German Shepherd Dog Club of Victoria Inc.
(old English script was used by the GSDCV from the 1960’s to the mid 2000’s)
Above: The GSDCV’s visual identity. On the left is our logo from the early 1970’s to 2013, featuring an image of Barry vom Rebgelaende Kkl1 “a”, graded Excellent 4 at the 4th National by Herr Rolf Fauser and excellent at subsequent shows, including Nationals. On the right is the GSDCV’s newly released logo for the future, featuring influential stud dog and 2010 National Gold medal dog *Ch. Kwint vom Juerikstall ‘a’ ED (Gmy) Hneg (Imp Ndl)
In 1929 the Alsatian Club of Victoria was founded, with our current Patron’s father, Mr Luxton Snr as the first President and who was later the Lord Mayor of Melbourne. It should be remembered that the breed was only established in 1899 in the mother country of Germany.
Shortly afterwards, “The Alsatian Defence League of Victoria” was established by His Honour Judge Mitchell and a number of friends, primarily to fight the import ban imposed by the federal government on German Shepherd Dogs coming into Australia. There is considerable correspondence between The League and the authorities in Germany, as well as the federal government, supporting this statement.
In approximately 1933/1934 the two bodies, that is The Alsatian Club of Victoria and The Alsatian Defence League of Victoria, merged as one club and was known as “The Alsatian Club of Victoria” up until 1937, when it formally changed its name to “The German Shepherd Dog Club of Victoria”. For a period of time, the merged club had dual office bearers, including club secretaries, to facilitate the merger. These facts were gleaned from the very early issues of the Victorian Canine Association Inc’s monthly magazine, “The Gazette”, obtained from the VCA Library. In the early days, this organisation was known as “The Kennel Control Council of Victoria”.
One of the most influential persons in the Victorian dog world from 1920 to his death during 1973, was his Honour Judge Normal Mitchell, who imported the famous Claus vom Eulengarten in 1929.
He was the Patron of the GSDCA from 1964 to his death in 1973. He was also President of the Victorian Canine Association Inc. (now Dogs Victoria) after convincing in the early 1930’s five individual clubs, who were each acting as a kennel control in their own right, to amalgamate. He also owned a number of breeds other than German Shepherds.
The Club has had a proud history in contributing to the affairs of its “parent body”, the German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia Inc. (GSDCA Inc.) commonly referred to as “National Council”, by not only contributing to the debate but also supplying many Executive members over the years.
The Club also has a very proud record in the efforts to lift the Federal import ban on German Shepherd Dogs, culminating in success with the ban being lifted for a trial period in 1972 and then permanently a year later.
In the immediate years preceding the lifting of the ban, our club’s demo team performed regularly in many locations, including the then VFL football matches at half time, to raise money to support other efforts to lift the ban. One of the principal purposes of the fund raising was to pay for a professional press cutting service to collect and forward to the club all reports of German Shepherd activity throughout Australia. At that time, there was a lot of negative publicity and any dog with a pricked ear was unfairly labelled an “Alsatian”. The Clubs and National Council followed up all of these reports and forced many retractions of previously run stories about so called German Shepherds.
With the lifting of the ban on a permanent basis, there were a large number of imported dogs and some bitches during the 1970’s and 1980’s which resulted in large numbers of puppies being bred and sold to the public, which in turn forced the club to develop branches to cope with the increasing number of dogs.
The Club has had a number of training grounds, including opposite Victoria’s original Olympic swimming pool, originally located in Batman Avenue Richmond, (now no longer in existence) and for a long time was located in the grounds opposite the Kooyong tennis courts, in Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn (now redeveloped as baseball and soccer grounds).
In 1977 there were three new branches, located at:
• Eastern Suburbs
• Western Suburbs
In 1982 the Waverley (Specialist Show Branch) branch was created, followed by the Latrobe Valley (1984) Geelong & Northern (1986), Skye (1988), Gippsland 1994 (replacing the Latrobe Valley), Wangaratta (1999 being replaced by Wodonga in 2000) and Bendigo in 1996. There was also a Mornington branch for a very brief period in the late 1970’s.
Today there are a total of 11 training branches of the GSDCV, serving german shepherd owners in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
It was always felt that in establishing a branch network, whilst causing some administrative problems, was a wonderful and effective way of promoting and protecting the German Shepherd Dog in local areas.
The web site gives an overview of the location of the training grounds at the branches above.
Of recent times, the club has had a wonderful record in supporting community causes, none better than the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, where originally members of the Western branch walked from their branch to the hospital, raising money along the way. As time went by, other branches joined the Western members and over the years a staggering amount of money has been raised. In fact, till Easter 2013 approximately $500,000 has been raised. Similarly, other branches have undertaken community based fund raising and promotional activities for the German Shepherd Dog in their local areas.
Written by James Rodger, historian
note: in 2017, Western, Eastern and Ballarat branches celebrated their 40th anniversaries, and Skye branch their 30th anniversary