In July of the summer of 1964, a group of fanciers came together to form the first Afghan Hound Club Of Canada. These people included Bob Lane from Montreal, who owned Tangar el Myia, Myles and Greta Phillips ofKophi, Betty Thompson of Twin Willows Shelties and, of course, Mary Matchett of el Myiafame. Mary agreed to support the fledgling club but thought that the idea was a mistake. She became honourary president while Bob Lane became president. That first meeting decided that membership fees would be five dollars, even for families, rough drafts for a constitution would be made by Messrs, Lane and Phillips, with the final version held in abeyance until all aspects of the club could be considered, and that the club would publish a newsletter to be called “Afghan Activities”, which eventually became “Afghan Actions”.
The first booster show was arranged and was held in Scarborough on September 27, 1964. This was a very exciting event for Canadian Afghanites. Mary Matchett brought Televee Muringa el Myia, Bob Lane entered Tangarwith Malcolm Fellows handling, and Am Can Ch Smokedream of Stormhill came up from Detroit. Local fanciers brought every hound that they could muster. Smokedream became the eventual best of bred winner
From that beginning, the club began to grow steadily. Early members included Mrs Helen Lovett of Ronas Hill ,Mrs Barrett, Skip Walker of Moonmist and Vera and Doreen Hampton of Zarada, all of whom were tireless workers in the club’s name. Later saw the addition to the roster of Jack and Elaine White, Susan and Bruce Ball, the Braaes as well as many others. By 1966 the club had members in most provinces. Dr David Marshheaded a division in Winnipeg and Bill Green formed a Vancouver division. Boosters were held across the country in the name of the AHCC, with trophies bought from national club funds.
Initially, two yearly trophies were established, these being the Presidents trophy for Top Afghan, sponsored by Kophi Kennels, and the top Canadian-bred Afghan trophy offered by Zarada Kennels. These awards were held for a year, with a loving cup presented as a permanent reminder. In 1966 the Presidents Trophy went to Can. Am. Bda. Ch Horningsea Tzaama, with the Mary Matchett Memorial Trophy for best Canadian-bred going to Ch Zanda’s Kumala Khandari.
In October of 1966, the club held a fun match, presided over by CKC recognised judge Helen Sinclair with best of breed going to Jouhart Sahra, while best of opposite sex and best puppy were garnered by Kophi’s Star Solitaire. 1967 brought something different for the enterprising members of the AHCC when, in October, held in conjunction with the Greenwood Kennel Club’s annual championship shows. Out of twenty three entrants, Ch. Kophi’s Mystic Sir Artic became the winner, with the top female being Khantayas Victoria. Top racing puppy was Queensway Nasheim Mahali.
To fulfil the CKC rules allowing a breed club to hold a recognised speciality, a CKC approved all-breed sanction match was held on the grounds of Kophi Kennels in 1968, judged by Helen Sinclair. A CKC inspector signed his approval of the conduct of that match and the club was on its way to holding its first national speciality.
The Annual Awards started up, and in 1967 Can. Am. Bda. Ch Horningsea Tzaama won the Presidents Trophy again, with the top Canadian-bred being Ch Kophi’s Duke of Tirik. A Mary Matchett Memorial plaque was instituted for top Canadian-bred-puppy and that year it went to Felhunds Sinbad.
In October of 1969, the club held its first national speciality in Don Mills at the Holiday Inn, the first event to be held in that new hotel’s main ballroom. Dress was formal with the ladies in long gowns and the gentlemen in dinner jackets. Eighty Afghans were entered under judge Marna Dodds from England. Best of breed went to Am Ch Aryan Don Juan. The show had a master of ceremonies, Malcolm Fellows, and no club had ever put on such a spectacular show!
The club continued to support championships with boosted entries across Canada. Many of these shows were benched. Club members became famous for having the best decorated benches, thanks to the “set decorations” of both the Braaes and the Balls.
The club lobbied for later starting times at championship shows for coated breeds like the Afghan because of times Afghan fanciers found themselves in the ring at eight or nine o’clock in the morning, as the groups were done alphabetically. All breed clubs were encouraged to give the hound group a bigger ring, thanks to the Afghan people as well. The CKC was pressed to increase the point scale for Afghans, as it was felt by the club that this would improve the quality of the hounds finishing.
This year, the Afghan Hound Club Of Canada is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary of serving the country’s fanciers. From its inception in 1964 until today, the AHCC has been and will continue to be a voice to be reckoned with.