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History of the Malta Canine Society

Although the Malta Canine Society was officially founded in 1973, it was in 1971 that the foundation of this Society was being set. Till that time, only one dog club existed in Malta, and that was The Malta Kennel Club. Gross disagreements amongst some members of the Malta Kennel Club at that time resulted in a split, and as a result of that split emerged this Society, originally known as the Hamrun Kennel Club. The main founder of this Society was Mr. Gaetano Farrugia, known as Topper, and together with his sons Mario and Martin, and Saviour Manfre’, Cisju Bonnici, Joseph Turner, Joe Camilleri and Emanuel Apap decided that they should form this club.

The first year’s was very hard for all involved in the running of this new club, and the Malta Kennel Club imposed automatic suspension to any members who participated at the Hamrun Kennel Club events. But Mr. Farrugia was more then determined to see that this club strives and he personally financed the majority of the club’s expenses as the club then had no resources at all. Dog shows then used to be held at the Floriana Scout’s quarters at Floriana, and the club didn’t have any show equipment at all. Ropes used to be tied between vehicles to form a ring, and local judges used to officiate at these early shows. The Malta Kennel Club used to send “observers” to see which of it’s members took part at the Hamrun Kennel Club’s shows, and sometimes strong arguments took place between the Malta Kennel Club’s observers and the Hamrun Kennel Club’s officials. Some members were suspended for taking part at the Hamrun Kennel Club’s shows, some members were mysteriously “lucky” enough to avoid suspension, and the number of participants was always increasing. New members started involving themselves in the running of this club, with a less militant attitude towards the Malta Kennel Club and more concern for the quality of the dog shows themselves, although rivalry between the two clubs was still evident.

The Hamrun Kennel Club was now organizing better shows , and novelties were always on the agenda of the HKC’s shows. In 1985 the club obtained it’s own premises, the very same premises still being used today at Camelia Street, Hamrun. By this time the Argotti Gardens at Floriana were being used as the show venue by both the Hamrun Kennel Club and the Malta Kennel Club, and shows used to be held during the months of May and October. Mr. Thomas Morrell, an English man resident in Malta at that time was the official Club’s judge, and he officiated in numerous shows for some years. In 1986 the club started inviting judges from the U.K to officiate at it’s shows. In 1986 the carpeted ring was introduced in Malta, a major breakthrough indeed, and as a result of this the Malta Kennel Club had no alternative but to follow suite and introduce the carpeted ring for it’s shows as well. By now it was evident that the Hamrun Kennel Club was catching up in numbers with the Malta Kennel Club, and it’s Committee was committed towards the Club’s activities and as a result of that the Club was getting stronger and stronger. In 1988 both Clubs started discussions and in March 1988 the two Club’s reached an agreement and the Malta Kennel Club now recognized the Club and its activities. As a result of this agreement the club changed its name to the Malta Canine Society.

By now both Clubs started making use of the Naxxar Trade School’s hall for their shows, and such hall was found to be so suitable that it is still being used today! By this time the Society was being run by “new” members, and the original founder members had by this time stepped aside. The Society never looked back, and it was always in the forefront in introducing new systems and show novelties. In 1989 the Club bought a beautiful big Trophy for it’s Annual Show’s Best in Show winner, by then known as the Supreme Cup. This Trophy was the idea of the Society’s President at that time, the late Mr.Godwin Cutajar. He personally obtained all the money from sponsors to finance this Trophy, which at that time costs hundreds of pounds. This Trophy is today known as the Godwin Cutajar Memorial Trophy and is still unique on the Island.

