Article written/researched by Vivienne Peterson BA - First published July 2008 - Copyright Protected

This article was published in the American Pomeranian Club Pomeranian Review 50th Anniversary edition March 2009

 

Toon and Thomas’s Pomeranian ‘Sheffield Lad’ shared 2nd place and the $10 prize money with Dr F Cook’s Esquimax in the Miscellaneous Class at the 14th annual Westminster Kennel Club Show on the 22nd February 1894. The winner was Flossie a Maltese Terrier. Mr Toon was from Sheffield in England, where he once exhibited Pomeranians in partnership with Mr Symonds. Toon often entered other breeds of dogs at the Westminster KC Show, sometimes he shipped dogs over from England by steamer to New York so that other people could exhibit his stock.

Sheffield Lad fades out of the show records after 1894 and enters into Pom history as the first named Pomeranian to be shown in America. However, this is not strictly accurate. While researching for this article an earlier entry was discovered. Chubb, a Spitz, was a prize -winner at the Springfield show in 1876.

The Pomeranian and the Spitz Dog were one and the same! In 1878 the 2nd annual show of the Westminster Kennel Club used the standard of points for assessing exhibits as set out in The Dogs of the British Isles by J.H. Walsh (Stonehenge). In this book is a chapter titled The Pomeranian or Spitz Dog. In the American edition of this book titled ‘The dogs of Great Britain, America and other countries’ the same chapter appeared. Walsh used the same illustration in both books and that is Mrs Prosser’s white dog Joe, who was a 1st prize winner at Islington in 1877. In the British edition he is called ‘ a Pomeranian’ and in the American edition ‘a Spitz’.

However, Pomeranians or Spitz dogs were refused entry at the 1878 show!

Vale Nicholas a contributor to the Kennel Encyclopaedia (1907), wrote in the chapter on Pomeranians, that early imports were usually white and had been branded ‘snappish’ and then he makes this extraordinary statement. “ In America the opinion was so deeply rooted that they were prone to develop rabies, that no entries of Pomeranians were accepted at the New York Show for a year or two after 1880.” 

In an article in The New York Times, prior to the 1878 Westminster show, it was noted’ several persons have tried to enter Spitz dogs, but have been refused’.

The entire mad dog scare of old New York is a very complex story and a separate article has been written dealing with this most unhappy era of breed specific persecution. (See article about White Spitz on this website)

By 1888 Pomeranians first ‘became registrable’ with the American Kennel Club. It is little wonder the English name was used and not the more common name of Spitz Dog associated with so much recent adverse publicity. According to Sari Brewster Tietjin the first registered Pom was called ‘Dick’, it is not known if he was ever shown. All eyes must have been on Sheffield Lad when he was exhibited in 1894!

At the Westminster KC Show in 1896 two Pomeranians were exhibited. Michael Dillon’s Pomeranian ‘Wilfang’ was 3rd in Miscellaneous Class 245 for Dogs and Bitches over 25lbs and Mr C Schlicke’s Pomeranian Prince Bismarck gained a 2nd in Miscellaneous Class 246 for Dogs & Bitches under 25lbs. The latter Pom may possibly have been imported from England as a dog of this name was recorded as the sire of the blue & white Harlequin Iky in 1894 and the black & white Nawab also in ’94. After this Prince Bismarck disappears from the records – exported? He was by Snider out of Allegro. Wilfang is sometimes recorded by the name Wolfgang. 

Mrs Hofman writing in the mid-1930s mentions the English Pom Clayton Chieftain was exhibited in Kansas City in 1898. He was a black under 8lb dog by Nubian Sam x Blackie. Nubian Sam was by Nubian King born 1892 and the famous bitch Hiyya, also called Huzza – amazingly even more variations of her name exist. 

In 1896 an English judge called George Roper was selected to judge several breeds at Westminster including Pomeranians. However there is no record of any being exhibited. This may indicate a Class was scheduled for them.

 

THE FIRST SHOW WITH CLASSES FOR POMERANIANS 

At the American Pet Dog Thanksgiving Day Show on December 1st 1899 – nine classes were scheduled for Pomeranians. This is possibly the earliest show providing classes for the breed. At least 18 Poms were present (only the winners are recorded) and classes were provided for blue, black, white, brown and any other colour. There was also a Team class for the best exhibitor of four Poms together. Lakewood Pomeranians gained six 1st places and Swiss Mountain Kennels three 1st places. 

