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Our History

A core group of eager dog enthusiasts in the San Rafael/Marin area met in June 1958, at the Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, CA, to discuss forming a dog club. By the July meeting, the group was considering different names for their club. Under consideration was Tamalpias Kennel Club, San Rafael Kennel Club and the majority attending voted for Sir Francis Drake. The fledgling club put on two successful all-breed matches and obedience trials during the following year to prove to AKC that they were a capable group.

Drake’s first licensed all-breed show and obedience trial was held at Albert’s Field in San Rafael on July 3, 1960 .

The club was incorporated in 1961.

In the early years the all-breed shows and obedience trials were held in Ignacio on the Alvarado Inn’s grassy lawns (now Inn of Marin) . The entry in those days was around 500 dogs, which called for two conformation rings along with one obedience ring.

The show site changed in 1967 to the Peacock Gap Country Club in San Rafael and was held on the golf course. The entry was growing and one Drake member recalls that the club lost the show site because exhibitors’ trailers had damaged the golf course’s sprinkler system. From there the show was moved in 1973 to the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael. By then Drake’s population had grown to over 80 active members, which included top breeders, exhibitors, handlers and licensed judges.

Drake was well known for its fun matches and consistently drew well over 1,000 entries. In the 70s and 80s there were not many licensed clubs in the area and fun matches were available to the fancy on a regular basis. By the mid 80s, the entry at Drake’s all-breed shows held in the spring and fall soared to almost 3,000 dogs. It was a great time to show dogs in America and Drake brought in some of the best judges available to the fancy. During mid 2000, Drake dropped the spring show and began holding back-to-back shows in September. Agility trials were also added to the venue.

The shows continued on at the Marin Civic Center until 2010, when the Board made the fiscal decision to move to the Solano Co. Fairgrounds in Vallejo.

The club’s official territory is still Marin County and they remain the only licensed dog club in Marin County. Drake’s shows are the largest AKC shows in the United States that weekend. Consequently, the top ranked dogs from around the country attend and vie for Group and Best in Show points.

In 2015, we combined our weekend with Lake County Kennel Club of Northern California to offer the fancy a four-day weekend in Vallejo (Thursday through Sunday). The Lake-Drake Cluster has grown in size and popularity and continues to offer the same warm hospitality and excellent judging panels our exhibitors have come to expect. Join us!

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