History of Dogs Victoria

Victoria's Coat of ArmsVictoria's Coat of Arms

The Victorian Canine Association Inc. which now trades as Dogs Victoria, began in 1990. In Australia, we have now have independently governed controlling bodies in each State and Territory which looks after domestic matters. Meanwhile, our Federal body, the ANKC handles Australia's Stud Book Registrations, Breed Standards and co-ordinates rules relating to national matters. This is Victoria's journey.

Dog Shows begin in Victoria

1874 National Show Melbourne - the dog tent1874 National Show Melbourne - the dog tent

Australia's second Dog Show (Victoria's first) was held by the Council of the Acclimatisation Society in 1864. Victoria's second reliably recorded Show was held by the National Agricultural Society of Victoria's Show in 1874 with 213 dogs entered. This pre-dated the Royal Melbourne Show[3].

In 1877 the Victorian Dog and Poultry Society (VP&DS) conducted its first Dog Show with the entries which included both dogs and poultry, covering the prize money. This became an Annual Event. The VP&DS were a very forward thinking Society, because they set up Australia's First 'Code of Rules for the Guidance of Dog Shows' which was subsequently taken up by Tasmania, NSW, and Queensland. In 1881 the VP&DS also declared that all dogs must be registered Pure Breeds. This eliminated crossed breeds. Sadly, in-fighting within the VD&DS caused them to re-form as the Victorian Poultry and Kennel Club (VP&KC)[1] which still exists today.

Meanwhile, around 1886 the Showgrounds in Flemington was given, by Crown Grant to Trustees of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV). From 1918 when pure breed dogs were included, the Royal Agricultural Show catalogues contained dog entries, together with their immediate parentage.

VP&KC Committee 1891VP&KC Committee 1891

Victoria's 3 Controlling Bodies

By the late 1920's Victoria had:

      1. The Victorian Kennel Association (VKA),
      2. The Victorian Poultry and Kennel Club (VP&KC)
      3. The Canine Control Council (CCC)

CCC Registration  Certificate CCC Registration Certificate

These separate controlling bodies were all registering dogs on their own forms since the early 1920's. Some of these also included show results like the Registration Certificate of the Canine Control Council included here.

Sadly, by 1930, Australia was feeling the effects of a world-wide Great Depression with unemployment reaching 33%. To survive this crisis, on March 30 that year, a Meeting was held between the VKA, VP&KC, CCC and the Royal Agricultural Society (RASV) resulting in the RASV appointing the President and Secretary. This resulted in the VKA, VP&KC and CCC forming the Kennel Control Council (KCC) which unified the control of the dog fancy.

The Kennel Control Council (KCC)

Royal Melbourne Showgrounds Dog Judging area 1960Royal Melbourne Showgrounds Dog Judging area 1960

By 1932 membership had grown to 894 people registering 8,402 individual dogs. In their monthly Gazette, the KCC also published the pedigrees of dogs registered, along with details of transfer of ownership and litters born. Although the KCC Gazette was not a separate Stud book per se, at least pure breed dogs' parentage was reliably published. The KCC took over the registration of dogs and other matters relating to canine activities that successfully carried Victoria through the Great Depression, World War Two and beyond [1].

By the end of the 1940's the KCC had relinquished ties with the VP&KC. This included financial rights to a valuable centrally placed Melbourne property the entire proceeds from the sale of which went to the poultry people. Today the poultry still operates separately from the dog section. Meanwhile, VP&KC still exists albeit under the control of the KCC of which it remained as an affiliate which today still runs dog shows.

Sadly, over the next half a century, the KCC Committee appointed by the RASV progressively became more and more of a dictatorship. It disqualified any member who attempted to form an opposition registration organisation which the KCC Committee chose to declare 'unrecognised'. Today, the rules of Dogs Victoria still demand compulsory membership in order to compete in any pure breed dog activity.

The KCC becomes Dogs Victoria

Advertisement to Join the KCC 1933Advertisement to Join the KCC 1933

In line with the policy of the RASV at that time, only male persons were eligible to stand for election to the Committee of the Kennel Control Council. In other words, no women were eligible (see advertisement on LHS).

The all-male KCC Committee appointed by the RASV with no voting rights for its ordinary members, ruled for over 60 years. With women comprising over 70% of the membership, this entire situation had clearly become politically incorrect.

Leunig CartoonLeunig Cartoon

With no other successful means of appeal, some female members took the matter to the Equal Opportunity Board. This generated lots of publicity, including National TV appearances, some 18 articles in the print media and even a cartoon by Leunig!

The result was a motion to Incorporate which was moved at the KCC's 1991 Annual General Meeting. An estimated 600+ members attended, coming in bus loads from all corners of the State to support the motion. The Motion, giving all members voting rights was overwhelmingly passed. On July 24, 1991 the new Constitution was approved and the KCC became the Victorian Canine Association Inc. which now trades as Dogs Victoria.

The Dogs Victoria Library

Dogs Victoria LibraryDogs Victoria Library

The Dogs Victoria Library contains Show catalogues dating back to 1890, as well as folders of hand-written pedigrees dating back to the 1920's. Additionally, our continuous Royal Melbourne Show catalogue collection from 1918 lists the parents and date of birth of every exhibit. This information fills most of the gaps in the history of Victoria's pure breed dogs. Additionally some individual breed enthusiasts have collated their own breed's pedigree information on private computer programmes.

Only when all this breed information is added to the pedigree programme already on the ANKC computer, will we have information equivalent to that contained in other countries' Stud Books.

References and Further Reading

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

[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 129

[3] '100 years of Shows' The Story of the Royal Melbourne Show 1872 - 1972' Published by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria written by Bradford Usher & Associates Pty Ltd. Page 4