Best in Show

Morris & Essex Best in Show Winners

The first Morris & Essex show was held in 1927, and the last show of Mrs. Dodge's tenure took place in 1957.

There was no Morris & Essex show held in 1954, nor were there shows during the wartime years of 1942 through 1945.

Since Mrs. Dodge's time, there have been four "modern" Morris & Essex shows, starting with the first time the show was revived in 2000. Shows have continued in five-year intervals.

The next Morris & Essex show will be held on Wednesday, October 1, 2025. 


Ch. Pequest Wasabi

Owners: Sandra Middlebrooks, Peggy Steinman, Iris Love and David Fitzpatrick
Judge: Mr. Desmond Murphy

Entry: 4,456

Winning at Morris & Essex is already heady stuff: Winning three times in a row with three dogs of the same breed is all but unimaginable. But that's exactly what breeder-owner-handler David Fitzpatrick did at this pandemic-delayed show. With this Morris & Essex win, "Wasabi" also completed the trifecta of American dog shows, having won Westminster earlier in the year and the AKC National Championship in 2020.


Ch. Pequest General Tso

Owners: N. Shapland and David Fitzpatrick

Judge: Mrs. Dorothy Collier

Entry: 4,656

Winning with "The General" was doubly sweet for handler David Fitzpatrick: For the second consecutive show, he won Best in Show at Morris & Essex Kennel Club Show under judge Mrs. Dorothy Collier. (He won with Malachy the Pekingese in 2010.) This year's show was the largest single-day outdoor show in American history, second only to Mrs. Dodge's 1939 show.


Ch. Palacegarden Malachy

Owners: Sandra Middlebrooks, Iris Love and David Fitzpatrick

Judge: Mr. Robert Forsyth

Entry: 3,415

"Malachy" was just two years old when he reached the pinnacle at the third "modern" Morris & Essex show. He went on to win Best in Show at Westminster in 2012. The huge blue-and-orange Morris & Essex ribbon was the final one bestowed by judge Robert Forsyth, who retired after this assignment.


Colored Bull Terrier
Ch. Rocky Top’s Sundance Kid

Owners: Barbara Bishop, Norma Shepherd, William and Rebecca Poole and Dorothy Cherry

Judge: Mrs. Michele Billings

Entry: 3,163

In 2005, Morris & Essex’s Best in Show again went to a Terrier, albeit a non-traditional one. The big win was the first of many prestigious ones for "Rufus." “It felt like the Triple Crown,” said his owner Barbara Bishop. “He won this, then the National Dog Show, and then Westminster.” After his retirement, Rufus brightened hundreds of lives as a therapy dog.


Kerry Blue Terrier
Ch. Torum's Scarf Michael

Owner: Marilu Hansen

Judge: Mr. Melbourne T.L. Downing

Entry: 3,223

Eleven of the first 26 Morris & Essex shows were won by Terriers, so it seemed fitting that the first show of its modern reincarnation was won by a Kerry Blue fresh from winning Crufts in his native land. The legendary “Mick” finished his American championship at Morris & Essex in 2005, then won the show from the classes. He repeated the win later in the weekend, at the Montgomery Kennel Club Show.


Miniature Poodle
Ch. Fircot L’Ballerine of Maryland

Owner: Mrs. Saunders L. Meade

Judge: Mr. Lewis S. Worden

Entry: 2,548

This win at the last of the "original" Morris & Essex shows was the 17th all-breed Best in Show win for this English import, who was shown by Ruth Sayers.


Ch. Roadcoach Roadster

Owner: Mrs. Sydney K. Allman Jr.

Judge: Mrs. Edward P. Renner

Entry: 2,304

This stylish 27-month-old Dalmatian, a four-time BIS winner before he took the M&E honors, was a relatively new acquisition at Mrs. Allman's kennel in Dolyestown, Pennsylvania. In what was believed to be an unprecedented trifecta at the show, Roadster's professional handler, Charley Meyer, had won the Hound Group with Afghan Hound Ch. Majara Menelek and the Sporting Group with black-and-white Pointer Ch. Finefield's Cover Girl. He stayed on the Dal -- wisely, it turned out.