Nubian Rebel newly imported from England by Mrs Smythe of Swiss Mountain Kennel may well have debuted at this show with a first place in Novice Dog – brown. He was born in July 1896 bred by Mr Crang (Nubian Sunny x Nubian Stella) and sold to JJ Holgate who showed him at Cruft’s (the original spelling of the show) and Northampton, placing at both shows. He is weighed less than 8 lbs. Haughty Brownie another import of Mrs Smythe’s (bred by Chris Houlker) won Novice Bitch – brown.

The first annual American Pet Dog Club Show was held May 31st 1893 at the Lenox, Lyceum. The club was formed six years earlier to ‘encourage the breeding of small, or pet dogs to the highest standard of perfection … and to …promote the comfort and welfare of the dogs themselves’. Poms are listed as one of the breeds to be assessed under judge James Mortimer but no show results or names can be found. The AKC suspended the Club in 1900 following complaints of non-payment of prizes from the 1899 show. It looks as though the Ladies Kennel Association of America took over this niche being recognised by the AKC at this time – March 1900.

1900 TO 1901

At the Westminster Kennel Club Show on February 20th 1900 there was at least one class for Pomeranians. Mrs Smythe had entered 32 dogs in the show including Poms (she also showed St Bernards, Spaniels and Skye Terriers). Nubian Rebel won the class with Haughty Brunette in Reserve. It is unclear how many Poms were entered – could be just those two. 

Interestingly, in a New York Times article about this show it explained that Champion classes were now a thing of the past and had been replaced by ‘winner’s prizes’ - called Championship Awards with Reserve Awards being given to the dogs in second place in case the winner was disqualified.

Nubian Rebel next turns up at the First Bench Show of the Ladies Kennel Association December 22nd 1901 at Madison Square Gardens where he won the Alexandra Star (donated by the English LKA) for The Best Toy. He was also Reserve in a competition there for a gold souvenir offered for the ‘Best Specimen judged by Mr Mason’. 

Meanwhile in 1900 Mrs Hartley Williamson formed the American Pomeranian Club along with a fellow enthusiast Mrs Frank Smythe (Swiss Mountain Kennel). Reviews of APC Shows in 1911 and 1915 make it clear that Mrs Williamson was the founder of the Club and Mrs Smythe had always been the President. 

February 1901 The American Kennel Gazette (AKC) recorded 20 Pomeranians and their owners with two more Poms registered in April.

The American Breed Standard of 1916 was the same as the British Standard of 1909. However a comparison of the American 1900 standard and the 1892 UK standard differs in areas. Most noticeable is that black and tan was a permissible colour in the UK and was omitted in the US standard – however, both the US & UK standards mention the correct nose colour for a black and tan. 

My records list 46 AKC registered Pomeranians as of 1901 but a study of the early records will undoubtedly reveal more. 

Examples of Lakewood Poms representing 1901- 1906 era - Lakewood Prim (above left)

below left - Lakewood Feather and below right Lakewood Ladas

1901 To 1910

At the 27th Annual Westminster K.C. Show on February 12th 1903 there were 4 classes for Pomeranians. Limit Dog or Bitch was won by Mrs French’s Ashton Merry Scamp. Open Dog/Bitch (over 8lb) was won by Ocean Prince. Open Dog (not exceeding 8lbs) won again by Ashton Merry Scamp and Open Bitch (not exceeding 8lbs) was won by Mrs Coomb’s Nun Nicer. 2nd in both Limit and Open Dog was Fox Hills Dandy who did a little better later on in 1905 shows.

In December 1905, The Toy Spaniel Club of America held their show at the Waldorf Astoria, it was hailed as a ‘society’ event and noteworthy spectators included Mrs John Jacob Astor (whose husband, along with his Airedale, went down with the Titanic). The Pomeranians made quite an impact and it is reported, ‘as a class attracted more attention than any other exhibits. They were a fine lot and Mrs Reginald Mayhew’s Ch Fox Hills Dandy was 1st in Open, placing over Miss Anna Sands’ Haughty Mix. In the Winner’s class Dandy was first and Fox Hill’s Imp was Reserve.

February 15th 1906 - the Westminster entry was unusually high. Beautiful Billy imported from England in January by Mrs Brookfield won Winner’s Class with Redcroft Darkie (a son of Fox Hills Dandy) owned by Mrs McDonald of Toronto in Reserve - photo left. Endcliffe Fascination, an imported rich brown, five year old bitch continued her European winning streak by placing first in Winner’s Class.

At the Westminster Show February 10th 1909 Dashing Dilly (over 8lb) won Winner’s Class for dogs – quite an achievement as he had only arrived from England on the previous Sunday. Pom Patch Lulu won Winner’s Class for bitches.

