The Great Pyrenees Club of California began life as a group of fanciers who brought Pyrs into the State in the 40's and was formally organized in August, 1950. The organization was originally comprised of fanciers throughout the State, but in the late 1970's, members in the Southern part of the State formed their own club and the AKC determined that the area of geographic interest of the Great Pyrenees Club of California was henceforth to be centered around the San Francisco Bay area. Accordingly, the majority of members now live in the nine Bay Area counties but membership is extended to Pyr owners from the Oregon border to Kings County and eastward into western Nevada.
The principal organ of communication for the Great Pyrenees Club of California is the bulletin Pyr News and Notes. It contains news and articles of interest to Pyr owners and information about Club activities. Its articles are chosen to appeal to the owner of the family pet, the livestock guardian dog owner and the show fancier. The PN&N is sent to all members in good standing and is available by subscription only outside our membership area.
The Great Pyrenees Club of California was a pioneer in formulating both a workable Code of Ethics for its members and a comprehensive Rescue Policy for the care of homeless Great Pyrenees. In 1982, California's Code was used as a model for that of the Great Pyrenees Club of America; in 1988 the Rescue Policy became the guideline for development of rescue policies throughout the nation.
The Code of Ethics outlines conditions for breeding sound, healthy Pyrs, sets minimum requirements for care of pups and relationships with puppy-buyers, and encourages honest, open communication among members. Deliberate violations of the Code are few; inadvertent violations are seen as indicating a need for better communication and further education of those involved.
It's rescue activities are administered by Great Pyrenees Rescue of Northern California, Inc. , a separate 501(c)3 corporation with its own Board of Directors, drawn from those active in Rescue. It provides for the care and placement for homeless Great Pyrenees and is very generously supported by the membership. It is recognized by Humane Societies and animal shelters as a model of Breed Club responsibility.
As an AKC-licensed Breed Club, the Great Pyrenees Club of California sponsors an annual Specialty Show, for Great Pyrenees only. This is not only an occasion to show off the dogs, but a chance for all members to get together and personally meet people and dogs who have been only a name in the newsletter.
The Great Pyrenees Club of California sponsors several annual awards for members. These are awarded at the annual meeting banquet and at present include: the Major de Fontenay Trophy for the member-owned show dog which defeats the greatest number of Great Pyrenees in show competition; the Britannic's Midsummer Knight, UDT Trophy awarded to the dog earning the highest average qualifying score in Obedience; the Downing McKee Trophy given to a member for participation in Club activities; the Jackie Bowden award for service to the club; the Go-Fer award, awarded to one who works behind the scenes and an award to the highest scoring Junior Handler. Every member whose dog completes a Championship, Obedience Title or Versatility Degree is awarded an enameled medallion. Members who are particularly active in the Rescue Service are acknowledged with a Certificate of Appreciation at the annual Rescue picnic.
There is only one General meeting each year. The routine business of the Club is conducted by an annually-elected Board of Directors, whose meetings are open to all members and the location published in the Pyr News & Notes.
The Club sponsors a couple of picnics called "Pyr-Ins" each year,to which all Pyr owners are invited with their dogs. The activities vary, but generally include a mix of practical workshops -obedience, grooming, agility - and just-for-fun competitions -longest tail, oldest dog, fastest eater, etc. These and other activities offer a chance for a dog and owner to complete another part of the Versatility Degree requirement.
No matter what your reasons for getting a Great Pyrenees -whether for show, as a pet, a livestock guardian, an obedience or therapy dog - you can find others in the Club with similar interests. Members have taken Pyrs through obedience titles, including Utility and Tracking. They can empathize with the frustration first-time Pyr-trainers feel. Many members use their Pyrs to protect family farms and are glad to pass on information regarding the care and training of a livestock guardian dog. Some Pyrs see duty as Registered Therapy Dogs, visiting schools and rest homes. Pyrs can pull carts and carry backpacks; they go for long slow walks and short fast runs. They will frustrate, fascinate and infuriate you - and through the Great Pyrenees Club of California you will always find someone who shares your interest.
For membership information contact: the Membership Chair