Relations with the Malta Kennel Club started to decline in 1997, when the M.K.C Committee proposed changes to their Statute which, if approved, would have put the Malta Canine Society’s and all other affiliated Societies in danger, these brought the harsh reactions of all affiliated Societies and the proposed changes where shelved for the time being. This brought everyone to their senses and the need for the formation of a Federation which would deal with all governing issues was identified. Mr.Victor Mercieca, the Society’s President at that time, mentioned the idea of forming a Federation during the Society’s Annual General Meeting in 1998, and the members present at this meeting seemed to be very enthusiastic about the idea since a lot of members where not happy with the way the Malta Kennel Club was conducting things. Immediately after the meeting, the Society started on this venture, and several meetings where held with the German Shepherd Dog Association, The Obedience & Agility Association, and later with the Maltese Ladies Kennel Association. The Malta Kennel Club, although invited for the talks, refused to join in. The Malta Kennel Club secretly joined the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in May, this was done behind the backs of all members and affiliated Societies. They then called for an Extra Ordinary general meeting on the 19th July 1999, and, to everyone’s astonishment, over a 100 persons which where never seen before in any canine activity where present for the meeting, “non-active members” as they called them, and it was only with their vote that the affiliation to the FCI was approved. There was no more then 60 “active” members present at that meeting, and 39 of them walked out of the meeting in protest. This brought nothing but outrage from the members, as it was clear enough that the MKC was doing things without the backing up of their members, and they knew this all the way, hence the need to bring “non-active members” to that meeting. It was clear enough that affiliation with the FCI would be of no benefit to our local dog scene, and the only benefits the MKC was capable of identifying was that we would be standing with 77 other countries in the FCI and that we would have the right to send representatives to FCI meetings abroad (without the right to vote!). This terrible event in our local dog scene left it’s marks and it was clear that the need for a Federation was evident more then ever before. The Society’s secretary, Frank Borg, was entrusted with the talks with the British Kennel Club, to obtain recognition for the Federation once this was set. He also was responsible for the drawing up of the Federation’s Statute, and in September 1999 the Federation was set up, with the founder members being the Malta Canine Society, The German Shepherd Dog Association, The Obedience and Agility Association, and the Maltese Ladies Kennel Association.

Magistrate Dr.Carol Peralta was elected as the first President of the Maltese National Canine Federation) in the 17th October 1999, at an Extra Ordinary General Meeting purposely convened, the members unanimously approved the motion proposed by the Committee of Society that would cease the affiliation to the Malta Kennel Club and for affiliation to the Federation. This was another historical day for our Society, and such a move left the Malta Kennel Club with no affiliated Societies to it, whilst the Maltese National Canine Federation has 4 affiliated Societies, which are all active and operational.

The next important step was to ensure that the Federation would be recognized by the British Kennel Club, and this was no easy task since the Malta Kennel Club had a 48 years old reciprocal agreement in force with the Kennel Club. So the Federation, through Frank Borg, had to present a good case with plenty of sustainable arguments to the Kennel Club, so that our Federation would be accepted. At a General Committee meeting held at the ending of November 1999, the Kennel Club accepted the Federation’s case and agreed to set up a reciprocal agreement with the Maltese National Canine Federation. This was indeed the first milestone for our Federation as it had obtained an agreement with the biggest Kennel Club in the world.

At present the Society can boast that it organizes the biggest dog shows on the Island, and its shows are visited by hundreds of visitors. The Society’s shows hosts around 45 breeds, the majority of them being imported from the United Kingdom. The Society organizes 4 Championship Shows a year, and normally the shows are held on the first weekend of at the last weekend of February, last weekend of April, first weekend in October and last weekend of November, this being the Annual Show. The Society also takes part in the Greenweek Show in April and in the Annual Trade Fair held in July.

All the foreign judges that officiate at the Society’s shows have words of praise for the show’s organization and the professional way they are organized. Although the present Committee is almost entirely composed from new members, it is still the Committee’s commitment to see that the Club remains the best club on the Island, with the largest entries at it’s shows and with the better organized shows on the Island. The Committee is composed from young members with plenty of enthusiasm and energy to see the Club go from strength to strength in the future.

Donated by The Malta Canine Society

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