Australia's 145 years of Dog Registration

Australia's Coat of ArmsAustralia's Coat of Arms

Having dealt with Victoria, this is the other Australian State and Territory's separate journey to independence. Today, each State and Territory deals with Government Laws which relate to dog ownership. Domestically it arranges Dog Shows and the other disciplines. However, the processes governing Registrations and Breed Standards are in the hands of the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) which also co-ordinates the Stud Book that Australia never had.

Enjoy pictures of our unique Australian animals while we travel through this history.

DogsWest (Western Australia)

Grand Champion Field Spaniel 'Bonny Union Jack' born 1905Grand Champion Field Spaniel 'Bonny Union Jack' born 1905

It is reported in an 1898 'West Australian' newspaper that a particular Airedale Terrier won a First Prize at the Western Australian Kennel Club (WAKC) Show held that year. It is later reported that in 1912 the WAKC became Incorporated. As the WAKC  conducted its first Championship Show in 1914, it is reasonable to assume that was when the WAKC became affiliated with the Kennel Club England. This had many advantages over the complicated point system used by the remainder of Australia because WA was able to award Challenge Certificates for Best of Breed of sex. Additionally, when the dog accumulated six Challenge Certificates, it became a Grand Champion like the dog illustrated[4a].

Airedale Terrier 1891Airedale Terrier 1891

Meanwhile, the Agricultural Society of WA (RAS of WA), which had been holding 'Royal' Shows for Agriculture from at least 1834, probably hosted WA's first dog shows. Although the date dog shows commenced in WA remains unclear, by 1905 the RAS of WA moved to the Claremont Grounds in Perth where, by 1911, 120 dogs competed in their 'Royal' Show. Because the RAS of WA had established 'Stud Societies' throughout the State in 1934 it us assumed that the Secretarial duties of the Kennel Club had probably also been taken over by the RAS of WA[7].

Numbat - WA's Native EmblemNumbat - WA's Native Emblem

In 1962 WA was the first State to accept Associated membership to allow owners of de-sexed and non-pedigreed dogs to take part in Obedience events. In 1971 the WA Canine News commenced publication. In 1977 the Canine Association of WA Inc. finally broke away from the RAS and by 1981 had purchased a 14-acre bush block of land, just 17km from the Perth GPO. By 1987 the WACA had built a wonderful roofed dog showing complex[4]. But it did not start publishing dog registrations until 1985 which, by 1988 had been linked to the NSW system.

Dogs NSW (New South Wales)

Platypus - NSW's National EmblemPlatypus - NSW's National Emblem

On 1893, the Kennel Association of New South Wales (NSW) was formed using the Code of Rules from the Victorian Poultry and Dog Society (VP&DC). In 1895 held its first 'Annual Show'.[4d] In 1908, the Ladies' Kennel Club of NSW was founded[2].

In 1942, the Kennel Club of NSW was conceived after a Meeting during by the Royal Agricultural Society that year. By 1945 the Kennel Club invited the Minister for Agriculture to appoint representatives whereby just one governing body could the constituted. In 1948 the RAS Kennel Control Club was formed with the Minister for Agriculture appointing four representatives on the Committee.

NSW Saint Bernard c 1890NSW Saint Bernard c 1890

In 1964 the name changed to the RAS Kennel Control with their major function to maintain the Register of Pure Breed dogs which, at that time was 30,000 annually. They also began publishing a monthly magazine which included litter registrations.

In 1975 the RAS of NSW became one of the first organisations of its kind to install an in-house computer to cope with all dog registrations. It worked so well that by 1978 all other States and Territories except Victoria and South Australia were linked to the NSW system. In 1989 the NSW Canine Council broke away from the RAS and became an independent body known since 1994 as the Royal NSW Canine Council Ltd[4c].

Dogs Queensland

Koala - Qld's Native EmblemKoala - Qld's Native Emblem

In 1897 the First Annual Show of the Queensland Kennel Club was conducted, again using the Rules of the Victorian Poultry and Dog Club[4d]. From 1921, the Kennel Association of Queensland began a series of Stud Books mentioned earlier. By 1948 Queensland also had three Clubs running parallel with rather than in conjunction with the Canine Control Council of Queensland (CCC) each maintaining their own Stud Books. They were operating with a mixture of honorary staff and some clerical staff, paid for by registrations and membership fees.