In December 1910 the American Pomeranian Club issued a press release announcing the date for their very first show. The article confirms the Club was formed 10 years earlier and mentions Mrs Frank Smythe was the President. Miss Anna Sands, the President of the Ladies Kennel Association of America was on the Bench Committee and C.M. Olgen of E.23 rd St was the Superintendent and Secretary of the forthcoming Show and all enquiries for the forthcoming show were to be directed to him.

At the Westminster Show of 1911 (won by a Scottish Terrier called Tiekle Em Jock purchased for $15 from a butcher at the Leadenhall Meat Market in London) the cup for Best Toy Pomeranian went to Mrs G S Thomas’s Pom Endcliffe Raven, the Best Toy Any Breed Cup went to Mrs F McLane’s Sweet William and Best Team of any Breed of Toy was awarded to Swiss Mt. Kennel’s Banner Nubar & Messenger Boy.

FIRST SPECIALITY SHOW OF THE AMERICAN POMERANIAN CLUB

January 11th 1911 was a very special day for Pom enthusiasts – in the sun-parlour of the Waldorf Astoria, between the hours of 10am-10pm, the first Breed Speciality Show was held. 

There were 262 entries provided by 138 exhibits. A hundred special prizes and ribbons were available for winners. The New York Times wrote a review of this show and commented that many were ‘as tiny as kittens’ and ‘ some of them looked like muffs of soft silken fur, with a little pink nose and two small eyes’. 

Colours noted were – white, sable, black, cinnamon, chocolate, blue, beaver, orange, cream and brown.

The APC had scheduled 62 Classes structured by colour, gender, weight and age. Additionally there was an AKC recorded Champion’s Class for each gender and a Special open for Poms bred in America or Canada. The proviso of ‘AKC recorded’ effectively eliminated incoming British Champs who had yet to gain an American title. A comment was made‘ the fact that a dog is imported does not necessarily mean that it is better that our American-bred dogs’.

This was decidedly a society event and some of America’s top socialites and debutantes were in attendance. Mrs Frederick Vanderbilt and Mrs Ogden Mills had donated cups and were among the spectators who also included, Miss Eleanor Sears, Mrs Earl Dodge, J Sargent Price of Philadelphia, Mrs George Russell Peabody and the indomitable Mrs Stuvesant Fish (who became a regular spectator at their shows).

The judge was Mrs L Dyer (Afon Kennel) who travelled over from her home in north Wales. It was noted that her judging was ‘more severe in her decisions than the American Judges’. In fact early in the show she decided none of the exhibits in some classes were of a good enough standard for a first place blue ribbon ‘in these classes she gave but a second, and in some cases only a third’. The article states ‘This way of judging was somewhat of a surprise to the exhibitors.’

The “upset” started almost immediately with the withholding of 1st place in Class 4 for Open Dog, black. Again in Class 16 – Open Dog or Bitch White – the first place was withheld.

In Class 24 for orange or cream Poms under 8 lb in weight Mrs Allard, whose Ch Tip Toes was favoured to take the ribbon, refused to accept her ribbon for 3 rd place! Apparently Ch Tip Toes had ‘never known defeat’.

below - Example of a small black bred by Miss Chell

Eventually the Best in Show was awarded to the APC Club President Mrs Smythe’s dog Ch Banner Prince Charming who had earlier won Class 32, Open Dog over 5lb but not exceeding 8lbs. He also won Class 39 Champion Dogs for AKC Recorded Champions and of course the Winner’s Class. Prizes included $10 worth of gold donated by debutante Miss Anna Sands. He was 4 years old by Stocksmoor Sprat x Stocksmoor Topsy (English Poms) and it was said his coat was a ‘beautiful texture of coal black hair’.

Miss Sands’ bitch Pom Patch Belper Tossie won both Class 45 Open bitch, black under 8lb and Class 54 – Open bitch, any colour under 5lb. Belper Tossie imported from Miss Chell’s kennel in England was recorded elsewhere as weighing 3lb. Tossie was also a Westminster winner.

Mrs Dyer’s over-view was that the standard was very high but she was very critical of the presentation. She did not approve of their beautiful coats being trimmed so closely behind the ears, and thought this ‘practice is decidedly overdone in this country’. It seems ‘the chances of some exhibits was lessened by bad trimming’.

AMERICAN POMERANIAN CLUB SHOWS 1912 TO 1915

The APC Show went from strength to strength and here is a brief re-cap of the shows until 1915.

