history of the club
The Club was formed on the 10th June 1968 by a meeting of 29 golden retriever enthusiasts including Everet Massey, Eva Harkness, Lucy Ross, Heather Avis, Rev. Hutchinson and Jim Clarke. The Club was first registered with the Kennel Club on the 19th May 1969 and held its first AGM in the Woodlands Hotel on the 9th February 1970 when it had 36 paid up members.
The first open show was planned for May 1970 and the first working event, a test, was planned for August 1970 at Castlewellan. The first Club stationery was printed and it was decided to illustrate this with a head study of the dog which epitomized the objectives of the Club, Lucy Ross’s International Dual Champion David of Westley. David of Westley’s head still adorns the Club letter heading, although the original head study has been replaced with one produced by Louisa Nally.
The first Trial organised by the club was on the 16th January 1971 and the Club’s first Championship Show on the 23rd April 1977. In 1980 Roy Rankin and Michael Kennedy made up two Golden Retriever champions under KC rules, i.e. Toberhewney Tess and Ardyle Toddy.
Thereafter, whilst the show side of the club progressed and flourished, the working side waned and it was not until 1989 that another trial was held. Progress was made on the Field Trial side with the club being granted a Qualifying stake in 1993 and being able to mount an all golden All-aged Stake in 1996. However once again there was a downturn in the number of goldens being worked competitively in Ireland, and the Club struggled to get a team together for the Interclub tests which they hosted at the N.I. Game Fair in 1999. However with a recent upturn in working goldens it is hoped that the club can once again host an all golden stake in the near future.
David of Westley (left), owned by the late Lucy Ross who resided in Northern Ireland and was a member of the Ulster Golden Retriever Club, holds his place in Golden Retriever history by being the breeds first and only English and Irish Show and Field Trial champion.