The recently resurrected International Kennel Club of Chicago has set the dates for its “revival” show: August 26-27, 2023. The show will return to its roots at Chicago’s expansive McCormick Place Convention Center, where it previously set records as the nation’s largest dog show.
“We’re keeping everything that made this ‘the most colorful dog show in America,’ as a Gazette writer once described it,” says Scott Pfeil, who, with Ken Murray and Erika Wyatt make up the club’s new leadership team. “And then we’re making it even better.”
Among the changes: The show will not be benched.
“Benched shows are part of what drew up to 60,000 spectators to the show in the past, but also kept exhibitors away,” Pfeil continues. “We’ll do it one better and have ways for the public to interact with every breed and see many of them in action. With more than 300,000 square feet at McCormick’s Lakeside Center, we have the space to show off what purebred dogs can do.”
“Our vision is to build on the legacy built by Louis and Seme Auslander,” Wyatt adds, referring to the renowned judge and former head of the IKC and his wife. “We intend to develop a Festival of Purpose-Bred Dogs — a celebration of the purpose-bred dog and its role at humanity’s side.”
Another change: Saturday-night groups will be held in the elegant Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place, with seating for more than 4,000 spectators. Negotiations are taking place for television rights.
The show will include an abundance of educational opportunities and lavish celebrations, as well as prestigious competitions still to be announced.
The International Kennel Club of Chicago, a continuation of the Chicago Kennel Club, founded in 1900, was for decades one of the top shows in America before leaving McCormick Place and finally holding its last show in 2017. The area around McCormick Place has since been revived and is now home to many dog-friendly hotels.
An IKC show is being held in Grayslake, Illinois in February of 2022, but Pfeil and Wyatt stress that the 2022 event is being held to comply with AKC rules and is not the International yet to come, which they intend to restore to its former glory as one of the country’s crown jewels of dog shows.
The club’s new leadership team echoes the sentiment of the late Louis Auslander, who once said: “The International Kennel Club represents our city, and we don’t intend to be second to anybody.”
Photo Credit: Borrowdale Photography