One of the few remaining benched shows in
America holds back-to-back shows in February - the International
Kennel Club of Chicago. Westminster Kennel Club, Kennel Club of Philadelphia, Detroit Kennel Club, and Golden
Gate Kennel Club joins International (as the club is known
throughout the dog fancy) in offering benched events. Portland
Kennel Club, which owns its own benching, also has a very
limited entry benched show. A benched show is one where clubs
have specific benching for dog owners and/or handlers to put
their crates, etc. on in designated areas.
When queried as to why International
continues to have a benched show, Lou Auslander, the Club's
President, said, "It is a wonderful way for spectators to find
breeds and talk to breeders. We view benching as a chance to
general public about our dogs. Onofrio [the show superintendent]
built the benching to fill our needs and we are pleased with the
The International Cluster of Dog Shows draws
approximately 60,000 spectators and
maintains a mailing list for show information, coupons and other pertinent material. The
club, whose shows are held at the enormous McCormick Place
convention center, share these facilities with Park Shore Kennel
Club, held on Thursday, and Blackhawk Kennel Club on Friday.
Many special events have taken place at
International including special obedience demonstrations, agility, Canine Good
Citizen and the Pro Plan Performance Team. Over 100 booths offer a broad
range of dog-related products from artwork to dog collars and everything
else in between.
International is a successor to the old
Chicago Kennel Club, which was founded in 1900. It had long been
considered as one of the premier shows in America, but became a victim in the
1980's of the other clubs holding shows on the same weekend and falling
at the end of major Clusters when dogs and people are tired. Lou Auslander countered this by changing the show's date from the end of March
to the end of February and gradually the weekend is returning as a
major highlight of the show circuit. We have had over 3000 entries at show and our shows draw
top dogs from across the United States and Canada to complete for
many prizes and the coveted Group and Best In Show wins.
We would like to thank Sari B. Tietjen for
taking the time to dig into our history.
1938-1984 Best in Show Winners
Kennel Review Article 1938-1984 IKC History
published March 1985 (download)