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Dog breeding became a popular, fashionable past- time in  England in the late 19th century. The first modern conformation dog show was held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in June 1859, and the only breeds scheduled were pointers and setters. This trend continued and extended throughout the Commonwealth. 
The Dog Competition was first held at the Royal Melbourne Show by the Department of Agriculture in 1874 when 213 dogs were entered.
The 1928 Royal Melbourne Show was the first time that the dog section was conducted under the rules of the Canine Control Council (which developed into the Australian National Kennel Club).  This attracted 801 exhibits to the Show, which was a record at the time.