On Monday 29th January 1883, a meeting of several prominent businessmen was held in Port Elizabeth and as a result the “South African Kennel Club” came into being.  Arrangements were immediately made to hold the first dog show on 15th March of that same year, to take place in conjunction with the Agricultural Show.  These gentlemen could not possibly have realised the importance of their decision as it is only today, as we delve in to the history of dogdom worldwide that we discover the fantastic number of firsts, which they created:


·         The first dog club in Southern Africa

·         The first dog club on the African continent

·         The first dog club in the Southern hemisphere

·         The first ever canine control body in any of these areas

·         The first independent dog show in these areas and  indeed, one of the very oldest clubs in the world.


It is interesting to note here that the first ever dog show held in Great Britain was at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on 28th & 29th June 1859 with 68 entries.  The first dog show held by the British Kennel Club was on 17-20 June 1873 and there were 973 entries.  Not a great length of time prior to the SAKC first shows in 1883.


 The SAKC Show was held on the 15th March 1883, indoors in the club’s premises at the Agricultural Showground, and attracted an entry of nearly 300 dogs!  Some really superb prizes were offered and two have been traced – for the Best Pointer on show- a popular breed at that time, and the other for the Best Smooth Fox Terrier. 


There is another remarkable bit of history attached to this second trophy.  It is a silver goblet (they didn’t do things by halves in those days!) and is in the possession of Mrs Donna Deacon, granddaughter of the original winner, still a member of the Club and still a breeder of Smooth Fox Terriers- an unbroken tradition of over 100 years! In fact Mrs Deacon is the current holder of the PEKC trophy for the best “Smoothie” and is the owner/ breeder of one of the top bitches in the country, CH KILLALOE SORCERY.


Following the success of the first show, plans were made for more shows and the sport of showing dogs grew rapidly in popularity.  In 1889 the “South African Kennel Club of Cape Town” came into being, and in 1894 the first clubs in the Transvaal and Natal were formed.  In 1891 a very important event took place.  Because of the rapid growth in the sport, it had become obvious for some time that a central controlling body was needed and so “THE SOUTH AFRICAN KENNEL CLUB” was formed.  It was to be based in Cape Town and as a result the club in Port Elizabeth agreed to change its name to “THE PORT ELIZABETH KENNEL CLUB”. The Cape Town club became the Cape Town Kennel Club and other affiliated clubs included:


The Grahamstown Kennel Club

The Cradock Kennel Club

The East London Kennel Club


And later also the Transvaal Kennel Club, the Durban Kennel Club and the S.A. Collie and Sheepdog Club, the first specialist club. As the PEKC went from strength to strength, so they were able to improve their facilities.  First committee members were asked to collect funds for benching, which was to be imported from the UK at a cost of about £250.  Later a wood and iron structure was purchased for the princely sum of £100 and erected at the show grounds.  To raise money for this venture the club sold debentures of £10 each to interested parties.  The Showground’s were for many years the venue for PEKC shows; indeed some readers may even remember the fun and the hardships experienced at shows held there.


In recent years the club has been able to obtain it’s own grounds and erect a clubhouse just off the Schoenmakerskop road.  The grounds are cared for and being improved by some of the more dedicated members, and we hope that one day this will be a “Showplace”.


In going through the old Letter and Minute books it has been interesting to make comparisons.

In 1905 letters were written to all clubs in an effort to improve the situation between them and the Kennel Club which appears of have reached an impasse.


Letters were written to such prominent people as Cecil John Rhodes and the Mayor of PE requesting that they donate trophies.  Judges were left to decide which classes they wished to judge, and were allowed to exhibit in other classes.  Owners sent their dogs by train in the care of one or two responsible people.


In 1906 the subscription for country members was 10s6d.


Exhibitors who did not win prizes frequently wrote to the club to complain about this, some even demanded recompense!


The following letter was sent to W. Stroud, P.O. Box 344, Krugersdorp in March 1906


Dear Sir,

Your entry of Aurendel Violet to hand you state the dog registered in Johannesburg can you inform me if she is registered by the South African Kennel Club: if she is not she will be disqualified should she win a prize. If you are uncertain it will be better for to send 2/6d for registration and I will forward on to the South African Kennel Club Cape Town.


  A letter written to C.A. Lloyd Esq of East London, also March 1906:


Dear Sir,

Referring to your favour of 23rd July I have pleasure in informing you that I can obtain Harrier pups from imported prize winners at 3.3s.0d each provided you take three.

Should you want a dog only the price will be 5.4s.0d.


 Irish Terriers were the most numerous class in 1906. A letter to a disappointed exhibitor:


Dear Sir,

I am duly in receipt of your favour of the 18th inst and in reply thereto I would point out that our instructions to all the judges were to award prizes irrespective of entries provided they considered the dogs of sufficient merit.  It is not our fault if the judge did not consider your dog worthy of a prize.  Mr Gibbon of Pietermaritzburg who officiated in your class is generally considered a most capable judge.



  Ladies were exhibiting at these shows and Miss Gladys Korsten won a Ladies Companion in 1906.  A judge’s expense as paid by the club in 1906 amounted to 6.2s.10d. Messrs Spratts Patent Ltd of 24 & 25 Fenchurch Street, London E.C. provided all the necessary stationary and biscuits (dog) for shows.


   It was decided where possible, never to appoint professional judges.  The objects of the club were “to encourage breeding and importation of thoroughbred dogs, to promote the well-being thereof and protect the interests of owners, and to hold, assist and regulate dog shows and field trials.





President:                               A.C.Wylde CC and RM


Vice-President:                       D’Urban Dyason


COMMITTEE:                           W.Armstrong -  P.P. Archibald - 


H.Mapplebeck -  C. Chalmers

G. Whitehead jnr - A.Walsh


Treasurer:                              T.G.Griffiths


Honorary Secretary:                William Thompson


Patron:                                 His Excellency, Sir Hercules Robinson




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