Wednesday, May 20, 2009


The dog world has lost one of its grand dames. Mary Josephine Deubler VMD PhD died in her sleep Sunday. Dr. Deubler had been in the dog game for over 70 years. We will repeat that, over 70 years.

M. Josephine Deubler DVM

Dr. Deubler began her show career in 1938 with a Dandie Dinmont Terrier. 1938 was also the year she was graduated from the Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the first woman ever to do so. Josephine would accomplish many other firsts in her long life of service to the dog fancy. She was the first female PhD at UPSVM, the first female member of the PA Veterinary Medicine Association, and the first vet to judge BIS at Westminster (1998). She was a member of the faculty at UPSVM for almost 50 years, retiring from there in 1987. In recognition of her many contributions to veterinary medicine, the University named the Josephine Deubler Genetic Disease Testing Laboratory in her honor.

Josephine's 1938 UPSVM Yearbook Photo

Dr. Deubler became an AKC licensed judge in 1962 and was the show chairman of the venerable Terrier institution, the Montgomery County Kennel, since 1977. She also served as the show chairman of the Bucks County (PA) Kennel Club since 1969. She retired her judges book after doing the Hound Group at the Kennel Club of Philadelphia in 2000. In 2003 the AKC recognized Josephine with their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Josephine & Walter Goodman,
President, Montgomery County Kennel Club

Josephine experienced profound hearing loss as a toddler, a circumstance she believed gave her a special bond with animals. In an interview with the New York Times in 1998, she said, ''Animals were always my friends. I got along with animals better than people. The animals could communicate with body language, tail wagging. I could hear the little noises they made; I could hear noises quite well. It was just when people spoke I couldn't hear what they were saying.'' Though she wore hearing aids in later years, she achieved most of her academic successes in the days before that technology was available. Josephine also believed her veterinary training influenced her judging, saying she judged by “The Basics”. ''Bones, teeth, anatomy, anything that's under the hair, that's a basic.''

It was her wish that gifts in her memory be made to the Josephine Deubler Scholarship Fund at Penn's Vet School, 3800 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104.


  1. What an amazing woman. RIP Josephine. My thoughts are with her family and friends. What a loss for the dog show community.

  2. Thank you for writing this wonderful tribute. She will live on in many peoples thoughts, lives she touched, communities she influenced, and things she was responsible for implementing and staking new ground in. What an amazing person - the world needs more people of her intelligence and courage. I wish that I had the opportunity to have known her personally.

  3. I was lucky enough to marry a Deubler and meet josie in her prime. She taught me about the breed called Rhodesian Ridgeback, and also a bit about judging: in Springfield, OH many years ago, she gave me several blue ribbons that "no dog here deserved to win - just keep 'em"
    RIP. Josie
    Alan Sheppard, Columbus. OH

  4. I was a student at Penn Vet during Dr. Duebler's retirement; she still had an office and regularly made appearances in the school. While hard of hearing, she was not hard of speaking and she did often mention her Dandie Dinmonts! She was truly inspirational.

    One comment regarding your post - it's "veterinary medicine," not "veterinarian medicine," as in University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

    :) RIP Dr. D!

  5. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia Dog Shows, with which Dr. Duebler was closely associated for many years, will take place November 14 & 15 2009 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks, PA. All info here: