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PUREBRED DOGS TODAY

 

Purebred dog breeders commented on the future of dog shows, the demand for pedigreed dogs, and AKC’s commitment to hobby breeders.

 

Is it possible the future holds none of the above? No demand for painstakingly produced purebred dogs when so many are languishing in shelters? Dog shows with little public appeal except on TV? Are there no longer big wins for the average breeder? Do Judges care less about adjudicating quality purebreds than patronizing handlers?

 

What about the American Kennel Club’s commitment to “upholding the integrity of its Registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function”?

 

Westminster Kennel Club Dog ShowThese are hard questions but reality demands answers by and for hobby breeders. But first, let’s examine last week’s New York Times article. Perfectly planned, the Sunday Edition immediately preceded the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show {Ref #1} which began on Monday Feb 10th 2013.

 

The NY Times says {Ref #2} AKC is “ostracized in the dog world, in the cross hairs of animal protection services, law enforcement agencies and lawmakers who say that the club is lax in performing inspections.” That charge is relatively correct.

 

More bothersome is the charge regarding AKC and Animal Rights. The newspaper states AKC “often lobbies against basic animal rights bills because they could cut into dog registration fees.” That is painfully true.

 

Despite the AKC spin on fighting restrictive bills like PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Statute) {Ref #3} such regulations only apply to small hobby dog breeders. They do not affect commercial breeders, i.e. “puppy mills” which are already Federally, State, or locally regulated. Significantly, the larger the dog breeding operation, the more money it contributes to the related economy (and politics.) The same applies to AKC. Commercial dog breeding operations provide the bulk of American Kennel Club dog registration income and other “perks” of the trade.

 

The New York Times says “As recently as 2010, roughly 40 percent of the A.K.C.’s $61 million in annual revenue came from fees related to registration. Critics say a significant part of that includes revenue from questionable breeders … or so-called puppy mills, which breed dogs en masse with little regard for basic living standards.”

 

The 40% figure declined from 90% when the American Kennel Club branched out into credit card, dog supplies, pet insurance, selling its trademark, and other income producing business ventures which some claim violates its Mission Statement.

 

AKC is the largest dog registry in the world and offers DNA testingAKC is the largest dog registry in the world. It offers DNA to check parentage, but that was after AKC rejected the new technology when AKC Judge John Studebaker (President and CEO of Argi-Genetics, Inc) presented a complete canine DNA package at 51 Mad Ave.

 

Relentless hounding by this journalist and the United Kennel Club’s implementation of DNA testing finally prompted AKC acceptance. At serious risk to its stud book, AKC agreed to offer DNA certification from same lab the United Kennel Club used, but at a higher rate, i.e. a nice profit. When microchipping became economically available, the American Kennel Club went into that business as well. That was a tremendous service to dogs and owners. There were health concerns about chips migrating but the value of chipping far outweighs the risks for most owners.

 

Even as AKC promotes dog shows through its lucrative partnership with advertisers and sponsors of Westminster Kennel Club (glitzy TV coverage, instant stardom), and the AKC/Eukanuba Nationals (with over $200,000 in prize money), the incentive to show one’s dog dwindles every year. As costs go up, from entry and handler fees to travel and lodging, the odds of winning go down.

 

It would be cheaper to take the family to Vegas where the odds are better and expenses are less.

 

Jacquelyn Fogel summed it up in her ShowSight Magazine column, “No other sport allows professionals and amateurs to compete against each other in the same game.” She explains, “they both play the same game but never compete against each other” as in college versus NFL football, Olympics versus the Stanley Cup etc. More troublesome but critical to the sport of purebred dogs, she observes “The number of professional handlers has risen exponentially while the number of true breeders has declined to a precipitously low level in many breeds.”

 

So what hope does a dedicated purebred dog breeder have of being able to prove the quality of their dogs in the show ring? Read what breeders had to say below!

