Kennel Clubs and Stud Books

Irish SetterIrish Setter

Today, along with the definition of a pure breed dog, for this to be global there must be arrangements for world-wide recognition. Pure breed or pedigreed dogs firstly must have a formal pedigree issued by a Kennel Club and secondly must have their breed's physical description and function classified within their Breed Standard.

Today's Kennel Clubs with Reciprocal Stud Book Arrangements

On 4th April 1873, the Kennel Club (UK) the first Kennel Club as we know it today, was founded. The American Kennel Club (AKC) followed one year later with the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) next by 1880. Then, in 1954, the FCI the Federation Cynologique Internationale began operations from the tiny Belgium town of Thuin. In Australia the administration involved with keeping the Stud Registry and the Rules and Regulations of Dog Shows used to be controlled by various Kennel Clubs in each of the States. But in 1958 the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) was born.

Hunter with Pack of HarriersHunter with Pack of Harriers

The First English Stud BookThe First English Stud Book

The FCI deserves a special mention here. It was founded in the tint town of Thuin because Saint Roch, the patron Saint of Thuin was also the protector of animals and was frequently portrayed with his dog. So today Thuin is proclaimed 'the Canine Capital of the World'[1], recognizing Kennel Clubs in 86 other countries, including many in Europe and South America. Each of these 86 FCI recognized Kennel Clubs keep their own Stud Books or registries for their own countries.

In Australia a monopoly still exists where just one organization controls each State's pure breed dog registration system and licenses their judges. But in America other dog registration bodies like the United Kennel Club co-exist with the American Kennel Club. Today, the United Kennel Club prides itself with being a performance based organization, rather than a pure breed organization. So it is a domestic matter for each country to ascertain who conducts their internationally recognized pure breed dog fancy.

The Stud Books (English)

The First English Stud Book SpineThe First English Stud Book Spine

The year after 'The Kennel Club (UK)' came into existence, the first in a series of 'Stud Books' was published by 'The Field' a well-known livestock magazine publisher of that time. This Stud Book is dated from 1859 to 1874.  As every breeding dog or bitch was entered in a Show, it was given a number and had its pedigree recorded. If the dog or bitch had a reliable pedigree, that was also recorded, some dating back many generations. Some of these are in the form of a table and others are just a list.

These Kennel Club (UK) 'Stud Books' have been published every year after that to this day, even through the two World Wars! Dogs recorded in these English Stud Books are recognized by the American Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club, and the 84 countries affiliated with the FCI. This recognition is reciprocal. So, between the world's Stud Books, many of today's purebred dogs have a background with recorded pedigrees dating back over a century and a half!

The First English Stud Book

The following 40 breeds appeared in this historic Stud Book:

The First Dog Shows

Division 1 PointerDivision 1 Pointer

It is generally accepted that the first recognized dog show was held at Newcastle in England in 1859. Although it was for Setters (English) and Pointers only, the dogs exhibited were given numbers which were the very first entries in the English Stud Book. Later in 1859 Birmingham also held a show for sporting dogs only. This also included not only Setters (English) and Pointers but also Retrievers, Clumber Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels.

Division 2 MastiffDivision 2 Mastiff

In 1860 Birmingham held their second show. This was historic because the show was split into two divisions:

  1. Sporting: Hounds, Setters, Spaniels and Retrievers
  2. Non-Sporting (dogs not used in field sports):Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, Black and Tan Terriers, White and other English Terriers, Scotch Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, Blenheim Spaniels, King Charles Spaniels, and Toy Terriers (under 5 pounds).

References and Further Reading

[1] Marie Luna Duran, FCI Public Relations Officer, FCI Online Magazine, Issue 427, June 2011