In 1876, the members of the Westminster Club, then primarily a shooting organization, commissioned one of its early officials, George deForest Grant, to send to England for a Pointer which the members could use for breeding purposes.
He received a photograph of a dog named Don which had won his bench championship in England, through show triumphs at Shifnal, Oswestry, Birmingham, Swansea and Llanelly in 1875, and at Newport and Carmarthen in 1876. Impressed with the pictures of the dog as much as with his show record, the members arranged to import him under the name of “Sensation,” Volume IV of the English Kennel Club Stud Book listing him as “Sensation (formerly Don).”
Brought to this country, “Sensation” was promptly registered in the name of the Westminster Kennel Club in Volume I of the stud book of the National American Kennel Club, which subsequently became the American Kennel Club. His entry in that book as Number 1261 shows that he gained his American championship with victories at Baltimore in 1876 and at St. Louis, Boston and Baltimore in 1879. His show career, however, was limited since the primary object in his importation was to strengthen the breeding stock of the club’s members.
A handsome lemon and white dog, with a fine head and especially good body, “Sensation” did much for Pointer breeders in this country. Several artists did pictures of him and one of the head studies appeared on the Westminster catalog in 1878, the second all-breed show given by the club. Except for a gap between 1896 and 1903, “Sensation’s” head appeared on all subsequent catalogues of the Westminster Show through 1935.
In 1935, a steel engraving of “Sensation” was discovered in the collection of prints, engravings and paintings of the well-known sportsman, Harry D. Kirkover, of Camden, South Carolina and New York. He loaned the picture to the Westminster Club to permit its reproduction.
The engraving, by artist J. Wellstood, showed the whole dog, with a light lemon patch on its side, frozen in point. The artist had caught the magnificently bodied dog in marvelous detail. The muscles and even the veins of the legs stood out.
This became the new emblem of the club and appeared on the cover of the show catalog from 1936 through 1979. From 1980-1982, a head study of Sensation was selected once again for the cover, but in 1983 a foil embossed version of the full body engraving appeared on the cover and has been there ever since.