 

The onslaught of animal rights laws (remember, the big AKC income producers are exempt from such laws) and competition for puppy sales in a sagging economy where breeders of quality purebred dogs are afraid to advertise, has seriously discouraged and limited the numbers of hobby and show breeders today. Once the backbone of purebred dogs, such breeders were the only ones concerned with preserving type and overall health in purebred dogs. Puppy mill and mass produced, commercially bred dogs are not shown, seen only by neighbors and the veterinarian, so the public can only compare them to the glamorous dogs seen on televised dog shows.

 

Fogel explains “raising multiple litters in the current environment costs way more than most of us can possibly earn back in sales by the time you figure in the cost of feeding, housing, cleaning and keeping dozens of animals healthy, plus the time you put into monitoring, health testing, training, and advertising and marketing the puppies, you’d have to sell each puppy for at least $3000 just to break even.”

 

She also touches on another sore point which has been discussed and written about for over fifty years. Fogel says “no other sport allows professionals and amateurs to complete against each other in the same game.” She is right, there is “no level playing field in dog shows.”

 

AKC can invent a dozen more titles for the dogs in order to encourage entries. What is should do is award championships in a “Limit” class and if that draws enough breeder and owner exhibitors back into the show ring, AKC’s computer system (or the Superintendents) could keep track of Group Placement points earned by owners competing against pro handlers.

 

With every edition of TheDogPress, we receive great comments and fresh ideas from you, the dog fancy. Some come as a Letter To The Editor and we welcome them but admit that there is no opportunity for you to comment on a point made by the letter-writer.

 

The questions are... What could be done to improve dog shows? Would a limit class work at all breed shows? Is there room for puppy mill registrations in the purebred dog market? What can the AKC do to generate income other than offer cut rate deals to puppy mills? {Ref #4} What can show breeders do to be more approachable for pet buyers? Should AKC spend more money advertising the value of purebred dogs?

GOLDDIGGER RESEARCH ON BEST FRIENDS

 

Mine for Gold in these References!

Ref #1 Everything About Westminster Dog Show

Ref #2 NY Times and slams AKC purebred dogs

Ref #3 PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Statute)

Ref #4 AKC Puppy Mill Deals

 

Felicia Luburich: Many good points are made in above comments. Human nature being what it is none of our doggy problems are surprising. I was a Pro handler for a short time. I stopped doing it as it COST me time & money above the handling fees I could not afford. I put titles on almost 50 dogs & NEVER made a profit. Few breeders would buy from me or breed to my dogs as IO won so often & steadily they were insanely jealous. Plus most buyers did NOT appreciate the dedication & quality dogs I had on offer & I sold many very good show quality dogs as pets. In the 1990’s I stopped breeding regularly & sold my property in early 2000’s. I had my 16th generation in 2012 & only sold 2 of 6 pups & to previous owners at a price I charged 15 years ago. They are 9 months & I still have not sold the two I do not wish to keep. The public is really to blame. They are buying pet shop & BYB dogs. EDUCATION is the key. (Good Luck !) I think most people who buy the poor quality PBs SHOULD get shelter mutts, as they are getting no better a dog. ALL Humane Societies WANT to stay in business to keep their jobs. If they REALLY wanted to stop the dog overpopulation it could be done only at cost to the dog owners& easily. When I was showing yes, I did get beaten by some handlers. But I had “Magic Hands” & could get 150 % out of the dogs I showed. I also did my homework & bred to the right dog for my bitches; NOT the winning dogs. There is a place for handlers. Not everyone can travel to the best shows for their dog or do the running needed for large strong moving dogs. The duty of the breeder is NOT to provide nice pets but to breed FOR the breed. To make a REAL impact on a breed for the better it is a numbers game. It takes 36 puppies to produce 1M & 2F that will make a positive influence on a BREEDING PROGRAM. Dogs produce according to their pedigree & the quality of their littermates which indicates genes that do not show in the stud, but he is likely carrying. People who breed occasionally can NOT have a breeding program & have little chance of having that KNOCKOUT PRODUCER !! which is what keeps a breed progressing.

