Sometimes Things DO Change
From The New York Times, March 10, 1929
Best in Show Judging Needs a Change
The point has been raised regarding the judging of best in show under the new regulations (the AKC is calling for). Accepted literally, they would require that a judge to officiate in that capacity would of necessity have on file with the license committee affidavits that he is competent to judge every one of the eighty-odd varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club.
As a matter of fact, the judge of best in show has to pass upon five dogs only. All his preliminary work has been cleared for him by experts in each breed.
It must be remembered, moreover, that a comparatively small number of breeds ever go to the top of the five variety groups. And in a big show it is unusual for a toy to be the final selection. It is fairly safe, therefore, to state that the judge of best in show will seldom have to consider representatives of other than the more popular breeds in various groups.
Taking the groups separately, the best of the sporting dogs is usually found among the beagles, greyhounds, pointers, setters, spaniels and wolfhounds. Of the working dogs those in the final running in the group are collies, great Danes, old English sheepdogs, doberman pinschers, Samoyedes and shepherds.
Today among the terriers, one customarily expects an airedale, a bullterrier, a cairn, a Sealy, Scottie, Kerry blue or schnauzer at the top.
Among the toys it is seldom that one can beat the winning peke or pom, while in the non sporting division the one to enter the final is more likely to be a Boston terrier, a bulldog or a French bulldog.
An earlier article from the same edition of the paper illustrates the dramatic difference between then and now in sheer numbers of shows held and dogs registered.
Mass of Detail Passes Through AKC Office
During the year 1928, 568 championships, including those won at field trials, were awarded. A total of 261 bench (or conformation) shows were held in 1928, with member clubs holding 104 shows.
Compare these figures with today’s shows, where shows are held every weekend in every state, but a French Bulldog winning Best in Show rarely happens more than a half dozen times per year.
With the dramatically small number of shows and championships in the 1920s, it becomes even more surprising that French Bulldogs are singled out as receiving a significant number of Group and Best in Show wins.
Apparently, some things really do change with time.