MALTA KENNEL CLUB : 1948 – 2012
The first initiatives to establish a Dog Showing Association were done by a certain Mr. Joseph Dimech. The Malta Kennel Club members today owe a lot to this exceptional gentleman. Mr. Dimech was a repatriated migrant from the USA who lived in Marsa. During his life-time in America, Mr. Dimech had become familiar with dog shows. Therefore when he noticed a pair of Chow-chows just down the road from his home in Marsa, he immediately became acquainted with the owner and together they made their first endeavours to establish the first Kennel Association.
The owner of the Chow-chows was Mr. Baldasare Formosa, a well-known personality at the Malta Kennel Club. He was an active member until his very last days and there are still members of the Club who remember him very well.
Baldas (as he was often called) would recall the very first years of the dog game in Malta. He explained that the idea of establishing the association was first conceived in 1946, when Mr. Dimech and he became friends. However the first committee of the Malta Kennel Club was formed in 1948. The Committee was made up of seven members, who included, besides Joseph Dimech and Baldas Formosa, prominent people like Professor Vassallo MD and Major Louis Ganado as President and secretary respectively. Baldas could not recall the full names of the other three members. He said that one was a certain Patist from Msida, another was called Guzeppi known as "Tal-Gingrija" and the third an English lady who was the wife of an officer in the British Forces posted in Malta. The first Committee meetings were held at the residence of Major Ganado.
The first dog shows used to be a part of the annual show of the Fur and Feather Association and later of the Rabbit Breeders Association. The venues for these shows were usually San Anton Gardens, Argotti Gardens, the garden of a large villa at Gzira, the Hollywood Theatre at Hamrun and other public gardens. The judging was usually entrusted to British Servicemen, their wives and other British residents. Their competence was rather doubtful. This was soon realised by the Committee. Efforts were then made with the (British) Kennel Club to establish some kind of uniformity and in 1949 a reciprocal agreement was entered into by the Malta Kennel Club and the (British) Kennel Club. The first official British Judge, namely Lord of Nortex, was brought over to judge the show in 1957. The Shows in the first years lacked the polish and the professional set up with which we are so familiar today. However, although the efforts and enthusiasm of the first committees was never lacking, one has to realise that facilities and finance were very limited. Opportunities to learn from other organisations in the canine world were practically non-existent.
In 1971, due to legislation, the Malta Kennel Club had to change its name to The Main Kennel Club. In 1976, The Main Kennel Club went completely independent from the Rabbit Breeders Association with regards to the organisation of shows, and in 1978, the number of shows were increased to three annual dog shows. These shows were also given Championship status. At the same time, the Club also rented offices at the Msida Youth Centre and registered their first permanent address.
During the 1980's, the dog shows increased in popularity. The removal of the restrictions in dog importation from the UK dramatically improved the quality of the dogs in the ring. Judges for the sole purpose of Championship shows were invited from the U.K. and asked to judge every single show of the Club. The competence of handlers in the ring had increased remarkably and the spectacle of the competition was enhanced by the introduction of Group Judging. The events brought more number of spectators and exhibitors became more sporting thus reducing the number of incidents to almost non-existent.
In 1990’s, the popularity of breeds increased and it was no surprise that the first breed Club was set up. This was the German Shepherd Dog Association that was formed in 1997 and this club too requested affiliation with the Malta Kennel Club. In this year dog registrations had reached the 1000 mark per year. The Malta Kennel Club was growing from strength to strength. During 1998, the Committee of the Malta Kennel Club started to seek further avenues for the members and their dogs. Membership with the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) was then being strongly considered. In 1999, Mr Jorgen Hindse Madsen, the FCI's delegate for Europe visited the Malta Kennel Club. During his visit he discussed the "modus operandi" of the Club and with satisfaction, confirmed that the Europe Section of FCI would put forward the application of Malta’s membership in the FCI General Assembly to be held in Mexico on May of that same year. May of 1999 will be remembered with satisfaction amongst the dog enthusiasts in Malta for the FCI General Assembly approved the associate membership of the Malta Kennel Club. The Club had brought a new era in Malta’s dog world to which day, the members can enjoy showing their dogs with pride in Malta and amongst all FCI’s member countries around the world. The Malta Kennel Club held its first CAC Championship show in December of 1999 and its first International Championship on the 4th and 5th November 2000, with the approval of the FCI. By virtue of its membership of the FCI, the Malta Kennel Club can hold its own number of CAC Championship shows and one international CACIB show. In total the Club’s annual show calendar is six CAC shows and 1 CACIB show.
The Club is governed by a set of regulations that form the Statute and its members are obliged to follow the Club’s Code of Ethics and keep their dogs within the good standards required in physical and mental well-being. The Club’s finances are mainly generated by membership. The winners of the dog shows receive trophies and food vouchers which are sponsored by several dog food suppliers.
The Club also owns the only pedigree database in Malta and dogs registered with the Club will receive a pedigree which is recognised by all FCI member countries, which include details of the last three generations of the parentage. Each breeder of a litter is allowed to have the registration of a unique affix which is included amongst the list of FCI kennel names. This kennel name will remain unique amongst all FCI member countries.
In the Year 2008, the Malta Kennel Club was elected to Fellow of the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI).
The first Committee members of the Malta Kennel Club :
Top Row from left: Mr. Paul Caruana, Notary J. Gatt, Lord of Nortex, Mr. George Chetcuti, Mr. J. Baldacchino
Bottom Row from left: Mr. M. Grixti, Mr. Baldas Formosa
In the year 2008, the Malta Kennel Club celebrated its sixtieth anniversary. The celebration were held in conjunction with the hosting and organisation of the next International CACIB show which will be held on the 29th and 30th November at the Cottonera Sports Complex.
During that year the Club introduced a new competition for the Best In Show Winner of the Year. The winner was selected from the Best In Show winners of the current year. A commemoration of the anniversary was awarded to the Group winners and reserves as well as the Best In Show and Reserve Best In Show.
The event reached its highlights with the election of the Malta Kennel Club to the Fellow members of the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) .