1912 – The second APC show was held on January 12th at the Waldorf Astoria. Judge Charles Hopton drew an entry of 350 from 172 exhibits, there were 71 Classes and 150 Special awards. His choice for Best in Show was Mrs William Caner Wiedersheim of Philadelphia’s Offley Kew Marco. He was described as a ‘beautiful type of the breed’ and weighed 3lbs. His counterpart was the diminutive black Pom Patch Belper Tossie, another 3lb Pom. Reserve Best Dog was Mrs Kirkland’s Pomeria Woolly Fly, a heavily coated wolf sable whose photo appears in Miss Ives’ book. Mrs Avis’ Dainty Mite was Best Puppy.

Offley Kew Marco was bred in England by Mrs Norris, he was born May 1908 and was black in colour. He was by Malwood Marco x Kew Pearl and had placed at several English shows in 1909. Belper Tossie won Open Bitch at Cruft’s that year. She was born May 08 and was by Tufnell Nero and Miss Chell’s Belper Lulu.

Note - Mrs Byron Hofman mentioned in a book that Mrs Hebden founded the Western Pomeranian Club in Chicago in 1912. 

1913- the third APC show was held on January 10 th at the Astor Gallery, Waldorf Astoria. The judge was Reuben Clarke from England. There were 400 entries from 154 Poms & 125 classes. Club President Mrs Smythe entered 30 of her Pomeranians including her newly imported 3 & 1/2lb orange Banner Admiral (previously called Afon Ginger and bred by former APC show Judge Mrs Dyer) and Banner Rose. Lakewood Sprite a Ch Dragonfly son did well at the show. Banner Admiral was the Best in Show with Mrs F Clarke’s Ch Ashton Wee Oliver, a heavy coated black in Reserve place. The BOS was Mrs A. de B Keim’s Ch Little Sally Lynd who was proudly announced to be American bred!

1914- the fourth APC Show was held on January 30th 1914 at the Waldorf Astoria.

The judge from England was Midgley Marsden and he enjoyed a record entry of 174 Poms. The BIS was the Club President’s surprise entry Young Gold Speck (photo right). For the second year in a row she had imported a dog from England that was unseen prior to this show, hence the surprise! He was hailed as ‘an unknown orange dog to the American kennel world’. 

It was noted that Mrs Otto Lehman of Chicago did a lot of winning with an American bred dog including a victory over Miss Theodora Wilbur’s Hartfield Young Girl, imported from England at a cost of $1250.

Mr Marsden had lots to say about the exhibits. The black bitches were superior to the males who were only moderate. The winning chocolate was of good sound colour but a bit low in front & had an absence of shadings. The sable dogs were a disappointment to him. He declared it ‘was doubtful he had seen more than three dogs (in England) as good as those shown in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria’. He looked for a short, cobby, smart stationed dog, with fox-like ears and head, carried high on the skull. 

A comment made was – ‘heretofore, judges have pronounced in favor of the “blocky” type which carries with height a heavy bone, and chow-like formation of the muzzle.’

Quirks of this show were Class 69 for Actresses only and Class 70 Open Dog for those owned on the Island of Manhattan, Champions barred!

A point was made of great anticipation for the Blue Classes ‘heretofore been very rare’. Note – this is an odd comment bearing in mind Blue Classes were scheduled in 1899 (American Pet Dog Show).

Of great interest to those who study breed origins were the exhibits from the Royal Kennels of Queen Margherita in Rome, Italy. Mr George Ford of New Haven, Connecticut, had acquired Tulipiano, Violetta, Bello, Bianco and Bambino Caesar from the Queen. The Queen herself had entered a brace at the show. Also bred by the Queen and owned by Miss Maben was Piccina, ‘an exceedingly small orange’. It is very possible that these ‘Poms’ were in fact Volpino also called Italian Spitz, Italian Pomeranian or Florentine Spitz. In 1912 at the Toy Spaniel Club show (other small breeds had classes) Mr Henry Furst was 2nd in Puppy Dog with Florentine Luppetto. Perhaps a clue!

1914- the fourth APC Show was held on January 30th 1914 at the Waldorf Astoria.

The judge from England was Midgley Marsden and he enjoyed a record entry of 174 Poms. The BIS was the Club President’s surprise entry Young Gold Speck (photo right). For the second year in a row she had imported a dog from England that was unseen prior to this show, hence the surprise! He was hailed as ‘an unknown orange dog to the American kennel world’. 

It was noted that Mrs Otto Lehman of Chicago did a lot of winning with an American bred dog including a victory over Miss Theodora Wilbur’s Hartfield Young Girl, imported from England at a cost of $1250.