    The closest to ideal dog breeding program is in Germany. There is MANDATORY quality control. Their dogs are in great demand around the world. In Rotties the 06 Club Champion sold for 100,000 Euros. I’ve NEVER seen the awful quality in Germany that is routine in the USA. FEW people can breed dogs & continually make substantially less when selling a puppy than it costs to produce it. In Germany the stud & puppy fees are fixed. NO PAPER WORK is given unless the parents have passed all health checks, have passed a breeding approval test & at least 1 parent must have a working degree. All litter are listed in the club magazine & graded according to the show, working & breeding titles of the parents. All judges must have bred the breed they judge ( except for very rare & breeds from other countries) & trained a dog to a working degree. It is the BREED that counts !! There are breed wardens too. Among their duties is to guide the new breeders in choosing a stud dog, as all puppies are inspected before sale & the BWs can see at shows what various studs are producing with various bitches. Again, EDUCATION is the key. This is a very complicated subject & can’t be covered in posts on the web. Breeders should be licensed & be apprenticed to a long term successful breeder to begin their learning process before they breed. In Germany if you are to be a butcher you spend 2 years working with & for a licensed butcher. If he says you are a butcher you get your license & a sum from the government. There are GOOD reasons Germany is in excellent financial position while the rest of Europe is in the pits. NO system is perfect, but there is much to learn from any really successful undertaking. I don’t have all the answers. However I don’t think most people “in” dogs are involved enough in the inner workings of all kinds of politics. When you lave it all to the politicians they will work to advance THEMSELVES. Join a political PARTY & YOU WILL HELP TO DECIDE WHO runs FOR OFFICE : WHO GETS ON THE BALLOT. If enough do it the entrenched polls will not run for office & will not be voted in. Democracy takes involvement. Boycotting the products of those aiding & abetting the HSUS & other of their ilk is also an excellent strategy. Get together & work for the BREED. The dog field did not get in this shape overnight & won’t improve overnight. You can also get on committees relating to licensing & deny such to all shops that sell puppies. There is more than 1 way to skin a cat.


Denise:  I think the way AKC could help Purebred breeders and the dog shows is by TV/radio advertising. I don’t know who promotes the Eukanuba or Westminster dog shows but if adverts were on TV locally so I knew when they were coming to my area, I’d be more inclined to go to them. For example: you know when there’s going to be moto-cross or monster trucks, why not dog shows?


Sue McClure:  The 25% purebreds in a shelter is BS unless you are doing some very loose identifications of “purebred”. I worked in a shelter and if it was black and tan with raised ears it was part sheperd, flat ears it was a hound. Tricolored – it was beagle. Really black smooth coat with tan points was either a mixed doberman or rottie. People identifying the dogs are mostly guessing. I’d been called in to check on an IW that was a borzoi and a husky that was a wolf. (owners of both showed up on the day) The “purebreds” included those with papers that were clearly not correct (a “registered” poodle was what appeared to be a mixed siberian). I’ve had people swear up and down their pit was a purebred English Bulldog. I took an ID on a bitter that was a “white boxer” – it turned out to be a real B&T doberman!

     There is a big difference in a well bred purebred and one from a pet store or “for the money or to get a repeat of Rover or show the children birth” breeder that will never show – from their story- “Because AKC shows are rigged” but in reality because their stock is inferior and often have disqualifying features. Unfortunately more people know Chinese Cresteds from the abhorent “ugly dog contests” – and GHU that long time winner is a father, passing on his horrid genes, than they do what a beautiful animal they can be when properly bred and cared for.

     The well-bred dogs are immediately recognized when they come in to a shelter, often because they have identification if picked up by animal wardens..and they are claimed quickly. They are not the “25% population. The last time I went to our area shelter to check on that supposed percentage, only one dog in the place was a quality purebred, and his owner came in while I was asking about it. The rest were mostly mixed dogs of popular breeds, such as labs and beagles and shepherds (very mixed) Dogs do get loose on occasion – not always because they are allowed to run. In quite a few cases I worked, the dogs were under anothers care when they escaped. One shy Swissie was loose for a month, working its way back home when I found and kept it in the area with food while the owner drove over to retrieve it. I had a call from 2 states over when I picked up an Australian Cattle dogs (over 30 years ago, when they were pretty rare). My point being that nicely bred dogs are seldom in the shelter long enough to go up for adoption.

     Unfortunately many are turned in – including those on contracts that say they have to return the dog to the breeder. PUT CHIPS in your puppies! In one case the breeder was still co-owner on the 2 Frenchies that were put up on air for adoption. Every breeder in the area that showed knew who probably bred them and called that breeder. He called the shelter immediately to tell them he owned the dogs and could prove it. (they still adopted the dogs out before he got there, and they did it on purpose, opening up the country to a big lawsuit) Just 2 weeks ago, a top breeder of quality bloodhounds was called because of a chip in a bloodhound that was turned in to the Tallahassee shelter (hooray for them) She drove right over to get this dog that had been sold on a return contract to someone that sounded like a wonderful home…yet he sent a worker to turn the dog in rather than call her to get this beautiful (my POTL) bitch – who was a sack of bones. In this day in age when someone who swore before God to love and honor you can walk away or even harm you, there is no way to be absolutely sure the home you vetted to be a good one will not prove to be less than hoped for…but by George, those dogs that are well bred are standouts in a shelter population and rescue organizations try to have good report with area shelters to get them back home.


Tam: The only problem with UKC is that there are so few shows out of the mid-west. One or two show weekends a year is about all you get in many areas.


Andrea:  I’d like to point out that more and more exhibitors are moving over to UKC because it is more fair to the dog and the owner. AKC is all about the professional handler and the judges they’ve wined and dined to give them a win. UKC makes things more fair by not allowing professional handlers to show someone else’s dog!

     I want to show my dogs myself, but when I arrive and see all these big handlers walk in the ring at an AKC show and know that the judge is in their pocket, it makes me sick. They can be showing the worst dog there, but yet they are the ones taking home the points. Stop telling the judges to put up professional handlers because it’s their “profession” and they need the income!

     I am tired of paying entry fees just to see nothing but big named handlers winning and the judges most times don't even look at a dog that’s owner-handled. It’s pathetic! And its the same damn people winning over and over.

     My dogs are just as nice or NICER than some of the dogs these so called “pros” are handling. My dogs have already lost to dogs that should not have won!

     It really saddens me, because I am passionate about my breed and I know my dogs are not only well bred, but championship material!


Equusarian01:  Hmm, it would be nice if research was done prior to writing but…oh well. Anyway, yes, AKC is a registry. So are UKC, ARBA, IABCA, FCI, CKC and more. They get most of their income from REGISTERING dogs. However if anyone thinks that is ALL they are – they are sadly mistaken. I deal with AKC and UKC mostly so will stick to those two. BOTH have DNA parentage testing available – I don’t care who did it first or how much it costs. Both have health programs. AKC backs a LOT of health related research into our beloved canines. Both have programs to disprove the b***s*** that the animal rights groups (HSUS, PETA, ASPCA, ALF, etc) are trying to force down the throats of our Congress and the general public. UKC has been much more ‘friendly’ to owner/handlers over the years but AKC is catching up on that with their new program “the National Owner/Handler Series”. I’ll admit that I gave up showing in AKC many years ago because of the professional handlers. I felt they took the fun out of the competition. I was happy to see a few owner/handlers at Westminster! the drop in dog registrations/ownerships is a bit scarey to me but unfortunately, understandable. the good breeders are afraid that if they advertise – the people knocking at their door will be the animal police who will take generations of work and throw it all away. (small advertisement here – check out “The Cavalry Group”). Shelters do have some purebred dogs in them – about 25% – I did the research. there are areas that have an overpopulation problem but overall the amount of dogs in shelters has dropped. here, the key is EDUCATION! it is expensive to properly care for any animal. and, if you add showing to the equation – the price climbs astronomically. the good breeders (and they far outnumber ‘puppy miller’) still do all medical testing appropriate for their breed(s). they have contracts for potential owners to read/sign. they take back dogs the don’t work out for the new owner. think about it – what do YOU see on the news? you rarely see any GOOD things but always the bad – the killings, the break ins, the domestic violence crimes and the bad puppy/kitten mills. you don’t see the work, the time, the sleepless nights we have watching and waiting as a bitch is preparing to whelp.


Nancy, in North TX:

     I’m logging nearly 40 years as a dog fancier and professional trainer. Back in the 1970’s as a less than confident beginner in the sport of purebred dogs, I attended some rather small shows and fun matches for over a year and then got my courage up to enter a big show at Cobo Hall in Detroit, MI. The handlers, owners and other exhibitors basically ate my lunch; I was brazenly criticized, stepped in front of, stepped on and ignored. For sure no one offered help or a kind word. The humiliation sent me home with my last purebred dog purchased for over 10 years. I went into service dog training, raising a line of cross bred retrievers that were very nice dogs, I did household obedience classes, took in bright, attractive mixed breed dogs for my personal dogs and class demo dogs and basically got along fine without the #&*!% AKC.

     Then a purebred dog snuck into my life from a local trashy pet store – I bought the little Rat Terrier in the cage that had been there for over 2 months, tugging at my heart every time I shopped for parrot food. She was a typey little dog with reasonably good conformation, and her temperament was stellar. Soon many, many people were asking me to breed her, it seemed everyone wanted a little dog like Hattie Rat, and I didn’t blame them !! :) I investigated how to find a male Rat Terrier – Hattie didn’t have papers, but there was a process in which she could be accepted by the UKC, if she had UKCI papers and to get those, I could send pictures and vet statements saying she was “typical of the Rat Terrier breed”. The helpful people at UKC talked me through the process and congratulated me over the phone when I’d finished all the steps to having my first UKC registered dog.

     Within the same time frame, I was becoming more and more interested in one of the “Rare Breed” dogs listed in the back of Dog World Magazine. I spent 2 years and several thousand highway miles doing research on that breed. I purchased a breeding quality female, I was encouraged by my breeder to attend Rare Breed shows, including ARBA and World Wide Kennel Club. In the world of rare breeds I found people that were much more like me in the quest to have dogs with good physical and mental traits to perpetuate our chosen breeds. There were wonderful conversations at the shows, often whole families were there and often would take pity on my childless condition and send kids to help me with any and everything that needed done. We shared food from our coolers, talked about the individual traits of our not very well known breeds and probably most important, had genuine feelings of good sportsmanship and joy when our new friends did some big winning. It was FUN to show dogs, not stressful or frustrating.

     In the later part of 1996 my rare breed club was feeling the pressure of having a club President and Secretary (husband and wife) who were getting older – ALL the pedigrees and records of our dogs since they were brought to the United States were in this couples house, with the exception of some floppy disks holding the information that were stored elsewhere. Our very bright President, along with the V.P who is an American Dairy Goat Association senior judge (an organization where the Judges have to give VERBAL reasons for placement) asked our club to vote on seeking breed recognition from either the AKC or UKC to have our pedigrees kept by a professional national organization. I still remember the pride and feeling of belonging I felt when we were accepted into the UKC – the club was required to do educational seminars for judges in several locations for one year and in 1998 we were a fully recognized breed with full show privileges and pedigree service from the UKC. We signed a contract that allowed our club to have a Single Registration process, the indefinite right to keep the stud book open for imported animals and encouraged us to bring our working dogs to the conformation ring, as long as we knew we had physical control of the dog. UKC had people that were knowledgeable and experienced with small gene pools that helped us write the contract and actually helped ringside with our unsocialized dogs at the annual Premier event in Kalamazoo, MI. Our breed, as well as the owners, breeders and exhibitors had found a registry we could call home.

     The times are changing at UKC. The quality of the dogs in the ring improves every year as breeders strive to achieve their breed’s standard and good AKC dogs bred to their standard(s) join the ranks. The judges are improving, also. And so is the quality of the lesser known breeds that have had their owner’s and breeder’s confidence boosted by an organization that cared about us. The shows are still often small, but not always. I don’t show as much as I did from 1999 to 2009, but when I do go there is still a friendly atmosphere at the shows, the judges will explain their placements when the Breed judging is over, the kids in Junior Showmanship are treated like the valuable resources of the future that they should be – along with any other child that shows an interest about a dog in any way. The animal rights people are being allowed to provide teaching material to kids in learning situations all over the country. There has to be a “next generation” to keep the art and science of dog husbandry functioning. Anyone that wants to participate should be given some encouragement and a friendly environment to attempt to learn about the activity that is so dear to us. I invite probably 90% of the AKC show and breeding people that I meet to come on to the little show in the little town near-by. And yeah, it’s at a fairground and some of the breeds might show out in a livestock show barn. We’re not uncivilized or anything, the toy dogs, non-sporting and dogs suited to the mats will have mats in a climate controlled building !! My breed club requested the outdoor area for our Specialty next month and I’m absolutely pleased not to have to take my working guardian dogs inside – I’ll bring more dogs, make more entries and ya know, I just can’t wait to be there !! If you are an AKC exhibitor, and have been thinking about trying a UKC show weekend, please do it. Plan to dress down and don’t expect much dazzle … until you stand ringside, or even better, handling your dog in the line-up for Best In Multi Breed Show – there will be no doubt you are at a dog show!


Shirley and the Shelties:  My son works at a shelter and he says a lot of the dogs are puppies from local breeders we would call puppy mills. He thinks they buy them because they make money from selling them.

Laura:  Like most that the comments above reveal, I am leaning very much to showing mostly at UKC shows. I have been showing dogs for 46 years and have never been so disheartened with the AKC shows. I have always shown my own dogs and truly love showing dogs. Through the years I have won in the group ring, National Specialties, etc. but it’s really difficult today for an owner handler, regardless of the quality of the dogs, to win. Personally I cannot afford the time or money for serious advertising, top handlers or attending shows weekend and week out. No matter how good your dog is, if you do not advertise, hire top handlers you are not going to win most of the time.

     It is said that judges put handlers up because, after all, that’s how they make their living. I have nothing against handlers. I don’t blame them, I blame the inferior judges. The dogs that are the top winners are the dogs that will produce the next generations of purebred dogs. If showing dogs is just a political game and held mainly for the benefit of professional handlers and the owners who can afford to promote their dogs in the manner that is necessary today, then what’s the point?

     I know that there are excellent breeders who use great handlers, advertise and have wonderful dogs who deserve the wins, but there is no way that the percentage of the group and BIS wins that go to the professionals means the dogs they show are that much better than the breeder/owner/handled dogs. Perhaps it’s time to have non-pro shows/classes and open shows/classes.

     The AKC has not done enough to protect the breeders of purebred dogs from the animal rights movement. In many places it’s almost impossible for small hobby breeders to operate. I am afraid that in the future, the only breeders will be the large commercial operations. That is very sad. In my opinion I think the AKC should spend most of the money it takes in to fight these organizations legally or else we won’t have to worry about the dog shows as there won’t be anyone left to participate.


Becky:  I am so tired of the AKC asking for more money to fight Anti-Dog Legislation when they have huge Corporate office in Manhattan! Why not move ALL the offices to New Jersey & cut down on the overhead? Why do the officers of the AKC get such big salaries?

     Something needs to be done about the judging & judges at AKC shows. Yes the professionals are favored by the judges. Most handlers do a better job of presenting a dog to the judge & can make a bad dog look better than the good dogs. But not all.

     Money talks in the show ring. The dogs with the ‘Big money Backers’, do most of the winning. Very rarely do you see a dog go BIS that didn’t have BACKER?

     When I enter a show I look at the Judging History of the judges for the weekend. There are many judges I will never show to. Several reasons, they don’t know the Standard, they are rough on the dogs, they only put up their friends, they only put up wpemen, they only put up gay men.


Mariko: As an owner/breeder/handler, I found it necessary to have a handler on my Special. I have received group placements while handling, but never a Group 1, as has my handler. I do believe that sometimes a handler can do a better presentation, but overall the handlers have the eye of the judges. I believe as breeders we have to breed better, to have more competitive dogs, and we all certainly work harder than any professional handler. If you wish to make money, it cannot be done with well bred, health tested, and well cared for dogs – this is a passion for your chosen breed. A “Limited” class is only going to point the current divide of the breed type vs. the handlers’ “show” dogs. There are some good judges, great judges, and those who are in it for their own egos. I will not pay to have the latter’s opinion in the ring. The bbreed standards have been so homogenized, I think some judges feel free to make their own standards.

     At my local shelter we have a majority of mixed breeds, if there are ever any “purebreds” those are obvious back yard or poorly bred dogs. I have yet to see and groom a well bred dog, thank goodness.


Sydney Morgan: AKC IS THE PROBLEM. ALL needed changes are needed to be made BY AKC.

     FIRST, AKC needs to re-prioritize. If priorities are aligned properly, the $$$ will follow.  AKC needs to elevate the altitude of its attitude toward the Hobby Breeder instead of trying to abandon the Hobby Breeder as they have in the recent past by getting in bed with large pet stores for the sole purpose of increasing registrations. That, alone, says volumes about AKC’s REAL priority, which we all know is $$$$. In this, they are no different and no better than HSUS.

     SECOND, AKC needs to provide a system for exhibitors to file complaints against judges, providing photos to substantiate erroneous or political decisions. I have a long-haired breed that is NOT to be cut, yet every dog that wins has blatantly obviously cut coats. Consequently, those who following the standard, lose.

     THIRD, AKC needs to find a way to stop the politics. As an example, a person in my breed has been showing for many years and always wins in their home state. Someone there told me they saw this person give a judge a card before that judge was to judge groups. That same individual won the group….. No one minds losing to a better dog. The breeders of this breed in that state no longer show AKC, because they know they have lost before they pay their entry fee. This is not good for the breed. This creates a special hardship in western states as those breeders only have about 6 shows available to them per year, and even those require travel, lodging, and food expenses.

     FOURTH, AKC needs to require judges to write a written critique of the dogs they are judging as they do in Europe and Canada. It’s not so easy to make a political decision when you have to back it up in writing.

     FIFTH, AKC needs to provide local advertising for all AKC kennel club dog shows.

     SIXTH, AKC needs to provide a step-by-step dog show manual for all AKC kennel clubs to give them the tools to ensure the public attending can find all of the events and schedules, as well as understand the schedules.

     The Hobby Breeder dedicates their blood, sweat, and real tears for the love of their dogs and their breed. They spend their own hard-to-earn money for quality foods and supplements, vet bills, health-testing ($200+/test), training classes, travel expenses, and grooming equipment/supplies. Think about the income from 1 puppy compared to the above costs. Most of the support for these dogs comes not from the puppy income, but first from the heart and then the pocketbook of the Hobby Breeder.

     Commercial Breeders are profitable businesses constantly checking the bottom line. Quality food, vets, health-testing, training classes, travel expenses and, as we all know, grooming equipment/supplies, do not appear on their Cost of Doing Business lists. Nor do they spend dedicated time socializing and potty training their puppies. And they certainly don’t provide the unsuspecting public with a 2-year, 5-year, or lifetime genetic guarantee!

