Newcastle upon Tyne was the scene of the first organised dog show in June 1859, prior to which competitions of various sorts had been held in pubs and clubs up and down the country. The Birmingham show held in November 1859 was organised by Mr Richard Brailsford, gamekeeper. An organising committee of eminent gentlemen and sportsmen ensured the show, held in one of the galleries of the Horse and Carriage Repository, Birmingham was a successful event for the 80 or so dogs entered in the 14 classes.
Inspired by the popularity of this show the committee continued to make this an annual event and some of the gentlemen involved to became the founder members of the Kennel Club some 14 years later.
Modern day exhibitors expect very high standards at dog shows – large rings, good layout and facilities. In the early days sawdust was the norm for the floor, the dogs were paraded between the benches and held by stewards while being judged. Lady exhibitors complained if there was too much wet floorcovering because of their flowing skirts; the exhibits were often despatched by rail.