A Brief History of the Louisville Kennel Club

The Louisville Kennel Club was founded in 1886 and incorporated in 1894.  Its president, noted surgeon Dr. David W. Yandell, was a devotee of field sports and an excellent marksman, 

In the autumn of 1883, a dog show was held on the site of the present-day St. James Court as a feature of the Southern Exposition.  This was a World's-Fair-type event and was opened by the United States President, Chester Arthur on August 1, 1883.  The ceremony was brilliantly lit with 4,600 lamps.  It is a very strong possibility that this was the first dog show held under electricity. 

The oldest catalog in the American Kennel Club's library, which lists a Louisville Kennel Club show, provides dates of May 9, 10, 11 and 12, 1894.  This event took place at the Legion Armory located at 741 South Seventh Street.  Catalogs were priced at fifteen cents each.  The entry was comprised of thirty-three breeds plus miscellaneous.  All of the breeds in competition are still common today, although there are some spelling changes.  In this era, a dog show was quite an event.  Travel was slow and difficult, mostly by train.  Judging moved along at a much slower pace, with shows lasting three and four days. 

Records reveal that the Louisville Kennel Association staged its first all-breed show November 23rd through November 27th, 1915.  This club was elected a member of the American Kennel Club on February 24, 1916. 

The Kentucky State Fair Dog Club, in conjunction with the State Fair, put on shows from the year 1918 through 1922.  At this time, the American Kennel Club was notified by the Fair Board that the Kentucky State Fair Dog Club had nothing to do with the Fair.  By request of the American Kennel Club, the name was changed to the Louisville Kennel Club and AKC was advised officially of the change on August 23, 1922.  Dog shows continued to be held at the State Fair through the early 1950's.

One or more shows have been held each year since 1915.  Two shows have been presented each year since 1952.  The Louisville Kennel Club celebrated its one-hundredth Show on February 25, 1979 and its one-hundredth Anniversary Show on March 16, 1986.

The Club has gained the national prominence with its Spring show, now always held in March.  The Louisville Kennel Club Show March 20, 1994, with an entry of 5,363, claims the distinction of being the largest one-day dog show in the United States history.  The members of the Louisville Kennel Club are dedicated to hosting quality competition events for purebred dogs.