The first meeting of the Canadian Mastiff Club took place on Oct. 22, 1983 at Burlington, Ontario, with 9 people in attendance.
The initial membership fee for the Club was set at $20.00 - which is still the current rate, over 20 years later! A chair person was elected until formal elections could be held; a Code of Ethics was discussed, as were By-Laws, a logo and a Constitution. An information pamphlet to be handed out to the public was also debated. It was determined, at the meeting, that an application for CKC recognition would be submitted when the preceding items were all finalized. It was also decided that the Club's purpose was to be the education of the public, judges and fellow members regarding our breed.
The following months saw the Club hold elections; finalize the Code of Ethics, Constitution, By-laws and information pamphlet; and develop a newsletter and rescue service. We finally received CKC recognition on Jan. 1, 1985.
Through the years the Club has had various committees such as Canadian Kennel Club, Old English Mastiff Club (England) and Mastiff Club of America representatives, who were to keep in touch with these Clubs, offer help and advice, and be aware of any new developments that could possibly impact our Mastiffs in Canada. There was an OFA/OVC committee with similar objectives, as well as keeping records of test results done on members dogs. We had a Temperament Test committee, to again, keep records as well as hold tests, advise of tests, offer help for tests. A Social Services committee was developed to help in fund raising for charities; visitations for the elderly; donating dog books to libraries and schools; and any other positive public relations. The Membership committee was in charge of membership drives, and welcoming new members. A Health committee kept the membership informed about Mastiff health issues, and donated funds to research projects.
An archives was put together, and holds all the Club's varied and interesting history. There was a Ways and Means table which carried many unique Mastiff items, with funds being turned back into the Club. We also held raffles and draws to raise funds for the Club.
We held fun matches for any and all Mastiffs and their owners, with games, food, prizes and guest speakers or demonstrations. Club Boosters were held, (and continue to be held), for many years prior to our first National Specialty held on Sept. 4, 1994 in Cornwall, Ont.
Just recently, the largest Mastiff rescue operation this country has ever seen was orchestrated by the B.C. S.P.C.A. with the help of the Club, and assistance of the MCOA. Rescue continues to be a big priority with this Club.
Education has always been, and continues to be, important to the CMC. We held a very interesting and well-attended seminar with author and Judge Betty Baxter and her husband, Dennis, of Farnaby Kennels from England, of which, we still have a video tape and transcript. There have been several carting seminars, over the years. We also have a library of books that have been donated, and were intended to be on loan to the Club members. We have had articles in Dogs In Canada, Breedlines; and many of our newsletter articles were translated into French for our Quebec members. There have also been many "meet the public" events for dogs, in which our Club has also participated with our wonderful Mastiffs.
Three of Hyacinth Mellish's puppies on their way to England on March 31, 1949.
We also had the honour of installing Mrs. Hyacinth Mellish, of the famed Heatherbelle Kennels, as our first, (and to date, only), honorary, life-time Club member. It was truly a privilege to have known someone, who was so instrumental in keeping this breed alive after the second World War.
All in all, it has been a wonderful, roller coaster ride, with many ups and downs as enthusiasm waxes and wanes with new members joining in and old members retiring. I have some very fond memories of some extraordinary Mastiffs, and I look forward to getting to know many more.
Founding Member, Canadian Mastiff Club
Banda Mastiffs (Perm. Reg'd)