Dogs on display!

Saturday, 12 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Kennel Association of Sri Lanka will host its annual Dog Show tomorrow, 13 October, at the Sports Ministry Grounds, Reid Avenue, Colombo 7. This year the Panel of Judges will comprise three internationally acclaimed judges: the International Association of All Terrier-Clubs (FCI) All-Round Judge Monique Van Brempt, FCI Asia Pacific Section Philippine Canine Club President and FCI All-Breeds Judge Augusto Benedicto Santos III and German Shepherd Dog Club of Pakistan’s Secretary Mirza Saif Baig. The Association traces its beginnings to 1958. Deshamanya Siva Obeyesekere and her husband Deshamanya Senator James P. Obeyesekere were exhibiting their dogs at a dog show organised by the Canine Club of Ceylon. May Pacey had come from the UK to judge the Canine Club of Ceylon dog show. Pacey suggested to Siva Obeyesekere to start a Ladies’ Kennel Association similar to the LKA of England which held the second largest show next to Crufts in the UK. This suggestion was the inspiration for the creation of the Ladies’ Kennel Association, which has now become the Kennel Association of Sri Lanka. A sterling silver cup from the LKA of England was donated to the LKA of Ceylon. May Pacey was made the patroness of the LKA and she came back to judge a championship dog show in August 1962. She had judged the Best in Show at Crufts in 1962. The Ladies’ Kennel Association of Ceylon was started on 15 January 1959. During that time there were many Dog Clubs such as the Ceylon Kennel Club, Canine Club of Ceylon, the Boxer Club, the German Shepherd Club, the Dachshund Club of Ceylon and the Whippet and Greyhound Club of Ceylon. Siva Obeyesekere was 29 years old when she together with 50 Ladies formed the Ladies’ Kennel Association. Its office was in her home upstairs at No. 19, Race Course Avenue, Colombo 7. The inaugural meeting was held there. She was instrumental in getting dog lovers together, providing application forms and information to all those who called her on her private phone number 94631. This practice continued till 2011. The first LKA project was to get down G.M. Barrington, an authority on Alsatians and owner of the famous Britas Kennels in London, to teach local owners how to handle their Alsatians. The next protect was a Tiffin Lunch at the ‘Little Hut,’ Mount Lavinia on Sunday 9 August 1959. The cost of the lunch was Rs. 7.50. Business was combined with pleasure and the LKA started a three month dog training and obedience course for a cost of Rs. 10. The objective of the training course was to train dogs to be more useful companions, to protect homes and of course to show themselves off at dog shows. The LKA inaugural championship dog show was held on 24 and 25 October 1959 at Green House, Victoria Park, Judging the show was one of England’s foremost and most popular all breed dog judge, Lily Turner. A record entry of 257 dogs, the likes of which has never been seen at a post-war dog show, was held. Turner was confronted with the task of judging 665 entries consisting of 257 dogs. A record number of spectators packed the hall to overflowing. There was an obedience demonstration by members who underwent the obedience training course conducted by the LKA. The winning dog was Betts Browns’ Dachshund, Woodside Pixie. She beat among others, 10 French Poodles, 30 Alsatians, 30 Dachshunds, 20 Doberman Pinchers and over a dozen Fox Terriers. At the close of the day trophies were distributed by Mrs. Walter de Silva, who was the widow of one of the greatest personalities in the history of the Ceylon dog world and had many good German Shepherd dogs. The LKA started with 51 members. At the end of its first year and at its first AGM in 1960 it had a membership of 169 ladies and 20 gentleman registered exhibitors. Rs. 10 per annum was charged as membership fees. though the membership was restricted to ladies, gentlemen were encouraged to show their dogs as registered exhibitors. The next high profile project was organised by Yvonne Gulamhussein who served as the Publicity and Entertainment Secretary. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was claimed as the show of the year. The Ceylon Observer of 1 March 1960 mused: “Which is the Beauty and which is the Beast?” This point may have caused a cold war between canine enthusiasts and fashion devotees at the Mount Lavinia Hotel on Saturday 5 March 1960 at 9 p.m. This was Gulamhussein at her original best. This supper dance was organised by the LKA. The highlight of the occasion was a show in which 20 sophisticated and practical ensembles specially designed for the occasion by Yvonne were worn by 10 beautiful models. Supporting them were a canine cast of champion and pet dogs lending a balance to the outfit. The music for this event was provided by Tony Felice and his band. The LKA got a lot of exposure from this event. After this spectacular event the LKA organised a dog show in Nuwara Eliya on 4 May 1960. Mrs. W. Sotherland Frazer’s miniature French Poodle was the champion. Of all the LKA functions, their lunches were the most popular. All functions of the LKA were distinguished for their dĂ©cor which was the handiwork of Rita Jilla whose expert artistry was always much appreciated. The menu cards had a French flavour. It was often printed in verse by Fumet with some garnishing by James Obeyesekere. Colour to these occasions was always lent by Yvonne Gulamhussein and Rita Fernando. In the years to come such was the enthusiasm shown by the ladies led by Siva that there were many shows, lunches, dinners organised by the LKA. Many ladies worked hard, some of them were Mallika Perera, Ira Wijewardane, Yvonne Gulamhussein, Maryse Fumet, Mrs. Bibile, Mrs. Sethukavalar, Rita Jilla and Zaidee Tissera. Many others too worked hard to up lift the pedigreed dog standards in Sri Lanka. The first Rottweiler a new breed introduced to Sri Lanka was shown in 1983, at that time only the LKA held dog shows in Sri Lanka. The next milestone came in 1990 when the LKA invited Japanese judge Toyosaka Karigabu to judge their show. At this point it was suggested that the term “Ladies” be dropped and the Association changed its name to the Kennel Association of Sri Lanka. Membership was open to both ladies and gentlemen. Siva Obeyesekere worked tirelessly to affiliate the Association to the Federation Cynologique International, the Asian Kennel Union, the American Kennel Club, the Japan Kennel Club, and the Kennel Club of England. The KASL supports good breed standards of dogs. It strives to improve and standardise pure bred dogs in Sri Lanka. It continues to encourage and promote the rearing of pure bred dogs and looks to improve their quality. Dog owners are educated about their responsibilities, responsible breeding of dogs and encourages owners to reflect on canine interests their companionship and values. The KASL regularly organises championship dog shows. The Association had to face many challenges as it grew successfully. Each challenge has been met. Siva Obeyesekere is the Patron of the Association. She will continue to advice, and assist the committee. She has organised and run 77 championship dog shows, 52 AGMS and numerous other events. Her interest in the Association will continue as she hands over her Secretary post which she has held for 52 years to the new Secretary Capt. Errol Dharmaratne in 2011. KASL acknowledges her hard work, her knowledge, dedication and expertise. The new President Nela de Zoysa and her committee will continue to strengthen the Association and make a positive contribution to the dog community in Sri Lanka. The Kennel Association of Sri Lanka is the recognised national body for pure bred pedigree dogs in Sri Lanka. The Association is affiliated and has reciprocal agreements internationally. It is affiliated to the Federation Cynologique International the Asia Kennel Union, the Japan Kennel Club,the Kennel Club England and the American Kennel Club. The KASL pedigrees are accepted by all kennel clubs throughout the world.

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