In 1955 the Council Road Safety Officer for Sutton Coldfield was receiving many complaints about the large number of stray dogs roaming the streets of our town. In an effort to solve the problem he asked the advice of Miss Doris Thorpe of Roughley. Miss Thorpe was a well-respected breeder of Labradors and Scottish Terriers, a gundog trainer and obedience enthusiast.
As a result the first classes of Sutton Coldfield and District Dog Training Club were held in Miss Thorpe’s front field at her home “Markeaton”, Weeford Road, Roughley in April of 1955. Miss Thorpe acted as Head Trainer and was assisted by three trainers from the Birmingham Dog Training Club, but within 12 months had the help of three home-grown trainers. The club took off and Miss Thorpe continued as Head Trainer until 1972 when she resigned and the position was taken over by Miss Stevenson (“Steve”) who had joined the club in 1957. Miss Thorpe died in June 1985. The following year Miss Stevenson became our President and continued until her sad death in April 2011 at the age of 102.
The club continued to thrive year after year and after many changes of training grounds settled at Parkfield Playing Field in 1993. The club has trained continuously at the grounds ever since – only interrupted from March to June 2001 because of the foot and mouth disease outbreak and again from March to July 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2002 the club started training its members for the Kennel Club Good Citizens Dog Training Scheme and many of our members have proudly been presented with bronze, silver and gold awards. Two of our gold certificate holders appeared in a demonstration at Crufts in 2005.
Our Golden Anniversary was in 2005 when we held several events through the year to celebrate this milestone. Miss Thorpe would have been so proud.