In the late 1800s, when Canada was in its infancy as a country, a strong interest in purebred dogs and dog shows began to take root. Initially, enthusiasts utilized the American Kennel Club registry and rules for events that took place in parts of Manitoba, Southern Ontario, Montreal and Saint John. However, by 1887 it became obvious to Canadian dog fanciers that a national registry and regulatory body were needed and the following year, in London Ontario, the Canadian Kennel Club was born.
First Steps, Then Off and Running
The CKC was created with a goal to promote the breeding and exhibiting of “thoroughbred” dogs in Canada. Also to formulate rules for the governing of dog shows, to recommend suitable judges, and to open a registry for purebred dogs. Richard Gibson of Delaware, Ontario was chosen President and C. A. Stone of London was the Secretary. Two of the Vice-Presidents came from Quebec and one from Winnipeg.
In the first year membership quickly rose from just 14 members to 70, and purebred dog registrations reached 350. By 1891, registrations were up to 847, five new breed clubs were formed and successful shows were held in Montreal, Kingston, Ottawa, Toronto, and Hamilton.
In 1889 the first Field Trial utilizing Canadian Kennel Club rules was held near Chatham, Ontario. There were a total of 23 entries, several of which were AKC members from Michigan. Also, in 1889, the CKC created its own official publication, The Kennel Gazette, which later became known as Kennel and Bench and still exists today as an online publication available to members on this website.
Canadian Dogs Thriving
In 1903, as a testimony to the growing interest in the sport, the first Canadian dog show that counted 1000 entries was held in Toronto. The largest numbers came from the Boston Terrier, Fox Terrier and Irish Terrier breeds, while St. Bernards, Bloodhounds, Great Danes, Russian Wolfhounds, English Pointers, English Setters, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Bulldogs, Bull Terriers and Toy Spaniels were also prominently featured.
That same year reorganization of the Club brought it closer to its current form, with a board representative from each province, and a short time later the CKC was incorporated under the Live Stock Pedigree Act (later known as the Animal Pedigree Act), which provides the foundation and structure for the CKC’s registry of purebred dogs in Canada.