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Morris & Essex By the Numbers



By Bo Bengtson


At the annual meeting of Morris & Essex Kennel Club in New York in February I presented some numbers in an attempt to place the great entry figures at last year's show in perspective. As we all know, our 2015 event on October 1 was the largest for the club since Mrs. Dodge's record-breaking show in 1939. Based on available figures from AKC, it's also clear that this was the largest outdoor show held in the U.S. for more than 20 years — possibly much longer. It was also at the time the largest AKC dog show of any kind since 2004, although that record stood for only a couple of months: the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Florida on Dec. 12 and 13 attracted an all-time record that had a couple of hundred more dogs in competition than M&EKC.


The fact that Morris & Essex was held on a single day, Thursday, not on a weekend, while the National Championship was AKC's official year-end show and took place over two days makes comparisons a little difficult. The most important thing that we can take away from these big entries is that the interest in dog shows that has declined over the past couple of years may be increasing again — or at least we now have good reason to hope it is.


Here are the figures: Morris & Essex Kennel Club last year had (as per the catalog) 4,152 dogs entered that, thanks to the sweepstakes classes, made 4,667 entries. You have to consult official AKC figures to find out how many dogs were present at the show after absentees were deducted: According to published AKC Events figures, Morris & Essex had a total of 3,554 dogs in competition. In the following, numbers will refer to dogs present and shown, since that's what was published in the AKC Awards in the past. To know how many dogs were entered in a show, you need to have access to the catalog.


The 2015 Morris & Essex total narrowly beat the highest peak reached by the Kennel Club of Palm Springs, whose outdoor show had 3,523 dogs in 2006. It's also higher than Santa Barbara Kennel Club's record of 3,520 dogs in competition in 1987. I can't say for certain whether a couple of other shows that were held in the 1980s and '90s were held outdoors or not, but it's possible that ours was the largest outdoor show held in several decades. (The indoor shows that are held in Louisville during the spring used to be the largest of all: Louisville Kennel Club had 4,662 dogs in competition at their 1996 show; Evansville KC the same weekend had 4,392. In more recent years, however, these clubs have only reached much lower figures.)


Size alone, of course, is not what Morris & Essex Kennel Club is about. Tradition, hospitality and a concern for genuine dog know-how are more important — but it must be satisfying to everyone involved that the support the fancy shows for Morris & Essex is reflected in the large entry figures. It's also a wonderful gesture that shows genuine respect for the past that the annual meeting in February voted to limit entries at future Morris & Essex Kennel Club shows to 4,455 — one less than Mrs. Dodge's remarkable 1939 show had!


Below are entry figures from the past Morris & Essex Kennel Club shows. All these figures, judging by the show reports at the time, indicate number of dogs entered; number of dogs present was not published by AKC in the early years.


         1927 - 595 dogs entered


         1928 - 920 dogs entered


         1929 - 1,150 dogs entered


         1930 - 1,507 dogs entered


         1931 - 1,922 dogs entered


         1932 - 1,517 dogs entered


         1933 - 2,346 dogs entered


         1934 - 2,827 dogs entered


         1935 - 3,175 dogs entered


         1936 - 3,751 dogs entered


         1937 - 4,104 dogs entered


         1938 - 4,213 dogs entered


         1939 - 4,456 dogs entered


         1940 - 4,027 dogs entered


         1941 - 3,883 dogs entered


         1942-1945 - no shows held


         1946 - 2,086 dogs entered


         1947 - 2,372 dogs entered


         1948 - 2,664 dogs entered


         1949 - 2,637 dogs entered


         1950 - 2,587 dogs entered


         1951 - 2,568 dogs entered


         1952 - 2,851 dogs entered


         1953 - 2,612 dogs entered


         1954 - 2,612 dogs entered


         1955 - 2,397 dogs entered


         1956 - 2,304 dogs entered


         1957 - 2,548 dogs entered


         1958-1999 - no shows held


         2000 - 3,223 dogs entered


         2005 - 3,194 dogs entered


         2010 - 3,416 dogs entered


         2015 - 4,152 dogs entered