History of the Golden Retriever Club of BC

Burton & Reid - founding members of the Golden Retriever Club of BCThe GRCBC had its beginnings in the mid-sixties when local members of the Golden Retriever Club of Canada began running licensed field trials under the sponsorship of the National Club.

In 1970, the Golden Retriever Club of Canada approved the formation of the BC Chapter of the GRCC.  The early members were largely hunting and field trial oriented in their interests.  Early influential members included Mr. Christopher Burton, who was made a Life Member in September 1970, and Jack Reid (Goldrange), who gained this honour in 1973.

In early 1974 the Club decided to change its name to the Golden Retriever Club of British Columbia (GRCBC) and become a separate entity from the National Club.  The GRCC approved and supported the name change in a letter dated December 18, 1974.  The President of the Club during this transition was Mr. Bill Whalen and the Club consisted of 23 members.  Of these 23, Evelyn Smith and Gordon and Bonnie Begg are still members of the Club as of 2013.

While largely based in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, as Club membership grew its activities expanded. The governing of the Club was changed to include Regional Directors representing Vancouver Island, the Southern Interior & Okanagan, the North Coast, the Kootenays and the Central & Northern Interior making it a truly provincial organization.

The BC Chapter’s first Conformation Booster show was held with the Century Dog Club on November 21, 1970.  The Club continued to hold CKC licensed field trials and annual boosters in the early 1970’s.

Following a successful fun match for Obedience and Conformation, held in Fort Langley Park in August 1976, the Club held its first CKC sanctioned match in September 1977.  The first specialty show was held March 13, 1981 at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, Surrey, BC with an entry of 75 Goldens in the regular conformation classes and 31 in the regular obedience classes.

The GRCBC held its first Annual Awards Banquet in January 1977.  Club members’ Goldens were recognized for earning new titles in Conformation, Field and Obedience competition during the preceding year.  Awards for the Top Show Dog, Top Show Bitch, Top Show Puppy, Top Obedience Dog, Top Novice Obedience Dog, Top Field Dog and Top Field Puppy were also presented for the first time.

The silver cups used for these awards originally came from the collection of Col. Samuel Magoffin of the famous Rockhaven Kennels in North Vancouver and were donated to the GRCBC by Mr. Christopher Burton.  Included in the collection was the cup won by Am.Can. Ch. Speedwell Pluto on the occasion of the first Best in Show win by a Golden Retriever in North America at the Puget Sound Kennel Club (Washington State) in December 1933.  Additional awards were added over the years and the silver cups were mounted on wooden teak and oak bases made for the Club by members Barrie Mills and Bill Joyner.

A regularly published Club newsletter began in 1975 and evolved in May 1986 to “Golden Tails” as named by member Sherrill Smith of Peachland, BC.  The original Club logo, designed by member Ainslie Mills, was approved by the membership in January 1979 after a contest, which saw different designs published on the newsletter cover over a one-year period.  The logo was updated and redrawn by member Wendy Lepper in 2000.

Over the years, the GRCBC has sponsored many notable educational events, including a two day obedience clinic with Mr. Bob Self of Illinois, a seminar with Dr. Corley of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (Missouri), a reproductive seminar with Dr. Mark Harris, DVM (Ohio) as well as grooming clinics, training clinics, annual eye and heart screening clinics and interesting speakers at general meetings.

The Annual Club Picnic has grown from a small gathering at a member’s home in 1975 to a public celebration of the breed, with “Golden Days” attracting several hundred people and their Goldens in recent years.  Participants at this event can watch or participate in demonstrations such as grooming, relay races, tracking, agility etc.  It is a wonderful day out with Goldens and their people in a beautiful park setting.

The GRCBC also provides a Puppy Referral Service and Breeders’ List for those wanting to add a Golden Retriever to their family and an Adult Dog Placement Serviceto assist in the re-homing of Golden Retrievers.

Special Thanks to Ainslie Mills for compiling this information.