Thursday, 7 August 2014

History of the Club

A meeting was convened in the Old Arcade Hotel, Church Street, Cardiff on the 1st of November 1951, with 27 people present, to form the South Wales Boxer Club. The meeting elected as Chairman - Mr Kirkham, as Secretary - Mrs Aster and as Treasurer - Mr L.Thomas. The annual subscription fee was fixed at one guinea and joint membership at one and a half guinea.

The first Annual General Meeting was held on 10th March 1952 at the Pavillion, Cardiff Arms Park.

The Club held matches and film evenings, and sponsored classes at local shows. As a result of a turbulent meeting on 11th November 1952, there were several vacancies on the committee and a Special General Meeting was called for 4th December to fill them. An Open Show was suggested for the 21st February 1953, and these measures gave the club the impetus to proceed. Cups were donated (some of these are still on offer today) and Mrs Dibbie Somerfield was asked to judge, the show commencing at a stately 2.00 pm. It was a success and another Open Show was proposed for 14th or 21st November. (It is interesting to note that this is around the time we now hold our Championship Show).

Judges during the fifties were: Mrs M.Fairbrother, Mrs J.Dunkles, Mrs H.Gamble, Mrs Hullock, Mrs C.Wilson-Wiley, Mrs F.Price, Mr Mulhouse, Miss J.Grover and Mrs O.Kelly, most of them were to have a big influence on the breed in the fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond.

In those days there was a great choice of venues, but the shows ran at a loss. Matches were held regularly with the Gwent Boxer Club (now the Cotswold Boxer Club) with a shield provided by the SWBC. These were revived in the eighties but support from the South Wales Club was limited and so the teams were generally unbalanced.

At the April 1960 show there were 39 exhibits making 107 entries, but whether it made a profit or not is not recorded. The committee dug deep into their pockets for raffle prizes and prize money for each class. Draws were held on the Grand National, the Derby and the St.Leger for funds, and generally it was a tough time financially for the club. In July 1962 funds stood at £147.4.1d. and the committee decided to invest £100 in a Building Society.

The Club first applied for C.C. Status in 1966 for 1968, but at this time were not successful. By the end of the sixties the Club had settled into a regular pattern of two or three shows a year, and inter-matches with local clubs or breed clubs.

In 1970 the charges for catalogues were 4/-, entrance 3/- and OAP 1/6d.

In the early seventies an attempt to change the Club’s name to the Welsh Boxer Club was refused by the Kennel Club. In 1973, for the 21st anniversary, a film and slide show was suggested with a 21st birthday dinner.

In 1980 the committee decided that the cups were too valuable to be given out as several had been lost, and rosettes were to be given in lieu. Also in 1980 the Club was involved in the inaugural meeting of the Working and Pastoral Breeds of Wales.

In 1981 the Club held a special meeting at Llandaff to inform members about P.A. Dr Bruce Cattanach showed the P.A. film and answered members’ questions. This was a worrying time for most breeders. 1984 was a celebration year for the 100th show was held in November. Half-price entries, prize money, rosettes and a free catalogue for each exhibitor made it a bumper show. The judge was Dr Cattanach, with 142 dogs making 230 entries it was the best entry so far.

After the AGM in 1985 the committee decided that cups should once more be given to members winning at shows. Many new cups were donated and to date they are still on offer.

At last in1985, CC status was granted for 1987. Pontypool was chosen as the venue for the Championship Show because of its accessability from England. Also in 1985 the SWBC became involved in the docking issue writing to the Foreign Secretary, and in May 1986 it sent a representative to the proposed Council for Docked Breeds.

In September 1986 a new Club logo was designed, and a newsletter called “Pup Chat” was started and ran for several issues.

The first Championship Show was held on14th November 1987 and was judged by Mrs V.Tripe (dogs) and Mrs M.Best (bitches) there were 250 dogs entered, the entry fee for members being £4.50 and £5.50 non-members. Texaco generously donated a new set of cups for Best in Show etc., and several members have since donated cups for most classes. Prize money was on offer and the first of the Club’s series of collectable pottery plates was given to winners of each class.

At the Championship show in 1989 the committee decided to hold a parade of imported dogs. Permission to do this was granted by the K.C. although at the time the K.C. hadn’t realized that all imported Boxers at that time had cropped ears, but by then we had done it! It provided a showcase for dogs that many had never seen.

November 1993 saw the 40th Anniversary, and at the Championship show that year a special class with £40 prize money for the winner was included. The referee Mrs Mary Foan judged it after the main show was completed.

1994 saw the first of what was to become a series of very successful weekend Judging Seminars, the first one being held at Duffryn House, Nr Cardiff. These are now held bi-annually and are a major event in the boxer calendar attracting around 80 delegates from all over the country, currently they are held at Parkway Hotel & Conference Centre, Cwmbran. The next one is due to be held January 2002.

The Club currently has a good working committee and puts on three shows a year, a Limit in January (Members only) an Open Show in May both held at the Usk Memorial Hall and the Championship show in November at Pontypool Leisure Centre.

We have representatives at Boxer Breed Council, and try to promote the Boxer as a healthy family dog by following a Code of Conduct, and we are currently drawing up guidelines for Boxer breeders.

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