By 1954, both Victoria and NSW were enjoying alliances whereby dog activities were being unified by their respective 'Royal' Agricultural Societies. In Queensland this was the called Royal National Association (RNA). Because dog activities in Queensland had also outgrown independent Club arrangements, they approached their Royal National Association (RNA) to form an alliance. This was also broadly based on Victoria's successful amalgamation of three bodies into the Kennel Control Council, which since 1930 had used secretarial services provided by the staff of the RASV.

Early PomeranianEarly Pomeranian

Consequently, by 1955 with a legal Constitution in place between the RNA and CCC of Queensland demanding, among their requirements, that an RNA Representative was always on the CCC Committee. They published litter registrations from 1959.[4] Queensland was the most recent State to break away from an alliance with their Royal Agricultural Society and in 2012 it became the Canine Control Council (Queensland) Ltd.[4b] 

Dogs SA (South Australia)

Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat - SA's Native EmblemSouthern Hairy Nosed Wombat - SA's Native Emblem

The oldest Club in South Australia was the SA Poultry and Kennel Club which, like Victoria's VP & KC was founded in the late 1800's. Today it is still in existence as a dog club that conducts shows. In 1914 the South Australian Kennel Association was formed which consisted of a Secretary and two delegates from each affiliated Club.This carried them through World War Two with crossed breed dogs still able to be registered as 'Pedigree Unknown'[4].

Cocker Spaniel c 1947Cocker Spaniel c 1947

In 1951 the South Australian Royal A & H Society agreed to assume control and management of Pedigrees. In 1952 the South Australian Canine Association (SACA) commenced an alliance with the Royal providing a Director, Secretary and an office at Wayville Showgrounds[5]. SACA published their litter registrations from 1961.

In 1979 a motion to become incorporated body was put before the members and carried.[4] This meant that the SACA broke its ties with the South Australian Royal A & H Society. In 1983 the SACA purchased an office in Thebarton to manage its affairs presumably then also digitising their new Litter Registrations. Then, by means of an extremely generous bequest from one of their very famous members, they purchased 17 acres of land at Kilburn which today is known as 'David Roche Park'.[4] 

Dogs Tasmania

Tasmanian Devil - Tasmania's Native EmblemTasmanian Devil - Tasmania's Native Emblem

In 1862, as previously outlined, Hobart's 'Society for the Improvement in the Breed of Dogs' was the first Dog Show to be held in Australia. There were no more existing records for more than 30 years when, in 1898 the Southern Tasmanian Kennel Club held a Show in the Old Exhibition Building under the Code of Rules set up by the Victorian Poultry and Kennel Club with the competing dogs registered at their office in Melbourne. Records of their next Show was not until 1906. In 1916, the Kennel Council of Tasmania was founded.

Beagles 1889Beagles 1889

In 1934 after a breakaway group from the North was formed, the President of the Agricultural Show Council called a Meeting where it was decided that there would be two elected controlling bodies, one for the North and the other for the South. By 1952 the National Agricultural Society & Pastoral Society negotiated the formation of the Kennel Control Council of Tasmania, with Councillors appointed from both the North and South Agricultural Societies, publishing its litter registrations from 1959 [4e]. In 1995 the Tasmanian Canine Association Inc. became a completely independent body.

Dogs NT (Northern Territory)

Red Kangaroo - NT's Native EmblemRed Kangaroo - NT's Native Emblem

In 1958 Northern Territory formed the North Australian Canine Association (NACA) and 58 dogs were exhibited at their first Championship Show. In 1961 the Central Australian Show Society (CASS) became an affiliate, giving the NACA financial assistance. By 1965, in a similar way to what occurred in the 6 States, the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the CASS became the office bearers of the NACA. The CASS then gave a portion of the land they controlled at Winnellie for the NACA to develop a permanent dog showing complex. In 1973 the NACA became a member of the ANKC.

