The first Saint Bernard exhibited in a show in South Africa was in 1895 in Cape Town. Since that time Saint Bernard dogs have had varying degrees of popularity in South Africa. Most of the early dogs were imported from England up to mid 1970, and from there onwards dogs have been imported from Europe.
The Saint Bernard club of The Transvaal was inaugurated in 1976 in Johannesburg by a group of dedicated breeders with a view to creating a forum for Saint Bernard Fanciers. It is the only Saint Bernard club affiliated to the Kennel Union of Southern Africa.
Among the founding members were names such as Hans Stienen, Peter Ghavalas, Freddie Maurhofer, Dieter Nagel, Robert Schraner and Wayne Wakfer.
The seventies and early eighties were known worldwide as the “Golden Years” amongst Saint Fanciers. In South Africa during that period Saints were one of the more popular breeds and the best year was 1980 when over 1000 puppies were registered with the Kennel Union of Southern Africa. Since then the number of puppies registered has declined annually in South Africa as has been the case in most countries around the world.
Initially the club adopted the UK Saint Bernard standard.
On the 1 June 1986 the FCI standard was adopted by KUSA and our club. The FCI Standard was revised in 1993 and then again in 2004. The revised standard was adopted internationally from April 2004.
Since around 2000 less than 200 puppies were registered annually in South Africa.
The Saint club has had good times and bad times during the past 40 years. Membership grew to over 300 at one stage but declined steadily for the past 20 years.
Over the years there have been some highlights as noted below:
1988 Saint Championship show judged by Dr. Antonio Morsiani of Italy: 65 entries
1990 Dr. Morsiani again judged our Saint Ch. Show: 54 entries
1996 Mz. Pat Muggleton (UK) judged the Ch. Show: 62 entries
1999 Mr. Jim White (USA) judged a grading and critique show: 45 entries
1999 Saint Bernard wins best in Show at 3 All Breeds Championship shows.
2001 South African bred Saint Bernard wins 3rd Place in Open Bitch class at World Union Show in Germany and 2 gradings of “Excellent”
2002 Saint Bernard wins Best Puppy in Show and Best in Show at All Breeds Open Show.
2005 Saint Bernard wins best in Show at All Breeds Open Show.
In 2004 the Saint club also lost its Championship show holding status.
In 2005 a new committee was elected. This committee worked extremely hard at building the club membership and held a Qualifying show, which earned the club the right to once again hold an annual Championship show.
Chairman of the club.
1976 and 1988 Mr. Hans Steinen, Mr. Freddie Maurhoffer and Mr. Peter Ghavalas taking the position of Chairman at different times
Mr Hans Steinen Mrs Myra Morresette
In 1994 Mrs. J. Venter took over the position of Chairperson, followed by Mr. H. Kranz in 1996 , Mrs. M. Morresette in 1997 and Miss H. Geyer in 2003
2005 Mr Kevin Young was elected as Chairman of the club.
Mr Kevin Young
2006 The club joined the international “Forum” as a full member.
2009 The Saint Bernard Club of Tvl joined the World Union of Saint Bernard (WUSB)
Our club is very actively involved in the international SAINT BERNARD community and club officials regularly attend international functions , shows, seminars to keep up to date with the latest developments.
We send delegates to the World Union of Saint Bernard club events when ever possible. We have also organised tours for South African Saint Fanciers to visit Saint kennels in Europe in conjunction with International shows and visits to the Hospice Du Grand St Bernard.
Countries we have visited are Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Britain and America. We are always proud to take our South African flag to show everyone that South Africa has a strong active club!
In 2014 our club attended the World Union of Saint Bernard Show in Germany and our Chairman Mr Kevin Young had the honour of judging the World show.
2016 We had another successful tour to attend the WSUB meeting. This time the show took place in Maia, Porta Portugal . We were represented by 6 club members and once again Kevin Young was privileged to judge the WUSB.
In 2017 we are planing to take our members to Switzerland for the 50th anniversary WUSB meeting and show. This will be followed by a tour up to the monastery at the Hospice du Grand Saint Bernard!