Thirty years ago Mrs. M. Hartley Dodge, already well known as a breeder of dogs, became annoyed with the management of dog shows. Too many of them, she felt, were beset with inconveniences irksome to beast and man. Mrs. Dodge decided, therefore, to create a show of her own, with efficiency, comfort and beauty as the theme. The time would be late May, when the weather should be warm but not yet hot; the place would be the polo field on her 4,000-acre Giralda Farms in Madison, N.J., and the action would take place in multiple rings with one judge for nearly every breed so that all of the judging could be completed in the course of a single day. Her project flourished, and today the Morris and Essex Dog Show (named after two New Jersey counties) is the largest, and hence the doggiest, dog show in the world.
This year again, on the morning of May 24th, the stage will be set for the big show. Three and a half acres of tents, more canvas than is used for any circus, will shelter from sun or rain some 3,000 dogs and their entourages. Dogs will be everywhere, nor will they have to be benched, as at most shows. When not actually in the ring they can be paraded over the lawns or relax to their owners' content in the spacious surroundings. Dogs enjoy this unusual dog show freedom, Mrs. Dodge feels, and on this subject she can speak with authority. She was the first woman ever selected for the supreme and difficult task of choosing the best-in-show at New York's Westminster and has also been the owner and breeder of many a best-in-show dog.
Playful Boxer Ch. Baroque of Quality Hill, judged best dog in show, climbs into lap of owner, Mrs. John P. Wagner.
Patient Basset Debbie's Gift is examined by Hugh Lewis during the judging of the hound group. Dog is owned by Robert H. Scott.
May 20, 1956
Prancing Dalmatian Juno, owned by Mrs. Charles Mapes, jumps at her owner's 16-year-old daughter Judy after showing.
Pensive Welsh Corgi Willow Farm Quest, one of 27 Pembroke Corgis in the show, relaxes with owner, Actor Francis L. Sullivan.
Doting Doberman Alemaps Amazing Amazon nuzzles Betty Gersh after showing in puppy class. Dog is owned by W. H. Bushman.
Chic Chihuahua Lumar's Darlene is carried with day's program by Owner L. M. Zell. Dog, book weigh about same.
Alert Afghan Ch. Zaamarakuri of Ghazni rests on grass beside Owner Mary Kenney of Dayton, Ohio before his class is called.
Benign Bloodhound Tiffany's Thurber shares his bench with owner's daughter, Tiffany Flynn of Lake Villa, Illinois.