Smooth Fox Terrier Club of Transvaal

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By the Late S. Arnold Raath, Founder of the Club

Having been an enthusiastic breeder and exhibitor in Rhodesia from 1952 to 1964, when I came to South Africa in 1965, I had to abandon my hobby for the next 14 years while re-establishing myself financially.  I did attend shows periodically and eventually in 1979 decided to re-enter the fray.  I wrote to several breeders of Registered, Pedigreed Smooth Fox Terriers who advertised in the Agricultural press.  One proud breeder sent me photos of her best KUSA Registered breeding stock (see photos) complete with 5 generation pedigree!

I was flabbergasted!  Many breeders who were registering sent me photos of their breeding stock - specimens which were TOTALLY ATYPICAL (see photos).

Individually and in my official capacity as the Chairman of the Club, I appealed to KUSA (The Kennel Union of Southern Africa) to stop registering these monstrosities IN VAIN! According to their Constitution, a breeder is entitled to register all offspring of a canine of any breed, provided the parents were registered.

During my annual leave that year, I dragged my dear wife, Jay, some 8 000 km all over SA visiting as many breeders who were registering "Smooth Fox Terriers" as I could locate.

I located 27 breeders from the Northern Transvaal, through the Free State and Northern Cape, the Peninsula, Eastern Cape and Natal - 22 of whom were breeding and registering TOTALLY ATYPICAL ANIMALS.  When I showed them all the literature on the breed and a Champion bitch that was travelling with us, all but 1 of them immediately stopped registering - I salute their integrity.

One breeder, however, who bred from 26 bitches and 12 stud dogs (and who registered more so-called Smooth Fox Terriers than all the otheer breeders combined) refused to cease registering.  The Club then embarked on a compaign of educating the public with articles in Landbouweekblad and the Farmers' Weekly.  It took 10 years of unrelenting pressure before this breeder "threw in the towel" and stopped registering.

Letters were sent to breeders of proper Smooths and the Club was formed in 1980 at the Agricultural Showgrounds in Johannesburg.

Then began the interminable wrangle to get the Club registered with KUSA. We wanted to call ourselves the Fox Terrier Association.  This was vetoed.  Then we tried The Fox Terrier Club - KUSA insisted that the word Transvaal had to be incorporated.  Then we were advised that if it were The Fox Terrier Club, it would  cover two seperate breeds Smooth and Wires and would cost more in fees.  Also if we were to become a show holding Club, we would be required to have 65 dogs in the ring (this was in 1979) in order to obtain and maintain a licence to hold shows. So reluctantly we abandoned the Wires and the Smooth Fox Terrier Club of Transvaal was born in 1980 and has been going strong ever since.

January 1997