On 1 September, Pirjo Onza, MBA in Entrepreneurship and Business Competence, will start working as Executive Director of the Finnish Kennel Club, Finland’s largest expert organisation on canine matters.

Pirjo Onza is moving to the Finnish Kennel Club from the position of Executive Director at the Helsinki Humane Society HESY, where she has built a new kind of operational culture for the society based on a common strategy and been involved in the process of launching new activities, such as the service package for the animal shelter of Viikki.

"I have been an active dog enthusiast and have been involved in dog activities through various associations for decades. I believe that the position of Executive Director of the Finnish Kennel Club requires the type of knowledge and experience that I have gained during the various stages of my career. Now was the right time to apply for a position that felt suited to me," she says.

Onza has previous experience in positions such as Sales and Marketing Director at Cityvarasto Oy and Country Manager at Nikon Nordic AB. She has also worked as a coordinator at Shetland Oy, a wholesaler specialising in the pet industry, as well as in various freelance roles.

She has a diverse educational background and has volunteered as a regional trainer at the Finnish Kennel Club in the Helsinki region. She also has experience in dog breeding.

Pirjo Onza enjoys walking around in nature with her dog. Her hobbies include nature photography and horses.

Pirjo Onza_nimitysuutinen
Pirjo Onza

Strengthening the role of the Kennel Club as a builder of dog welfare and social influencer

The Finnish Kennel Club is a major operator with almost 140,000 members, of which more than 2,000 are dog sports associations. Animal welfare is an increasingly important aspect of the club's activities. Of the approximately 800,000 dogs in Finland, an estimated 580,000 are registered with the Finnish Kennel Club, which is a very high number internationally.

"At the Finnish Kennel Club, we have great responsibility for the direction in which dog sports are developed in Finland. We also have the opportunity to influence international dog sports in many ways. Pirjo Onza’s election as Executive Director of the Finnish Kennel Club supports our goals. Her diverse experience as a developer of operations and as a builder of good interaction between different players is valuable to us," says Esa Kukkonen, Chair of the Finnish Kennel Club's Board.

"I have understood that the Kennel Club has expectations for improving its social impact, and as Executive Director, I would like the club's guidelines to be more visible when making decisions on social matters at all levels. Establishing and maintaining good lines of communication and proactive impact are essential here," says Onza.

Finnish Kennel Club to move from Espoo to Helsinki in June

In addition to the new executive director, the location of the Finnish Kennel Club's office will also change. On 24 June, the office will move from Espoon keskus to Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki. The office employs 32 people in various administrative and support roles.

The current Executive Director of the Finnish Kennel Club, Markku Mähönen, will retire from his position effective from 1 September. He will subsequently continue to work on a part-time basis on project duties related to the World Dog Show 2025 event to be held in Helsinki on 8–10 August 2025.

For further information, please contact:

Chair of the Finnish Kennel Club’s Board
Esa Kukkonen
tel. +358 (0)50 548 2682   

Future Executive Director of the Finnish Kennel Club
Pirjo Onza
tel. +358 (0)40 591 0407