History of our club

Until the early 1970s, there were few Flat-Coats in the Southeast and were seldom seen at dog shows. In the following thirty years, the flat-coat population grew. Flat-Coat owners sought each other out and worked co-operatively to share information and provide activities for their dogs. The early owners gathered at local shows to share information and experiences. They took part in informal training days to prepare dogs for Working Certificate tests. Flat-Coats were beginning to be seen in Obedience rings. Many owners were members of the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, Inc and travelled to National Specialties to meet other owners and breeders and to return home with a better understanding of the breed.

By the late ‘90s, there was an active core of Flat-Coat fanciers. There was a greater participation at the National level as well as the regional. A match was held in the Atlanta area. A WC/WCX test followed. These events created interest in holding other events in the region and led to discussions concerning the formation of a regional flat-coated retriever club with strong ties to the national Parent Club.

In April of 2002, a request was made to the FCRSA for the requirements leading to the formation of a local club and the responsibilities of being an affiliated regional club. This information was sent by Dr. Nancy Schenck, then FCRSA Vice-President and one of the early Florida flat-coat breeders.

May 11, 2002: The first official meeting of the Southern Skies Flat-Coated Retriever Club, with 20 members in attendance, was held at the home of Claire and Martin Koshar in Montverde, Florida. The club’s first Officers and Board were elected:
President-Claire Koshar
Vice-President-Pam Hind
Recording Secretary-Donna Chocianowski
Membership Secretary-Katy Postrozny
Treasurer-Ginny Kuiper
Board Members: Joan Dever, Mary Smith, PJ Lacette

The Club’s stated objective was, and still is, “to encourage and promote the welfare of pure-bred Flat-Coated Retrievers and to do everything possible to perfect their natural qualities.”

The Club received recognition from the Parent Club and a Constitution and By-laws were approved.

September 21, 2002-The club’s first event was a supported entry at the Boca Raton show.
July 20, 2003 The logo, designed by Canadian artist, Marian Robinson, was approved as the official logo of the Southern Skies Flat-Coated Retriever Club.

February, 2004 The Club’s first sponsored WC/WCX event was held. This has become an annual event. Local Clubs are required by the Flat-Coated Retriever Club to conduct a field event annually. This is to maintain the dual-purpose of our handsome working retrievers. The annual WC/WCX tests fulfill this requirement.

March 15, 2005 The name Flat-Chat was selected as the name for the Club’s newsletter. A web site is developed.

2006- Southern Skies chaired the Hospitality Committee for the National Specialty. In the following years, the club sponsored successful Working Certificate and Working Certificate Excellent tests open to all retrieving breeds. DOCOF (Dog Obedience Clubs of Florida) teams have been fielded and club members have participated and excelled in the sport. The Club presented its second Meet The Breeds booth at the Eukanuba Invitational in Orlando and won a Group 3 for the design.

2007 found activities in all aspects of the dog fancy. The Club, under the supervision of Donna Chocianowski, took a major responsibility in the rescue of Flat-Coated Retrievers in Florida.

May, 2008 The Club sponsored a CERF certification with 41 dogs participating.
2009 Field training was offered in various parts of the state to encourage those new to the field. A practice day preceded the WC/WCX Tests. This event has been continued in following years. Southern Skies filed for incorporation. Incorporation was achieved.

2010 Policies and Procedures as well as Job Descriptions were developed by the new Board. By-Laws were amended to include Lifetime and Honorary members. Claire Koshar and Pamela Hind were named Life Members. The club was incorporated and indemnified. The website was re-developed to include contemporary updates.

The Club remains dedicated to the protection of the breed.

Club Presidents:
2002-2006: Claire Koshar;
2006-2010: Pamela Hind;
2010-2014: Kathryn Leonhardt
2014-present: Mary Smith

The SSFCRC, Inc. is a local club of the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, Inc. You will find useful information for flat-coat owners and anyone interested in the breed. Learn how to become a member of the SSFCRC, and how to participate in upcoming events and activities. We welcome all questions regarding the breed and interest in the club.