The British Association of German Shepherd Dogs has been active in Coventry since the late 1950s. At that time the organization went under the name of British Alsatian Association. Of course in those days that was the name by which our breed was known.

The British Alsatian Association developed from a club in Birmingham, The Birmingham Alsatian Association. The founder member was Frank Riego who, with great enthusiasm and foresight saw that one local club develop into a nationwide organization.

In the early days in Coventry, training sessions were held twice weekly. Sunday mornings at the Mercers Arms pub in Swan Lane and Wednesday evenings at the Brickmakers Arms in Cromwell St. Those were the days when pubs had a lawned garden at the rear!

Some names from those early days were Bryn Morris, instructor and chairman. Bill Brooker, member of the Executive Council. “Ollie” Byrne, instructor. Pete Browning, Ernie Hobson, and Bob Haynes were members who still have connections to the club to the present day.

Training in those early days was rather different to what it is today. Much more emphasis was placed on “firm” handling and less on reward based training. Exercises taught in classes were very closely linked to obedience competitions. Ringcraft classes intending to guide members who wished to exhibit their dogs were also very popular.

As the years passed the Coventry Branch tended to lean away from competitions but instead became a focus for German Shepherd Dog (Alsatian) owners in the area who needed help and guidance in the training and management of their dogs.

Members of the Coventry branch display team in the early 1980s. Can you identify one of our current instructors in the line – up?