Interview with Helena Suni, President of the Finnish Kennel Club
The Finnish Kennel Club, founded in 1889, can boast being the oldest canine organisation in the Nordic countries. Congratulations, you are celebrating your 125 anniversary! What does this immediately call to mind?
I will remember our anniversary theme «Good living with dogs for 125 years». The Finnish Kennel Club has lived a good life with dogs all through its history and wants to offer this possibility to dog enthusiasts also in the future. We also want to show the world that the well-being of dogs is our absolute priority.
How does it feel to organise one of the biggest canine events ever, with an impressive entry of 21 247 dogs, in connection with your 125 anniversary?
It was clear from the beginning that the World Dog Show 2014 would be the main event of our anniversary. We succeeded in our goals and got the whole world to celebrate with us and spread our anniversary theme all over the world.
Why is Finland such a doggy country?
Finland is the country with the largest amount of dogs in proportion to the number of inhabitants. Dog activities are here for everyone, not just a small group of people. And almost 80% of our dogs are pure-bred, registered dogs with whom people want to participate in different activities.
Could you do without your lobbying activity on a national level and how successful is it?
The Finnish Kennel Club has very good community relations. We interact constantly with the Finnish government and the parliament. We try to have an active approach to the legislation, e.g. at this moment we participate in the renewal of our animal protection law.
In your opinion, what is the next big challenge in the canine world?
The essential issue is to secure the health of pedigree dog. One way of doing this could be the Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) project. The vision and mission of the project is to : « Facilitate collaboration and sharing of resources to enhance the well-being of pedigreed dogs and all dogs worldwide. An enduring global collaboration enhancing dog health, well-being and welfare and human-dog interactions. »
And what is your next challenge, as the President of the Finnish Kennel Club?
To continue the work of the Finnish Kennel Club as it currently is in the same direction and to possibly even enhance it. This way Finland will continue to be a good dog country for enthusiasts, both dogs and people and can serve as an example for the rest of the world.
Can you tell us about the two books which will be published on the occasion of the 125 anniversary?
Two books have been published in honour of our anniversary. In the beginning of this year a book called «Elämää koiran kanssa – suomalainen koiraharrastus ennen ja nyt» (Living with dogs – Finnish dog activities today and in the past) written by Kaija Unhola was published. This book compiles the complete 125-year history of the Finnish Kennel Club in the same book. Tapio Eerola’s book on Finnish dog breeds was published for the World Dog Show.
Can you tell us what the public will be able to see in the framework of the historical exhibition put together to mark the jubilee year?
The exhibition tells the 125-year long story of the Finnish Kennel Club with pictures and historic video films. Moreover, the specialty of the exhibition is an ancient Chinese terracotta dog, donated to the Finnish Kennel Club by the President of the World Dog Show Kari Järvinen. This item is more than 2 000 years old.
The magazine of the Finnish Kennel Club (Koiramme) is followed by 380 000 readers! What makes it so popular?
The excellent quality of our magazine Koiramme guarantees our great number of members. The magazine is an activity magazine edited on general journalistic grounds and its content is based on expertise and reliability which makes the content also very versatile.
The Finnish Kennel Club is well known for its well-developed youth activities, counting 6,000 members; why is it important to foster them? The future lies with the youth.
Interview: Marie Luna Durán FCI Marketing and Public Relations Manager