William Lewis Judy

We share below an interesting insight into the history of the Boston Terrier as it was viewed in 1925. The following comes from the Dog Encyclopedia by William Lewis Judy (more on Mr. Judy a bit later):

“The breed had about two decades of uncertainty. Some sought to make it a subsidiary of the bulldog, naming it the roundheaded bulldog; others favored the terrier type. In fact, in 1891, the fancier of the dog applied to the American Kennel Club for membership as the American Bull-Terrier Club. To avoid conflict with the old bullterrier club, the name was changed to Boston Terrier Club.

“The development at first was a see-saw between the bulldog and the bullterrier types. As late as 1894 registrations were sought altho [sic] the sire was a bulldog. Some had rose ears. The classification by weight was above 20 pounds. The rose ear has given way to the cropt [sic] ear and the show straight tail to the screw tail. “

Of William Lewis Judy, author Lisa Begin-Kruysman wrote in Will Judy: Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher: “Judy was many things to many people in his lifetime, but his role as a social reformer, who used the power of the pen to make the world a better place for dogs, and their guardians in every conceivable way, may be his greatest legacy.”

Captain “Will” Judy, a veteran of World War I and an ordained minister, devoted his life to educating Americans about dogs, and specifically, about the transcendent connection between human and dog.  A prolific writer (sometimes he wrote under the pseudonym, “Weimer Port”), and publisher of the magazine, “Dog World, Judy established National Dog Week in 1928, nearly 75 years before someone thought to reinvent the wheel by establishing National Dog Day in 2004.

Judy used his reach wisely not only by encouraging his readers to be kind to dogs, but by educating them to the use of therapy and service dogs, as well, both unheard of concepts for their day. Along with writer, Albert Payson Terhune, and trainer, Blanche Saunders, Judy was at the forefront of ushering in an era that had people looking at their dogs differently than they had before.

Inside his book, Don’t Call a Man a Dog (or Will Judy’s Scrap Book on Dogs),” Judy included the Kleenex worthy, “Why the World Likes Dogs.” Read aloud it to your dog, and try not to choke up:

“The most unselfish living thing in the world is your dog. If you are in danger, your dog needs only to hear your cry of distress to rush to your aid, without thought of his own life, fearless of guns or enemies.

“The most patient thing in the world is your dog, waiting for hours at the top of the stairs to hear the sound of your footsteps, never complaining however late you may be.

“The most grateful thing in the world is your dog. Whatever you give him, whatever you do for him, he never is guilty of ingratitude. To him you are the most powerful personage in the world and beyond censure; you are your dog’s god; you can do no wrong.

“The most friendly thing in the world is your dog. Of all the animal kingdom, he alone serves man without whip, without compulsion, glad to be by the side of his master wherever he may be, whatever he may do, and sad in heart when his master is away.

“The most forgiving thing in the world is your dog. The one virtue most humans lack is that of forgiveness. But your dog carries no grudge and no spite. Punish him even undeservedly, and he comes to you, nudges his moist nose into your hand, looks up at you with pleading eyes, and wags his tail hesitatingly as tho to say, ‘Oh, come on, let’s be pals again.’

“The most loyal thing in the world is your dog. Whether you come home from Congress or from jail, whether you have lost your fortune or made a million, whether you return home dressed in fashion’s heights or in rags, whether you have been hailed as a hero or condemned as a criminal, your dog is waiting for you with a welcome bark of delight, a wagging tail and a heart that knows no guile.

“The world likes dogs because dogs are nearest to moral perfection of all living things.”

By the late 1940s, Captain William Lewis Judy was a true pioneer in the dog world. One could not begrudge the wealth he had accumulated (probably from making Dog World one of the largest and most successful trade publications in pet publishing history) because he was the man who wrote: “The dog is the only true love money can buy.”

In his day, there were no standards in dog breeding. This didn’t sit well with Judy who would not allow “low ball” prices on stud fees and puppy sales in the magazine’s classified advertising section, and so he established a minimum price for both. He stressed the importance of obedience training early in a pup’s life, and reminded breeders that the point of breeding wasn’t a sale, but about selling well trained dogs to educated dog owners.

Nor was he a stranger to the dog fancy.  Judy often wrote about his adventures during his 28,000 mile dog show circuit around the world, and his homey style of writing brought readers closer to understanding the show world, even as they learned that Judy’s adult beverage of choice was, “bourbon straight, a three ounce portion-no ice.” For good measure, he helped form the Dog Writer’s Association of America.

Judy died at the age of 82 in 1973. To learn more about this remarkable man, you can do no better than to read Lisa Begin-Kruysman’s, “National Dog Week Blog which shares her careful research on the history of National Dog Week.”

Image: Photo of Hot Spot Molly Polly Wiggle of Dalkey by Teri Peterson
Perren Dog Photography


2 thoughts on “William Lewis Judy”

  1. I have a collection of dog care and training books, including five Will Judy items. (“Training the Dog” 1934 and 1953 editions, the “Dog Scrapbook,” “Kennel Building Plans,” and “Dog Sentiment Postcards”) I’m so glad to see this article, as I’ve always wondered about him. I will definitely read the Begin-Kruysman book!

    • We think you’re lucky, Karen, to have these gems. Judy sounded like a remarkable man, and we wonder what he would make of today’s climate of dog ownership….

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