Any dog lover who has watched the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on TV or viewed one of their programs is familiar with their logo. The dog is a Pointer named Sensation, and was the pride and joy of the kennel club in the organization’s early years. Sensation’s rise to fame began across the pond in England. But why was this particular dog deemed worthy of being immortalized on the club’s logo?
By the late 1800s, New York City was well on its way to becoming the second largest city in the world with around 3.5 million people. The city provided well-to-do citizens with concerts, museums, business opportunities, fine shopping and dining establishments that many poorer residents were excluded from. The Westminster Hotel in Manhattan (which is no longer standing), was a popular place for high society. It was also a favorite hangout for a group of wealthy sporting gentlemen. They met regularly in the hotel’s bar, drinking and telling stories about the abilities of their gun dogs, and bragging about their skill and accomplishments with guns.
During one gathering in 1876, the men decided it would be nice to form a club and have a place where they could kennel their dogs and have a training area. Needing a name for their new club, Westminster was the unanimous choice. The newly formed club purchased land for their kennel and training area, and hired a trainer.