Westminster Winners: Lyndhurst’s Gould Family and Their Show Dogs
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second-oldest continuously held sporting event in America after the Kentucky Derby. The first show in 1877 held in Manhattan at Gilmore’s Garden drew more than 1,200 dogs over four days. As many as 8,000 spectators per day attended the dog show to watch setters, spaniels, pointers, and a variety of purebred dogs compete for prizes. By 1904, a Best in Show award was added and today the winner of this prize is crowned America’s Dog. Since the dog show’s inception, it has always been held in New York City, and for the last 100 years at Madison Square Garden.
In 2021, the 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be held on June 11-13 at Lyndhurst, a National Trust Historic Site in Tarrytown, New York. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the dog show was moved from its traditional winter date indoors in New York City to an outdoor venue this spring. Lyndhurst was chosen as the site due to its own rich history of dog shows held on the 67-acre park-like grounds for more than three decades from 1973 to 2008.
But did you know that one of the most famous owners of Lyndhurst, railroad tycoon and financier Jay Gould, had children and grandchildren who were avid dog people with deep connections to the Westminster Kennel Club? Read on to see how over the years Gould’s sons, Frank, George, Howard, daughter-in-law Katherine Clemmons Gould, and grandson Jay Gould II engaged with the Westminster dog show as owners, breeders, exhibitors, and judges.
Frank J. Gould’s St. Bernards at Lyndhurst
Youngest brother Frank J. Gould—born in 1877, the same year as the inaugural Westminster Kennel Club Bench Show of Dogs—became an fancier of rough-and smooth-coated St. Bernards. Frank’s first appearance at Westminster was in 1897 as a trophy sponsor for Best St. Bernard Puppy. In 1898, Frank began to purchase St. Bernards from England to be housed at a new kennel building—which still stands today—that his sister Helen Gould built for him on the grounds of Lyndhurst.
St. Bernards named Le Prince, La Queen, Presto, Le Princess, Santa Monica, and Laura Jean began to fill the kennel cottage. This two-story shingle style structure had every canine luxury with a washroom and spacious stalls filled with straw beds for each dog on the ground floor. Upstairs were quarters for Frank’s kennel master Walter Johnston, who came from England to care for the dogs and take them to dog shows around the country—including Westminster.
At the 1899 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show one of his imported females, Marvelcroft, won first prize in her limit and open classes. His dog Chantrel Prince, known as “the pride of Lyndhurst,” received honorable mentions in his limit and open classes. By September Frank’s first litter was born at Lyndhurst when Marvelcroft whelped five puppies. Soon his breeding program was on its way producing St. Bernards named Lyndhurst Joy, Lyndhurst Choice, Lyndhurst Beauty, and Lyndhurst Helen, named after his sister.
At Westminster in February 1901, Frank has no less than 10 entries including rough-coated St. Bernards Lyndhurst Choice and Lyndhurst Joy. Littermates Our Bobs and Coquette II out of Marvelcroft’s first litter debuted in the puppy classes. His smooth-coated dog Baron Sundridge won winner’s dog in what would become his most successful year at Westminster.
However, all this changed in December 1901 when young Frank married his first wife. Two months later at Westminster in 1902 Frank listed most of his entries for sale, including his prized female Marvelcroft. That same year, his sister Helen Gould announced to the press that she was turning Frank’s kennel building on the estate into a cooking school to provide skill building to young girls in need.
Howard J. Gould’s Old English Sheepdogs and Irish Terriers
After Frank’s departure from the dog show world, brothers George and Howard Gould, along with their family members, continued to bring dogs to Westminster well into the 20th century. Howard Gould was a famous breeder of Old English Sheepdogs and Irish Terriers. His Castlegould Kennels in Port Washington, Long Island, New York, earned many awards and prizes over the years.
In 1902 at the 25th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Howard Gould entered 11 Old English Sheepdogs including Robin Adair who won first prize in the limit and open classes. The press remarked on his success at another dog show, writing, “A feature of the day was the exhibition of Howard Gould’s old English sheep dogs a breed fast becoming fashionable in the country...Robin Adair one of the most popular dogs in the show, won the special cup for the best dog in the winner’s class.”
At Westminster in 1911, Howard Gould’s Castlegould Wallaby was a multiple prize-winning Irish Terrier. In 1912, Irish Terriers Castlegould Barmaid and Harlem Rosaleen were entered. Howard was listed as the owner/breeder of four Irish Terriers all out of his famous sire Castlegould Wallaby, to different mothers: Castlegould Muddler, Castlegould Bentick, Castlegould Bender, and Castlegould Maureen.
According to the Westminster Kennel Club catalogs, Howard Gould's wife, Katherine Clemmons Gould was a noted owner of black Pugs. She offered trophies for many years for Best Black Pug and entered quite a few of her own dogs. In 1901, Katherine took a sweep of the Pug trophies, winning her own Best Black Pug Cup with Black Knight; second-prize of $10 for Best Pug Bitch; and third-prize of $20 and a medal for Best Pug.
George J. Gould’s Pointers and Retrievers
George established his Furlough kennels of Pointers and Retrievers in High Point, North Carolina, and was very active in field trials with his sons Kingdon and Jay. In 1909 at Westminster, George had two Pointers entered and both were prize winners. In 1910, his Pointer Furlough Duster and his Russian Wolfhound Richmond Jock both won third prize in their limit classes.
The 1914 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was a banner year for the Gould family. George and his son Jay Gould II had 16 Pointers entered, while his son Kingdon Gould, Esq. offered a trophy for the “Best Pointer having started in the Virginia-Carolina field trials of 1913.” George was listed as the breeder/owner of Furlough Jayo, Furlough Bronco, Furlough Quail, Furlough Jim, Furlough Perrier, and Furlough Wasp. His team of four pointers placed first. In English Setters, George entered Arundel Cautious, and his sons Kingdon and Jay entered Tricky Maid and Orphan Boy of “unknown pedigree” in the class “Field Class for Dogs and Bitches that have been placed at a recognized field trial.” Tricky Maid won the class and Orphan Boy was reserve.
Second-Generation Gould Fancier Judges at Westminster
On Monday, Feb. 22, 1915, second-generation dog breeder Jay Gould II, son of George J. Gould, was asked to judge at Westminster. He judged Pointers and Wirehaired Pointing Griffons at his first, and only, Westminster assignment. As a leader in the Pointer Club of America (PCA), he drew a sizable entry of 46 Pointers and 10 Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.
Beyond his success in dog shows, Jay was an accomplished athlete in the tennis world. He held the U.S. Amateur Champion title continuously from 1906-1925 (except for the World War I years), the World Champion title from 1914-1916, and was an Olympic gold medalist in 1908.
With its rich history of purebred dogs between the Goulds and as host to decades of dog shows in the 20th century, Lyndhurst became the ideal location to hold the iconic Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2021. When Lyndhurst opens to the public again, visitors can stroll the grounds near Frank Gould’s kennel cottage and imagine the gentle St. Bernards on their daily walk, or visit the mansion and see a small dog crate where Anna Gould’s beloved Pekingese once slept.
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Although there will be no spectators at the dog show this year due to New York State attendance restrictions, all dog lovers can enjoy the Westminster Weekend events, including the dog show, the 8th Annual Masters Agility Championship, and the 6th Annual Masters Obedience Championship via live streaming and live television.
Lisa N. Peterson, a public relations consultant to the Westminster Kennel Club, blogs about history, horses, and hounds at lisaunleashed.com, is a dog show judge, and a lifelong equestrian. Twitter: @LisaNPeterson