A History of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain

As we start a new millennium the Pyrenean Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain is a thriving club with many and varied facilities for its members both at home and abread. A monthly newsletter, a shop with a large stock of "Pyrenean" goods, the International Magazine which currently has subscribers in 20 different countries and a bi-annual members guide are enjoyed by all members wherever in the world they live. In addition, in the UK, the Club holds a Championship Show and usually two Open Shows every year, regular Judging Courses, Breed Seminars and Members' Days and runs the essential Pyrenean Rescue Service. Additionally there is a Club Library and many trophies on offer to successful exhibitors.

Where did all this start? Well, the answer, oddly enough, seems to be with a tea party at the home of the late Baron Rothschild in 1936. Prior to this there had been several unsuccessful attempts to establish the breed in the UK, most notably by Lady Sybil Grant prior to the First World War and then by Sir Cato Worsfold in the early 1920's. But it wasn't until the 1930's and Madame J. Harper Trois-Fontaines that the breed finally became well enough established for the idea of forming a Breed Club to become a reality. The aim of the Club was to "Popularise the breed of dog known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog and to maintain the standard of breeding", to this day this is still the first of the Club's rules.

1936   Club registered at the Kennel Club by Madame Harper Trois-Fontaines.
    First Breed Classes at Crystal Palace judge by M. Senac Legrange.
1945   Club recognised by the Kennel Club (Madame Harper Trois-Fontaines President, Secretary and Treasurer).
1946   First ever Club Championship Show held at Buckingham Gate in London.
    First Club Committee formed.
    Mr Griffin Stone appointed Chairman.
1949   Surgeon-Commander Taylor-Milton appointed Chairman on death of Mr Griffin Stone.
195?   Mrs Constance Plank becomes Club Secretary.
    Monthly Bulletin produced by Mrs Constance Prince.
1961   Mr George Robson elected Chairman following resignation of Surgeon-Commander Taylor-Milton.
1965   Sqn. Ldr. Peter Gilbert takes over as Editor of monthly Newsletter.
    Club Library inaugarated.
1966   First Members' Day/Open Show attended by 110 Pyreneans and their owners.
1967   Mr John Banbury elected Treasurer.
1968   Mr Fred Prince takes over as Chairman from Mr George Robson.
    Mr Alan Harwood succeeds Mrs Constance Plank as Club Secretary.
    First all day Committee Meetings.
    International Film Exchange started.
    Mr David Llewellyn Jones bequests the Club almost #9,000.
1969   Mrs Joan Passini-Birkett becomes first Vice-Chairman.
    Postal ballot introduced for election of Officers and Committee.
    Displaced Pyrenean Fund set up.
    First Pyrenean Symposium takes place.
1970   Bergerie Knur wins Best In Show at Crufts.
1970   Club Shop started with Mrs J Stannard as manager.
    Handbook of Pyrenean Mountain Dog published.
    Work started on revision of Breed Standard.
1971   Memberships pass the one thousand mark.
1972   Death of Madame Harper Trois-Fontaines.
    Breed Standard revision approved by the Kennel Club.
1973   Mr Fred Prince becomes President.
    Sqn. Ldr. Peter Gilbert takes over as Chairman.
1975   Club's first Championship Show for twenty eight years takes place at Bingham in Nottinghamshire judged by Mrs Lily Turner.
    First Member's Guide issued free to all members.
1979   Mrs June du Rance takes over Editorship of Newsletter.
    Judges Training Courses started.
    Mrs Joan Passini-Birkett elected President.
    Mr John Banbury becomes Chairman in addition to being Treasurer.
    Mr Des Aspinall is new Vice-Chairman
1980   Mr Bob Mason takes over as Shop Manager.
1981   First Club Stand at Crufts.
1984   Displaced Pyrenean Fund revamped as Pyrenean Rescue.
    Mrs J Stannard becomes Vice-Chairman on resignation of Mr Des Aspinall.
1986   The Club's Golden Jubilee is marked by a Championship Show entry of 400 from 190 dogs judged by M. Alain Pecoult.
1987   On retirement of Mr John Banbury, Mrs J Stannard is elected Chairman. Mr Colin Bowker becomes Vice-Chairman and Capt. Tony Ireland takes over as Treasurer.
    Mrs Toni Jackson takes over publication of the Newsletter.
    Mrs Mary Newport replaces Mr Bob Mason as Shop Manager.
1988   Mr Alan Harwood retires after twenty years as Secretary and is replaced by Mrs Lorna Ireland.
    The proceeds of the Golden Jubilee Fund, a cheque for #1,500, is presented to the Royal Veterinary College.
1989   The Bridgette Olerenshaw Competition for artists and photographers is started.
1990   First issue of the International Magazine.
    Mr Mike Jones becomes Newsletter Editor.
1992   Mr & Mrs Ray Graveling take over the Newsletter.
1995   Mrs Wendy Spencer-Brown becomes the next Editor of Pyrenean World.
1996   Club hosts the first ever World Conference on the Breed.
    "The Pyrenean Mountain Dog" is published by the Club to commemorate its Diamond Jubilee.
1997   Mrs J Stannard assumes role of President follwing the death of Mrs Joan Passini-Birkett.
    Mr Keith Savage takes over the role of Chairman.
    Editorship of Pyrenean World taken over by Mrs Sandra Gibson.
1998   Mr Colin Bowker becomes Treasurer on resignation of Capt. Tony Ireland.
    Mrs Mary Newport is elected Vice-Chairman.
1999   The Club's WWW site comes into being.

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