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AKC SOCIAL ACTIVITIES?

 

The American Kennel Club's proposal to focus on activities for mixed breed dogs would depreciate the purpose and value of purebred dogs so we called the AKC.

 

Feb 2016 | TheDogPress Club News

Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief

 

The SCJA (Senior Conformation Judges Association) Annual Update included this quote from the March 2015 AKC Board Meeting. "The recommendation is that AKC provide the means for informal groups of dog owners that are interested in purely social activities centered on their dogs to associate with the AKC. In general, these owners are not interested in AKC’s traditional sports, breeding their dogs, or having the formal structure of the traditional dog club. They are not familiar with what the AKC has to offer."

 

Indeed, AKC needs to reach out to the public but was this a prelude to de-emphasizing conformation dog shows as the primary reason for the American Kennel Club's existence? The AKC Mission Statement{1} was changed to include performance events for what AKC calls Mixed Breed Dogs. This publication has proven that show breeders take a backseat to Commercial Breeders (puppy mills) in terms of AKC registration income.

 

We should have seen this coming when in 2009, AKC announced a new program for mixed breeds{2} after The American Kennel Club Board Of Directors "… voted unanimously to proceed with a program for mixed breed dogs which will allow it to act even more broadly and effectively as the dog's champion."

 

For over a decade TheDogPress has suggested AKC should advertise purebred dogs and the array of dog sports it already offers. The agenda for "social activities" is not what we had in mind so I called the American Kennel Club Secretary Jim Crowley. Mr. Crowley said he would check on it and get back to me. His next-day email response said in part, "there is currently no outreach program as the one we discussed in place nor any plans to implement one. … It was discussed in February … and March, 2015, but as the March minutes indicated it was not pursued at that time and it hasn’t been pursued since, mainly because of a fear by some that this would compete with and draw members away from current AKC clubs and events."

 

Well said!  Anyone who can balance a checkbook understands that AKC has to implement new income strategies, not-for-profit notwithstanding. Dwindling registrations from show breeders and the small percentage AKC collects from Entry Fees and Kennel Club dues cannot support a company with an ever-increasing budget.

 

What has AKC done to promote well-bred purebred dogs? Do you see magazine and TV ads depicting the advantages of owning a carefully bred, lovingly raised purebred dog? No. Does AKC point out the wisdom of purchasing a purebred dog with predictable size, coat type, personality and purpose? No.  Does AKC spend $1.00 to suggest that people should buy direct from AKC Breeders Of Merit - as opposed to the local pet shop?  Never!

But instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, why not address the fact that the baby is drowning due to lack of support?

 

We have personally implored AKC Board Members to reach out through mainstream media advertising. That hasn't happened other than a handful of televised dog shows which the general public rarely knows about.

 

Why doesn't AKC do more to encourage purebred dog owners' interest in the wonderful array of AKC events? A pretty pamphlet included with the registration certificate is not enough to interest new owners in obedience classes or dog shows but a reminder on puppy matches at 4 months would be timely. A flyer about AKC shows, Barn Hunt, Agility and companion events would generate interest when the pup is teenager.

 

The Senior Conformation Judges Assoc. (SCJA) started Judges Education, not AKC. SCJA and other judges associations must become involved in protecting their own livelihood by pushing the American Kennel Club to promote PUREBRED dogs and AKC Dog Shows. If the slump in purebred dog ownership continues, where does that leave the men and women who have devoted themselves to a craft that seems headed for antiquity?

 

Do the judges groups plan to judge "mixed breed" dogs? The SCJA states: "We can now devote part of our energies to the needs, loves and desires of the hundreds of thousands of dog lovers." And adds "... there are hundreds of thousands of dog lovers who are interested in the many other activities other than the more formal events."

 

What do you call a puppy mill?{3} See references before you comment! This article might change your mind.

 

Do you think moving beyond purebred dog events is right for AKC? Had you thought about how others see breeding dogs? How do you feel about this?

 

{1} Updated AKC Mission Statement

{2} New Program for Mixed Breeds

{3} Puppy Mill Defined

 

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