Ch. Baroque of Quality Hill

Owners: Mr. and Mrs. John P. Wagner

Judge: Col. Edward McQuown

Entry: 2,397

"A fawn and white boxer came out of the Middle West to win the highest award of America's most distinguished outdoor dog show today," reported The New York Times on 1955's winner. Though Baroque wasn't quite two years old on the day, her pedigree was timeless, as her father was none other than Ch. Bang Away of Sirrah Crest, the winningest Boxer in the world at the time. Despite multiple attempts, he never achieved Best in M&E.


Welsh Terrier
Ch. Toplight Template of Twin Ponds

Owner: Mrs. Edward P. Alker

Judge: Col. Mr. Anton B. Korbel

Entry: 2,612

Yet-another English-imported Terrier to take top honors at Morris & Essex, "Template" was shown by John Goudie, who managed Mrs. Alker's Long Island kennel.


Wire Fox Terrier
Ch. Wyretex Wyns Traveller of Trucote

Mrs. Leonard Smit

Judge: Mr. George Steadman Thomas

Entry: 2,851

In the early days of the sport, Terriers — and Fox Terriers in particular — were always been inordinately successful at high-profile shows like Morris & Essex and Westminster. But by the time this show rolled around, Fox Terriers hadn't won a Best at M&E in 11 years, nor Wires in a whopping 19. This win broke that logjam, and added Best in Show number six to the English import's resume.


English Setter
Ch. Rock Falls Colonel

Owner: Col. William T. Holt

Judge: Mr. Anton A. Rost

Entry: 2,568

There were two colonels in the ring when this previously little known orange Belton skyrocketed to prominence: His handler, Col. William T. Holt, was an actual military man. The canine Colonel was the second dog of any breed to break into the exclusive "100 Club," having earned 100 Bests in Show. The dog who beat him to be the first was the Boxer Bang Away, with whom Colonel competed fiercely in the mid-1950s. Bang away, alas, never achieved Best in Show at Morris & Essex, though a daughter of his captured the honor in 1955.


Irish Setter 
Ch. Tyronne Farm Clancy

Owner: Jack A. Spear

Judge: Mr. Hugh A. Lewis

Entry: 2,587

To call Clancy an underdog at this Morris & Essex would be an understatement: Handled by his breeder-owner from Iowa, the young Irish was up against the previous year's winning Scottie. But Irish Setters have always had a bit of extra luck at M&E, and his quality was indisputable. “I think he’s a terrific setter," commented judge Hugh A. Lewis. "As a matter of fact, I think he’s the best I’ve ever had my hands on, sound as a dollar, a nice mover, a nice size and as good as they come.”


Scottish Terrier
Ch. Walsing Winning Trick of Edgerstoune

Owner: Mrs. John G. Winant

Judge: Mrs. David Wagstaff

Entry: 2,637

Infrequently shown and frequently rewarded, this top-winning Scottie was handled by Phil Prentice. "Trick" was one of many imports to Mrs. Winant's New Hampshire Kennel, which was also known for its Westies. 


Bedlington Terrier
Ch. Rock Ridge Night Rocket

Owners: Mr. and Mrs. William Rockefeller

Judge: Alva Rosenberg

Entry: 2,664

The silver trophy front and center is the Percy R. Rockefeller Trophy, which Night Rocket retired with this second consecutive Best in Show at Morris & Essex.


Bedlington Terrier
Rock Ridge Night Rocket

Owners: Mr. and Mrs. William Rockefeller

Judge: Joseph C. Quirk

Entry: 2,372

Considered one of the greatest Bedlingtons of all time, Night Rocket was barely a year old when he won top honors at the 1947 show. 


Cocker Spaniel
Ch. Benbow’s Beau

Owners: Robert A. Gusman

Judge: Mrs. James Austin

Entry: 2,086

Pre-empted by World War II, Mrs. Dodge's famous show resumed after a five-year absence, and even a railroad strike couldn't keep the crowds away. An audience of some 20,000 was on hand to see this solid-black Cocker take top honors, shown by Leo F. Schelver Jr. It was Beau's 12th Best in Show in about as many months.


