crufts’

The first modern dog show took place in Newcastle on 28th June, 1859. Essentially a sideshow to the annual exhibition of cattle, it featured just 23 pointers and 27 setters. The owners of the champion breeds won a gun.

Allegations of inbreeding and nepotism plagued the contest from the very beginning; controversies which eventually sparked the invention of The Kennel Club in 1873.

In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion consider the competition’s historical connections to pigeon-fancying and eugenics; unearth Charles Dickens’ sceptical opinion of the 1862 ‘Monster Dog Show’ in Islington; and explain how Charles Cruft maneuvered himself up from dog-food salesman to create the premier event in canine display…

Further Reading: