Detroit Kennel Club

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Detroit Kennel Club
Abbreviation DKC
Formation 1916
Type Kennel club
Erik Bergishagen

The Detroit Kennel Club (DKC) is a local kennel club that aims to educate the public about purebred dogs primarily through hosting an annual back-to-back benched dog show. The Detroit Kennel Club is a member club of the American Kennel Club.


The Detroit Kennel Club originally had its first show in April 1916.[1] The show was located at the Detroit Naval Armory on East Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. Since then, the shows location has been moved various times. Until the 1920s, the shows location would change between the Naval Armory and the Michigan State Fairgrounds. In the 1920s, the shows location was changed to the Detroit Convention Hall on Canfield Avenues. The show remained at the Detroit Convention Hall until 1949 when it was relocated back to the Michigan State Fairgrounds. The show remained in the Fairgrounds for 15 years until it was moved to the Cobo Convention Center on Jefferson and Washington in downtown Detroit. It has remained at the Cobo Convention Center.[1]

The original show catalogs cost twenty-five cents.[1] By the 1920s, the price of the catalogs went up to fifty cents. The show quickly became popular. It started out as a small show with four judges at the original show. Many of the upper-class families of Detroit joined the club and caused the club to have 250 members, just one year after the original show. In the first few years, the show didn’t have a set time of year. It varied until the 1920s when it became set in March.[1]

All of these dogs were inspected for distemper and other diseases before they could enter the show. Up to twenty veterinarians worked at the shows to make sure the dogs were healthy and behaved. All of the dogs at the show had to stay on their benches until 10 PM when the show doors would close. They could only leave their benches at certain times to exercise. All of the Detroit Kennel Club shows are benched shows so that the audience can meet and pet the dogs. Today there are only five other benched shows[2] in the United States including Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Portland and New York. The largest entry at the club was 3798 dogs in 1978. The largest breed entry was 223 Borzoi dogs.[1]

Noteworthy shows[edit]

2013 Best in Show Winner, CRISPY LEGACY, Fox Terriers (Wire)

The annual show has been cancelled for the year 2014, which breaks a streak of 98 years since it was first held. The primary reason for the cancellation in 2014 was because the club has not been able to find new sponsors ever since their primary sponsor, the pet food maker Purina, ended the sponsorship in 2010.[3] The show costs around $100,000 annually and due to lack of support, it could not reach that target.

The Detroit Kennel Club shows have had many famous people attend them. In 1931, Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge from New Jersey attended the show as the Shepherd Dog Judge. Dodge is the daughter of William Rockefeller, the co-founder of Standard Oil.[4] Erik Bergishagen, the father of the current Detroit Kennel Club president also attended that same show which was showing two Jagersbo Pointers and English Setters.[1]


The club plans to continue fundraising efforts and to revive the show, possibly at a different venue. According to the club's show chairman, Richard Ford, the intention is to pursue sponsors for 2015.[5]

See also[edit]

United Kennel Club
Conformation Show


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Detroit Kennel Club Mission and History". Detroit Kennel Club. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  2. ^ Schilp, Jenny (February 14, 2008). "For the Love of Dogs the Detroit Kennel Club Celebrates 100th/101st Annual Shows..." (Press release). Detroit Kennel Club. Retrieved January 31, 2014 – via Reuters. 
  3. ^ Braiser, L.L. (October 17, 2013). "Lack of Funding Forces Detroit Kennel Club to Cancel Dog Shows". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  4. ^ "History". The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  5. ^ "After Nearly a Century, Detroit Dog Show Cancelled". Southfield, MI: WWJ-TV. Associated Press. October 18, 2013.