Smooth Fox Terrier 
Ch. Nornay Saddler

Owners: James M. Austin

Judge: Enno Meyer

Entry: 3,883

"When the Fox Terrrier standard was drawn up in 1876, they closed their eyes and dreamed of Saddler," said Fox Terrier expert Winthrop Rutherford. Considered "one of the greatest and most famous dogs in the world" in his prime, "Saddler" was taken out of retirement for this show — his third attempt at taking the big prize at Morris & Essex. His win before a crowd of 10,000 made 56 Bests in Show for Saddler — a world record at the time.


Standard Poodle
Ch. Blakeen Jung Frau

Owners: Mrs. Sherman R. Hoyt

Judge: George B. Thomas

Entry: 4,027

The finale at this 14th-annual iteration of Mrs. Dodge's famous show was so rain soaked that "what had originally been called a polo field was more a water polo field by evening," the New York Journal and American reported. Mrs. Hoyt had two contenders at this show — her Afghan Hound Ch. Rudiki of Prides Hill won her group as well — but in the end it was the glamorous Jung Frau who took highest honors.


Cocker Spaniel Ch. My Own Brucie

Owner: Herman E. Mellenthin

Judge: William H. Pym

Entry: 4,456

Shown by his breeder, "Brucie" heralded the age of the modern Cocker Spaniel. Winning Westminster in back-to-back wins in the two years after his Morris & Essex triumph, he captured the public's imagination, even landing an obituary on the front page of The New York Times. It was fitting that Brucie won top honors at Mrs. Dodge's famous show, as she was instrumental in dividing the breed into the English Cocker Spaniel (as it is called on American shores) and the American Cocker Spaniel (as Brucie and his ilk are called elsewhere in the world).


Old English Sheepdog
Ch. Ideal Weather

Owner: Leonard Collins

Judge: Harry T. Peters

Entry: 4,213

Whenever he ventured south of the border, this Canadian-bred herding dog was never bested in breed competition. The 1938 M&E show was Ideal Weather's 27th time exhibiting on American soil, and his last, as he retired with the win. We can be assured that Mrs. Dodge approved of this BIS choice: She awarded Best in Show to Ideal Weather in Chicago earlier that year.


English Setter
Ch. Sturdy Max

Owners: Dwight Ellis

Judge: Dr. Samuel Milbank

Entry: 4,104

Some 50,000 spectators turned out this year to see the canine contenders at Mrs. Dodge's world-famous show: Thousands were still in attendance for Best in Show, where they broke down the posts and trampled the ring ropes in an attempt to get closer to the red-ticked winner. Handled by Charles Palmer, "Max" had been purchased from the Syracuse-based Sturdy Dog Food Company, which bred him, for $2,500 (equivalent to more than $50,000 today).


Ch. Mr. Reynal’s Monarch

Owner: Amory L. Haskell

Judge: Dr. Henry Jarrett

Entry: 3,751

Present at the start of the American dog scene in the late 1800s, and continuing into the 1910s, Harriers then had a two-decade absence, resurfacing again in the 1930s. In addition to winning top honors at Morris & Essex — a first and only accomplishment for his breed — "Monarch" was also the first AKC Harrier champion. His portrait, painted by Edwin Megargee, hangs in the AKC's Museum of the Dog in Manhattan. 


Irish Setter
Ch. Milson O’Boy

Owner: Mrs. Cheever Porter

Judge: Mr. G.V. Glebe

Entry: 3,175

After her divorce in 1924, Manhattan socialite Mrs. Cheever Porter became an ardent exhibitor and fancier of Irish Setters, acquiring and backing some of the finest examples of the breed in its day. O’Boy was handled to this win by his breeder, Harry Hartnett. The redcoat's big win recounted in the 1964 book "O’Boy!" written by Dr. Jay Calhoun: "‘O’Boy showed wonderfully, responding to every wish of his talented handler, and with his usual gay spirit, he ate up the gallery applause — going better and better. That day Champion Milson O’Boy won the praise and respect of amateurs and professionals alike, making it perfectly clear that he knew what he was there for."


