The North of England Dalmatian Club is the oldest Dalmatian club in the world. It was founded in 1903 at the Great Harwood show, near Blackburn in Lancashire, by a group of twenty Dalmatian fanciers.
There were 19 men and only one woman, Mrs Braithwaite of Carnforth. The first Committee was made up of a President, Dr Armistead, a Vice-President and a Secretary/Treasurer plus three committee members. At their first meeting, the Committee elected 5 specialist judges and 4 all-rounders, but we know little as there are no surviving minutes of their deliberations.
In 1921 whilst exhibiting at the Scottish Kennel Club Show, the members decided to expand the membership and President Mr A R Fish formed a Committee of eight. Mr Bury, the then Secretary, was asked to write to Mr Cruft asking him to provide classes for Dalmatians in February 1922. These were approved and Puppy, Limit and Open classes for dogs and bitches were offered. The membership fee was increased from 10/6d to £1.1.0 (one guinea) in an effort to improve Club finances. Members also made donations for the purchase of cups and trophies to be competed for at General and Club Shows.
In 1924 new rules were drawn up for the Club in an effort to promote the Breed, one of these was that prize money would be offered to NoEDC approved show societies which provided breed classes. The AGM was to be held at Manchester Championship show each year.
In 1933 a new rule was introduced whereby members chosen to judge must have been members for at least 3 years. 1938 saw the committee rise to 16 and membership of Eleanor Frankling was granted. Of the war years there are few records, but in 1946 the Club held its first Championship Show at Stockport. Entry fees were 8/6d (43p) for members and 10/- (50p) for non-members with prize money and a variety of specials on offer. There were 2 further Championship Shows in 1947 after which the Kennel Club prevented the Club holding such shows until 1961.
During the 50’s, the idea of a Club badge was introduced by Mrs Macdonald-Smith and the judging competition was begun at the Open Show in 1955. Kennel Club registrations reached the 800 required in order to qualify for a Championship Show, which took place in 1961.
1963 saw the Club introduce the “Carriage Dog Chronicle” newsletter. The title was the result of a members’ competition won by Mrs Finney. In 1965 the first Joint Clubs’ show was held and the Club amended the rules on a number of occasions during the decade, with the first rule book in 1965. Car badges were introduced in 1966.
2003 saw the Club’s Centenary. Nowadays, we hold a Championship show and two Open Shows per year. New ventures include a Limited Agility show and a Limited Obedience show, both of which are very successful. The “Carriage Dog Chronicle” is still produced four times a year. An annual “Review” recording the achievements of Dalmatians in Breed and General Championship Shows was introduced in 1988 and we produce a comprehensive “Handbook” every four years.
We also work closely with our Rescue organisation which holds various events throughout the year to both raise funds and enhance peoples awareness of Dalmatians in need.