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Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Veterinarian who Judged Best In Show at the Westminster

By Donald F. Smith, DVM, Cornell University
Posted February 13, 2011

This historical blog is in recognition of the 150th anniversary 
of the American Veterinary Medical Association (1863-2013).

In 1938, Josephine Deubler was the first woman veterinary graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Sixty years later, she was the first veterinarian to judge Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club at Madison Square Garden.

Dr. Josephine Deubler
Photo from Univ Penn

A lover of animals and raised in a family of veterinarians―including her father, brother, uncle and two cousinsit was only natural that she would also seek a veterinary degree. However, it was not that simple during the 1930s as fewer than 40 women had graduated from veterinary colleges in the U.S., and none had graduated from Penn. In addition, she had a serious hearing impairment.

Dr. Deubler not only earned her V.M.D., but stayed at the University of Pennsylvania and received her PhD degree in 1944. She was the first woman on the veterinary school’s faculty and spent her entire professional career teaching and doing research.

"Jo", as she was affectionately known in the dog world, bred and raised Dandie Dinmont Terriers. Licensed as an American Kennel Club judge in 1962, she worked her way up the judging circuit reaching its acme at the Garden in February 1998. She selected a Norwich Terrier as the winner.

Though she officially retired in 1987,  Dr. Deubler remained active in veterinary and dog fancier circles until her death two years ago at age 92.

Despite the many veterinary tributes which were bestowed upon her, Dr. Deubler considers her greatest honor being selected to judge Best In Show at the Garden.

Dr. Smith invites comments at