Mr Marsden had lots to say about the exhibits. The black bitches were superior to the males who were only moderate. The winning chocolate was of good sound colour but a bit low in front & had an absence of shadings. The sable dogs were a disappointment to him. He declared it ‘was doubtful he had seen more than three dogs (in England) as good as those shown in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria’. He looked for a short, cobby, smart stationed dog, with fox-like ears and head, carried high on the skull. 

A comment made was – ‘heretofore, judges have pronounced in favor of the “blocky” type which carries with height a heavy bone, and chow-like formation of the muzzle.’

1914- the fourth APC Show was held on January 30th 1914 at the Waldorf Astoria.

The judge from England was Midgley Marsden and he enjoyed a record entry of 174 Poms. The BIS was the Club President’s surprise entry Young Gold Speck (photo right). For the second year in a row she had imported a dog from England that was unseen prior to this show, hence the surprise! He was hailed as ‘an unknown orange dog to the American kennel world’. 

It was noted that Mrs Otto Lehman of Chicago did a lot of winning with an American bred dog including a victory over Miss Theodora Wilbur’s Hartfield Young Girl, imported from England at a cost of $1250.

Mr Marsden had lots to say about the exhibits. The black bitches were superior to the males who were only moderate. The winning chocolate was of good sound colour but a bit low in front & had an absence of shadings. The sable dogs were a disappointment to him. He declared it ‘was doubtful he had seen more than three dogs (in England) as good as those shown in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria’. He looked for a short, cobby, smart stationed dog, with fox-like ears and head, carried high on the skull. 

A comment made was – ‘heretofore, judges have pronounced in favor of the “blocky” type which carries with height a heavy bone, and chow-like formation of the muzzle.’

Apparently, Mrs Smythe had entered 60 dogs. With this victory, after 20 years of effort, she had ‘at last succeeded in making the orange the popular color.’ 

1915- the fifth APC show was held on January 25th at The Plaza Hotel. The judge for the day was American, Vinton P Breeze. The BIS was a 5year old wolf sable called Ch St Julien. There was much talk of the numerous entries from England! An article reported, ‘ the invaders are nearly all dogs with winning careers back of them in England’. Mrs Langton Dennis sent over Offley Nightshade to be shown on her behalf and Mrs Dyer ( Afon) and Mrs Carlin ( Eastney) actually came over in person to show their dogs! Mrs Carlin brought over 10 Poms and Mrs Dyer entered 2. It was noted that 35 Poms had come up from the Philadelphia area and kennels such as Wellesbourne, Devon and Narod were well represented.

However, the big news was the sensational title on Jan 26th in the New York Times article reviewing the show entitled ‘Sprayed Dogs Did Not Fool The Judge’. With a further tease of – Fictitious Silky Lustre got English Pomeranian Pets Nothing in Plaza Show!

Apparently it was noted the English dogs were always late in the ring and further investigation showed female exhibitors and owners tucked away in corners ‘ spraying their pets with some sort of a preparation from atomisers in order that the coats of the animals might have a fictitious silky lustre’. The article goes on to say’ it was common practise abroad, though not indulged in at shows in this country where the ring preparation is confined to the brisk of a brush’. It concludes by saying it was all for nothing with ‘ little chance of its adoption after the fiasco yesterday’.

The summary stated American owners had ‘caught the trick of sending their dogs to the ring in perfect show condition – and were – as good as anything in England at the present time’. Adding, ‘this is no great credit to American breeders, however, as nearly all of the winners in the top classes were imported animals.’

1915 – FIRST MATCH SHOW FOR THE AMERICAN POMERANIAN CLUB

This event was held on October 28th at the Winter Garden roof of the McAlpin Hotel in New York. The Judge was Mrs Edith Barry who had recently moved to the States from England and this was her first American judging appointment. There were a large number of entries. 

Mrs Marion Kennedy’s Pomeria Wasp was the best exhibit of the show. Wasp was a sable in colour and had a ‘coat of beauty’.

Wasp’s placing over another English bred exhibit Mrs Allard’s Offley Mite Sunflower was said to be a ‘surprise’. Both poms had won Championships in England with Sunflower a winner of three. Mrs Allard had bought Sunflower from Mrs McKenna –Pultz, who had paid $1200 for this Pom. 

 

Information sourced from the incredible archives of the New York Times, the Stud Books of the Kennel Club, the AKC website, other Archives, old adverts, Denlingerand personal notes from a variety of primary sources.

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