© Dareen A. Bridge
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Typical early Rough and Smooth Collies
he success of Prince
Albert’s ‘Great Exhibition’
of 1851 made all types of
display an acceptable form of
entertainment in the days of Queen Victoria
By 1861 the Industrial Revolution was well advanced, and with it the country acquired a new social class of Industrial Entrepreneurs largely based in the North and Midlands. Their wealth giving family members the time for leisure, but without either the education, or social contacts to make them acceptable to the established middle classes. Many had backgrounds in animal husbandry, which could successfully be applied to the canine fancy where entrenched social values did not matter. A ready supply of cheap manual labour, and easy travel afforded by this country’s already comprehensive railway network all contributing to the advance of this new interest.
Never has private enterprise been valued to the extent it was during the Victorian Era, and dog shows were no exception to this rule. All the early shows were organised by either private individuals or companies with canine associations, profit being the guiding motive, although few appear to have fulfilled their promise on this account.