Sealyham Terrier
Ch. Gunside Babs of Hollybourne

Owner: S.L. Froelich

Judge: George S. Thomas

Entry: 2,827

Like so many top-winning American show dogs in the early years of the sport, "Babs" was a British import. "She is quite a beautiful specimen," wrote noted dog writer Arthur Frederick Jones in the AKC Gazette, "and even though some thought her a little masculine in appearance, she later carried off the premier prize of best in show under the critical eye of Mr George Thomas."


Wire Fox Terrier
Epping Eveille of Blarney

Owner: John G. Bates (pictured at right with Mrs. Dodge)

Judge: Mr. Otto Gross

Entry: 2,346

John Greville Bates was a well-heeled up-and-comer in the world of dogs, importing dozens of Smooth Fox, Welsh, Scottish and Irish terriers as well as Airedales, and Irish Terriers before embarking on Wires. Ascending to the position of vice president of the Westminster Kennel Club, he created a stir when one of his Wires went Best there in 1930. Thankfully, there were no accusations of conflict of interest when a different female, "Eveille," took the top slot at M&E three years later.


Wire Fox Terrier
Ch. Lone Eagle of Earlsmoor

Owners: Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Milbank

Judge: Mr. Frank H. Addyman

Entry: 1,577

The Wire Fox Terrier won at least twice as many BIS as any other breed in AKC competition most years up through the 1930s, and  Ch. Lone Eagle of Earlsmoor was no exception. He was featured in a series of magazine ads for the Otis Elevator Company, positing a parallel between both types of "purebreds."


Great Dane 
Ch. Fionne von Loheland of Walnut Hall

Owner: Harkness Edwards

Judge: Mr. Walter H. Reeves

Entry: 1,922

"Fionne" got off to a shaky start here in the U.S.: Her owner, Harkness Edwards, paid a whopping $12,000 for her (about a quarter-million in today's dollars), only to have the German import slip her leash in Pennsylvania Station en route to the Westminster show. Thankfully, she was captured by a hotel doorman after a half-hour of horn-blaring freedom in the New York City streets. A month later, she landed her first Best in Show in Detroit. For his part, Edwards also bred trotting horses and was a competitive yachtman.


Wire Fox Terrier 
Ch. Weltona Frizzette of Wildoaks

Owners: Mrs. and Mrs. R.C. Bondy

Judge: Dr. J.E. deMund

Entry: 1,507

Until it shuttered its doors in the early 1960s, Wildoaks was considered, in the words of one writer and Terrier specialist, "probably the outstanding kennel of Wire Fox Terriers in the twentieth century." The kennel operated in both the U.S. and England, which is where winning Frizzette was whelped.


Ch. Little Emir

Owner: Mrs. Vincent Matta

Judge: Mr. Theodore Offerman

Entry: 1,150

"Emir" was known in his day as "King of the Poms," and for good reason: He took his first Best in Show the first time he was shown, and was never defeated in any of his 23 times competing in the Toy Group. With his crackerjack showmanship and immense coat, in his short career Emir amassed nine Bests in Show — unheard of in a time when Toy dogs simply did not do that amount of winning.


Sealyham Terrier 
Ch. Delf Discriminant of Pinegrade

Owners: Mr. and Mrs. Frederic Brown

Judge: Mr. Alfred Delmont

Entry: 920

Only one day after disembarking from the Aquitania after having been handpicked for his new owners by iconic judge and dog man Percy Roberts, "Discriminant" worked his way out of the classes at Morris & Essex, winning the Terrier Group in an upset by defeating the famous Wire Fox Terrier Ch. Talavera Margaret. White with a tan ear, he was one of many winning British dogs imported by the Pinegrade kennel of New York City.


Irish Setter
Ch. Higgins' Red Pat

Owner: William W. Higgins

Judges: Messrs. Samuel G. Allen, Alfred Delmont, Harry D. Kirkover, Enno Meyer and George Owen

Entry: 595

Described by dog-show reporters of the day as "a veteran bench show campaigner" and "the dog that never seems to get old," this winning Irish Setter was a common sight - and a frequent winner - at dog shows throughout the metropolitan area in the late 1920s. His Morris & Essex win, however, was certainly his most illustrious.

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