AKC Gazette

December 1998




In Oklahoma City this past summer, the 1998 Bulldog Club of America’s national specialty show once again celebrated the club’s proud history, which dates back to 1890.

One of the highlights of the annual week-long event in the BCA Hall of Fame. This marvelous historical exhibit, introduced 35 years ago, has evolved into two entities. One is a unique collection of oil paintings of previous national specialty Best of Breed winners, dating back to the winter of the club’s 55th national specialty in 1949. This part of the display is called the National Gallery of Winners, which also includes paintings of Best of Opposite Sex winners of recent years. Some years ago, engraved plaques recognizing dozens of outstanding breeders, stud dogs and brook bitches were added to the display. The Hall of Fame plaques list breeders and dogs newly inducted each year.

The following article, reprinted from Alice Rosenthal’s Dog News magazine (September 1963), describes how the Bulldog Hall of Fame originated. It was written by the late Nan Burke of San Antonio, Texas.

“Those attending the BCA banquet the night of April 20 in St. Louis were privileged to witness a scene that will be a highlight in Bulldog history for years to come – the unveiling of the Bulldog Club of America Hall of Fame.”

“A year ago {1962}, when the BCA National was held in Indianapolis, Mr. And Mrs. C. L. Savage of West Los Angeles, Calif., offered for Best of Breed an oil painting of the winner. As a sample of the work of the artist, Miss Delores K. Dennis of Los Angeles, they had on display a painting she had done of their Ch. Cockney Gorblimey and one they had made of Dr. and Mrs. E. M. Vardon’s Ch. Vardona Frosty Snowman.”

“The BCA members who saw the paintings were so impressed with the quality of Miss Dennis’ work that they were ready to cooperate with Mrs. Savage’s suggestion made at the banquet. Her idea was that members and the club contribute to the formation of a Bulldog Hall of Fame. All Best of Breed winners since the reorganization of the BCA in 1949 would be represented. Each year the various BCA Divisions would contribute to the cost of the paintings of the Best of Breed winner at each succeeding National show. The paintings would be on display at the dinner and at each BCA National show thereafter.”

“As soon as Mrs. Savage returned home, the letters and contributions began pouring in, so enthusiastic was the response to her idea.”

“During the ensuing year Miss Dennis, who is not (or rather, was not before) a Bulldogger, painted eight pictures. She worked under great difficulty, never having seen any of the dogs nor even color pictures of them. Each owner sent a photograph for her to work from, but they ranged from large prints to blurred snapshots, even show pictures with a hand over part of the dog’s face. But with the help of Mr. and Mrs. Savage, who remembered most of the dogs well, she finished the paintings in time for the St. Louis national specialty.”

“The unveiling of the paintings at the BCA banquet on the night of April 20 {1963} was a very moving experience for everyone, owners of the dogs and spectators alike. The paintings, framed and on easels, were arranged in two rows on a display stand. As Mrs. Savage read the name of each dog, Miss Dennis lifted a cover from the painting. The owner of the dog, or his proxy, went forward and read the plate giving the name of the dog and the name of the owner. Each spectator then lived again with him the trill of that win, the most coveted in Bulldogdom.”

  1. William Andree, 204 S. Beach Dr., Monticello, IN 47960.