The Fredericksburg Dog Mart is descendent from an event that was established in 1698 to facilitate trade between the Pamunkey Indians and the settlers of what would become Fredericksburg. The Indians would trade their produce and furs for the English hunting dogs the settlers raised. The annual event continued until the start of the Revolutionary War.
The Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce brought back the Dog Mart in 1927 and it again became an annual event. In those days the Dog Mart was scheduled for October each year to coincide with the beginning of hunting season in the area. This provided hunters with the opportunity to purchase hunting dogs. At that time the event began to gain nation-wide attention. It was the subject of a Pathe Newsreel feature in 1928 and Time magazine featured the Dog Mart in an article in October 1937. In 1938, 7,000 people and 641 dogs attended the event.
After a suspension of the Dog Mart during World War II, the event was once again revived in 1948 by the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce under the auspices of the local chapter of the Izaak Walton League, a conservation-oriented organization. The Dog Mart was held at the Maury School stadium in Fredericksburg. A delegation of 100 Pamunkey Indians from their reservation in nearby King William County and led by Chief T.D. Cook, attended the 1949 Dog Mart. At the event in October 1949, an estimated 15,000 spectators and participants from 30 states, Canada, Mexico, and England attended. In 1951, National Geographic Magazine published a 16-page article about the Dog Mart in the June issue.
The event was moved to the Izaak Walton League Fredericksburg-Rappahannock Chapter site on Herndon Road in Spotsylvania County in the 1970's where it continues to the present day.
This year's Fredericksburg Dog Mart continues the tradition and is planned, as it is now for every year, on the last Saturday of September (this year to be held on Saturday, September 29, 2018).
Please join us for the oldest dog event in the country!