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John Ashbey Collection of Dog Show Photography

Identifier: AKV-1-2

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of negatives of all win shots taken by John Ashbey between 1980 and 2002 (plus the German Shepherd Dog Club of America show in 2003). Show coverage is chiefly in the northeastern region of the United States, particularly the states of New York and Massachusetts, and includes the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Montgomery County Kennel Club all-terrier dog show, AKC Classic, and AKC Centennial of 1984 as well as numerous parent club specialties and all-breed shows (including Ashbey's personal favorites Bucks, Trenton, Devon, Westchester, Philadelphia, and Old Dominion).

Images include Best-in-Show and Group winners from all-breed shows; all Breed, Group, and Best-in-Show winners from Westminster; all Winners Dog and Bitch, Best-of-Opposite, and Best-of-Breed winners from specialty shows, plus all breed and Best-in-Show winners from Montgomery Kennel Club and the American Spaniel Club.

Inventories of the shows documented are available for the years 1980 to 2001, but should provide a fairly accurate representation of what is available for prior years. Please consult the archivist for further details.


  • 1974-2003
  • Majority of material found in 1980-2002


Conditions Governing Access

This material is open to research without restrictions, but requires advanced notice of 5 business days with a box recall limit of six.

Production of scanned digital files may incur service fees.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for these materials is held by the American Kennel Club. Please direct all inquiries regarding digital copies and/or permissions to the Archivist.

Biographical note

"For half a century, John Ashbey has been behind the lens at America's most pretigious shows, wrote the AKC Gazette in 2008, "Like Rolex and Mercedes, John Ashbey's name has become synonymous with quality."

John Ashbey (b. 1944) was raised in the world of dogdom during its golden era. His father Frank served as kennel manager at Arlock Acres for Collies, and on weekends travelled shows all over New England with the family in tow, which only escalated when he quit his job to become an all-breed handler. His sons John and David would perform basic grooming, carry water, and sometimes escort the dogs into the ring for him, and eventually developed interests in photography after befriending reknowned East coast show photographers William Brown and Evelyn Shafer. They were interrupted in their intents to study under the tutelage of these vets to work for the U.S. Navy. From 1963 to 1967 John photographed pilot missions in North Vietnam. Following his tour of duty, he began apprenticing under William Gilbert, who had taken over Brown's business following his death in 1963.

It was Ashbey however that taught Gilbert the principles of color photography, moving the dog scene out of its strictly black-and-white world. He officially took over Shafer's business in 1976, shooting that year's Westminster Kennel Club dog show under her name, he subsequently and still remains its official photographer. Together with his team, including brother David, he shoots approximately 200 shows a year across the East Coast of the United States.

Physical Description

140 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The John Ashbey collection of dog show photography contains win shots photographed by John Ashbey between the years of 1974 and 2003 [bulk: 1980 to 2002] at all-breed and specialty shows chiefly in the northeastern region of the United States, including Westminster Kennel Club, Montgomery County Kennel Club, and the AKC's own Centennial and Classic events.


The collection was donated by John L. Ashbey in 2009.

Related Materials

The AKC also holds negative collections of win shots photographed by William Gilbert (1979-1984); Tina Yuhl (1975-2002); and Luis Sosa (1991-2002).



Guide to John Ashbey Collection of Dog Show Photography
In Progress
Brynn White
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the American Kennel Club Library & Archives Repository

101 Park Ave
FL 5
New York NEW YORK 10178 United States