Australia's Bicentennial Dog Show catalogue cover
Until 1913, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was part of New South Wales. When Australia needed an appropriate region for the seat of government, the region now known as the ACT was chosen because it was situated between the two largest Australian cities Melbourne and Sydney. In 1913, it was established as the ACT with Canberra named as its capital city. Because of this, in 1988 the Canberra Kennel Association was chosen to host a show on behalf of the ANKC as part of Australia's Bicentennial celebrations. Conducted over three days, the Show's judging panel came from all States of Australia. The trophies were donated by many overseas clubs as well as many Australian Clubs and individuals.
History of Dogs ACT
When Canberra was founded and formally named the capital in 1913, it was a sheep farming district of NSW. Consequently, the first dog club in ACT was the Canberra Kennel and Trial Dog Association which was first formed in 1944. By 1948, it became the first dog controlling body for the ACT. Then iprogress was as follows:
- In 1951 the Canberra Kennel Association (CKA) separated from the National Sheepdog Association and became the dog controlling body for the ACT.
- In 1958 the CKA became an inaugural member of the ANKC.
- In 1961 the CKA had a new constitution and became the Canberra All Breeds Kennel Club.
- In 1966 all its 15 members of the Council were elected annually, making it the only ANKC member body which elects its Council by its members.
- In 1974 when the workload of keeping the Stud Book became unmanageable, it joined the RASKC (NSW) in-house computer system.
Dogs ACT finds a Home
The National Capital Agricultural Society was formed in 1926. The year that dogs were first included remains unclear. However, once they were included the CKA conducted the dog section of their Annual 'Royal" Show. Uniquely, the ACT is the only State or Territory which has never received Secretarial support from its Agricultural Society.
When the National Capital Agricultural Society's grounds were dug up for re-development, the area previously used by the CKA was lost. It took until 1987 for the CKA to finalise the permanent lease of some of the original site to develop a purpose-built venue suitable for dog activities. This consisted of 12 dog rings with trees for adequate shade, a new toilet block with shower facilities and a kitchen. The building also also housed the CKA office and Meeting rooms with large windows and verandas which look out across the dog showing area. Indeed a venue to be proud of! Today the controlling body for the Australian Capital Territory trades as 'DogsACT'.
The Future of Australia's Pedigree Dogs
Australian Kelpies 1912
The future of Australia's pure breed dogs is built on information about our pure breed dogs from 1862. Until 1998 when the ANKC began co-ordinating pedigrees digitally, records relied on surviving hand-written paper pedigrees and Show catalogues. Because Australia never had a Stud Book, our records rely on surviving hand-written paper pedigrees and surviving Show catalogues. Because Australia never had a Stud Book, only when this breed information is collected and added to the ANKC computer, will our Australian Stud Book be complete.
For Australia, the digital age and air travel has opened up endless possibilities for our pedigree dog world without the tyranny of distance. Today, we can exhibit competitively overseas as well as using top international stock by artificial insemination to combine with ours. What a long way we have come!
References and Further Reading:
 'An Historical Record of Australian Kennel Controls' published ANKC, Ascot Vale Vic 1988. Canberra Kennel Association W.L. Hoffman OAM. Pages 21 - 26