International Kennel Club
of Chicago
History of the IKC
 

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 educate the general public about our dogs. Onofrio [the show superintendent] built the benching to fill our needs and we are pleased with the results.

The International Cluster of Dog Shows draws approximately 100,000 spectators over the four-day period and maintains a mailing list of almost 45,000 names for the mailing of 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.

There are many special events at International including special obedience demonstrations, agility, Canine Good Citizen and a Pro Plan Performance Team. Over 160 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. The largest entry this year was at Saturday's show with just over 3000 entries. The four shows drew 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 (download)

Kennel Review Article 1938-1984 IKC History published March 1985 (download)

 
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