Bull Terrier (Australia) c 1903Bull Terrier (Australia) c 1903

In 1974, when 'Cyclone Tracy' virtually destroyed Darwin, the remainder of the Australian dog world rallied together raising some $6,000+ for a dog complex to be built at Winnellie. Meanwhile, NSW facilitated the NACA's registrations. In 1976 the NACA became Incorporated but it was not until 1978 that they demanded the compulsory membership that brought them in line with the rest of Australia. By 1984 the NACA had commenced a very the slow transition of increasing the number of Councillors to become elected until they became the fully independent North Australian Canine Association Inc.breaking all ties with the CASS.  From 1985, they produced their own newsletter and published their own litter registrations.[4f] 

DogsACT (Australian Capital Territory)

ACT's Bird Emblem Gang-Gang CockatooACT's Bird Emblem Gang-Gang Cockatoo

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was originally a sheep farming district of NSW, with its  capital Canberra, being Australia's capital since 1927. To satisfy local interests, the Canberra Kennel Association began in 1944 as the Canberra Kennel and (sheep) Trial Association. In 1951 it became the Canberra Kennel Association, the controlling body for the ACT, electing its Council yearly from the membership. By 1966 it became Australia's only controlling body to always have been fully elected  by its members. By 1978 it joined the RASKC (NSW) in-house computer system.

The Future of Australia's Pedigree Dogs

Australian Kelpies 1912Australian Kelpies 1912

The future of Australia's pure breed dogs is built on information about our pure breed dogs, some of which back to our first dog show in 1862. Before the ANKC became fully digitised in 1997, these 'lost' records now rely on surviving hand-written paper pedigrees and Show catalogues. Because Australia never had a Stud Book, only when this breed information is collected and added to the ANKC computer, will the 145 years of 'lost' history of Australian pedigree dogs be complete.

For Australia, the digital age and air travel have really opened up endless possibilities for our pedigree dog world without the tyranny of distance. We can exhibit competitively overseas as well as combine international with local stock. What a long way we have come!

References and Further Reading:

[1] "Hobart Mercury" 13th November 1862 reporting the Canine Exhibition of 1862 held at Mr Moore's Horse Bazaar in Liverpool Street Hobart Town, Tasmania

[2] 'Tyzack's Annual' Compiled by T. W.Tyzack and C.S.Turner; Published 1912 by Bellamine Bros. Printers, 66-70 Flinders Lane Melbourne. 'The Book of Chronicles' Page 128-129

[3] Royal Agricultural Society of Vic, '100 Years of Shows, the Story of the Melbourne Show 1872 - 1972' published by Royal Agricultural Society of Vic Ascot Vale Page 2

[4] 'An Historical Record of Australian Kennel Controls' published ANKC, Ascot Vale Vic 1988. South Australia Pages 87-88.

[4a] Ibid., Canine Association of Western Australia by Ann Mitchell page 113

[4b] Ibid., The Canine Control Council, Queensland by D.W.Armstrong Pages 73-75

[4c] Ibid., The RAS Kennel Control, New  South Wales by Dr Harry Spira Pages 27 - 33.

[4d] Ibid., Pure Bred Canine Control in Victoria by W.D.Crowley Page 107

[4e] Ibid., Kennel Control Council of Tasmania by N L Nielson Page 93

[4f] Ibid., The North Australian Canine Association Inc by Doug & Gwen Ford Pages 58 - 66

[5] Dogs SA official website 2013

[6] F A Longmore 'Dogs on the Bench and in the Field' Published by The Kennel Control Council of Vic (Annual 1933) Page 3

[7] Mr Piesse, President. RAS of WA 'A Century of Shows', An article published in the 1934 Royal Show Catalogue.

Published in 2013 as 'Beyond the Distance of Tyranny' in "Dogs Victoria Magazine" Victorian Canine Association Inc. Cranbourne Vic Vol. 79 Issue 7 July 2013 Pages 16, 17, 18, 19 also 2014 Dog News Australasia Annual Top Dog Media Pty Ltd Tahmoor NSW 2573 Pages 26, 27 and 229