As in England, New Zealand dog fanciers are interested either in breeding their dogs to a previously formulated breed standard or training their dogs to be obedient to commands. The New Zealand Kennel Club, which controls the dog fancy in this country, was inaugurated at Christchurch on 5 November 1886, when representatives of various show committees formed its first executive. In 1905 the club's headquarters were moved to Wellington, where they have remained ever since. There are now 37 all-breed associations with some 5,500 members, affiliated to the national body. In addition, a number of specialist clubs and the Dominion Gun Dog Trial Association have status as associate members.
The New Zealand Kennel Club is governed by a president and an executive elected annually by delegates from the affiliated associations. Of the seven executive councillors, four must reside in the North Island, and three in the South. The Dominion Gun Dog Trial Association has one representative on the executive of the Kennel Club. Since 1960 the New Zealand Kennel Club Gazette has been its official organ.
The functions of the New Zealand Kennel Club closely resemble those of its English and Australian counterparts. Primarily, it is responsible for adopting standards for the various breeds of dogs and for formulating uniform rules for competitions throughout the country. Since 1886 the New Zealand Kennel Club has maintained a national register of pedigree dogs of all breeds and over 80 of the 107 breeds recognised are represented. Between 5,000 and 6,000 new pedigree dogs are registered with the New Zealand Kennel Club annually.