The event was organised for the benefit, somewhat narrowly, of the owners of setters and pointers only, with one ‘best of breed’ award up for grabs for each. There were, we are told, some sixty entries. The Newcastle Courant of 1st July tells us:
This Exhibition took place in the New Corn Market on Wednesday and Thursday last. The new feature of the addition of Sporting Dogs to the show of Poultry was a great attraction, and tended in no slight degree to the success of the meeting. The arrangements were admirably carried out: litters, with proper divisions, round three sides of the spacious building were set apart for the dogs, which were chained and sufficiently protected by barriers from any chance of injuring or alarming the visitors; and in this section the prizes given, two valuable guns, from the manufactory of Mr. Pape, gunmaker, of this town, were probably a sufficient inducement to produce twenty-three entries for Pointers and thirty-seven for Setters, many being from different parts of the kingdom. Among them were some very splendid specimens of their kinds; and certainly on no former occasion was ever witnessed in this town so novel and, to sportsmen, such an interesting exhibition. And it may be remarked, as creditable to the breeders of Sporting Dogs in this district, that the palm for the best Setter was carried off by William Jobling, of Morpeth, that for Pointers being gained by J. Brailsford, Knowsley, Lancashire. Then; were many others which were highly commended by the judges for symmetry of shape and purity of breed, as will be noticed in the judges’ decisions, who, it is presumed, in giving their decisions as to which is the best dog, could only certify to shape, symmetry, and apparent purity of breed; for although a dog may possess all these points, he may not, for want of proper training, scent, or other defects, be the best in the field for the sportsman.
There is no indication that the event translated into an annual affair in Newcastle, but later that same year another show was organised in Birmingham – which itself became a fixture in the calendar. And thence the craze spread worldwide.
But it all began in
More excellent detail here.