The club was founded in 1968 by a handful of dedicated Golden Retriever enthusiasts led by Eileen Allen (Pengelli) and Bert Thomas, a well-known all round judge, great character and a much valued friend to the club.  Other founder members, whose hard work and determination  played a major role in establishing the Golden Retriever Club of Wales, included Margaret Ballinger (Meadowreen),  Danny and Joy Pritchard (Trebettyn), Ray and Angela Johnson (Grovewood).  It is an indication of the length of service given by these dedicated members that Joy is today the club’s President and Ray and Angela are Vice Presidents.

The first Open Show was held in March 1969 and judged by Mrs Elma Stonex, the doyenne of the breed, who also graciously wrote the foreword to the Club’s first publication, a handbook compiled to celebrate the 10th anniversary in 1978. Incidentally, Elma Stonex was proud to have owned the sire of the first Golden Retriever Champion to be bred in Wales, Ch. Mefus Morning Light. In 1972, the club was granted Championship Show status and at that first show Ch. Stolford Happy Lad, owned and bred by Peggy Robertson, was B.I.S, with Hazel Hinks’ Ch. Styal Sibella taking the bitch C.C.

Happy Lad


Also to celebrate the club’s 10th anniversary, Rachel Page Elliot accepted the invitation to judge the Open Show. She had visited the UK in 1976 to present her ground-breaking film “Dog Steps”, so it was a great honour that she agreed to return in 1978.

Gundog training classes were started in 1971 at Church Farm, Marshfield by kind permission of Gerald and Margaret Ballinger and with help from Joan Gill and Daphne Philpott.  Ray Johnson became the first Working Test Secretary, running two working tests a year. Field Trials had been held sporadically, but it wasn’t until recently that Lucy Jenkins established the running of two A.V Retriever Trials a year.

From small beginnings, a prestigious club was formed with a membership today of 300. It offers not only a place to meet and discuss the most versatile of breeds, but helps to raise the profile and awareness of Golden Retrievers, with its many and varied activities. Weekly obedience classes are held and an annual Limited Obedience Show.  In addition, two working tests and two field trials, open to all retriever breeds, are held. Eye testing takes place every year, as does the club Championship Show and Open Show.  It is a club with a homely feel, welcoming not only experienced owners but also new inexperienced dog lovers, eager to learn.