     If AKC continues to climb in bed with the commercial side of dog breeding and showing, and start helping and supporting the Quality (Hobby) Breeders, the quality pure bred dog will be extinct in America. If the Quality (Hobby) Breeders can spend so much of their own time, love, devotion to the dogs, certainly AKC could freeze the enormous salaries for a year or two and shovel some of that excess fat into doing what’s right!


AnnMarie Saunier:  As a breeder I do not sell to anyone who is not willing to return the dog if the situation occurs. I feel that it is the responsibility of the breeder to be responsible for the life of any puppies produced. I do show and have been very frustrated when a lesser dog wins over one of mine. This will hapen in any venue but I have in the past few years shown my dogs more with the United Kennel Club than the American Kennel Club. Why because it is on fair playing ground for the most part. Yes there are politics and there always will be but I can win more often and have more Chapions and not spend a fortune. With AKC you have to have a professional handler what fun is that and it will cost between 2,000. and 10,000 just to finish a dog. I finished 5 dogs for 10,000 with the UKC in 2010 and had 5 dogs in the top ten. That is a big difference and it was fun. I was inspected by the AKC twice last year. No I had no problems and passed with flying colors but when I asked about how they chse they told me they only go to new breeders and I have been breeding since 1986. I also asked if there was a way to give them a heads up on kennels they should be inspecting and they flat out told me no. So do they really care about the way animals are cared for because I DO.


Loretta Tully:  Showing has become a sport only for the rich . The AKC does nothing to see that judges are following the standard when they judge dogs to be winners. I think that should be the AKC’s main duty. If I believe in and breed and show according to the standard I expect to be rewarded. Instead I have seen that the handlers win with dogs that are very inferior to mine (or other owner handlers) and it is disheartening. To me the AKC has become more like the HSUS, more interested in having money to pay their salaries than in upholding the standards for each breed. It is a sad day for those who really love their breed. And they wonder why the average person quits showing after 5 years…Duh!


Tam:  I think the system of awarding judging assignments needs to change. The good ol boy system needs to change as well as the handlers. If all the judges names in a given breed were put into a hat and chosen at random rather than by a show committee it would go a long way. There also need to be amateur division and a pro division just like in golf and tennis. Of course, for those of you who know me,I think Best of Breed should be the ultimate win. Eliminate Groups, BIS, and the infernal rankings.


Kathy Graves:  Why are so many purebreds in shelters? Are there? Please provide verified numbers before making these statements.

     How to get the public to dog shows again? I’m not sure that the public finds dog shows relevant any more. If you don’t know what’s going on the judging process is baffling and boring to JQP. If Westminster were broadcast without the hoopla and expert/entertaining commentary it would be a bust.

     Are there no longer big wins for the average breeder? I don’t think so, at least in AKC. Heck the Bred By awards at Euk always go to some big hat breeder who is often a pro handler as well. The “average” breeder can’t afford the $$$$$$$ needed to promote their dogs so the ex pro handler judges will know which dogs to put up. UKC is a whole ‘nuther matter which is why I only show conformation in UKC. My homebred/owner handled dogs have consistently been in Top Ten and winning Top Ten BOB since the breed has been eligible for Top Ten ranking.

     Do Judges care less about adjudicating quality purebreds than patronizing handlers? Duh! When every judge on a panel is an ex pro handler what do you expect? Hobby breeders don’t have the time or $$$$ to pursue a judge’s license.

     What should AKC do to promote well bred purebreds? Spend as much money on well produced ads promoting purebreds as the shelter industry spends on commercials promoting the PCness of buying dogs from shelters. Tell the public that purebred working dogs are leading the blind, saving lives in the police and military fields, finding disaster victims, etc. Make companion events way more average dog/owner friendly. Promote the advantages of knowing what you are getting when you buy a dog.

     How to get the public to dog shows again? Are there no longer big wins for the average breeder? Do Judges care less about adjudicating quality purebreds than patronizing handlers? What should AKC do to promote well bred purebreds?


Dolores:  The new AKC program, The OWNER HANDLER SERIES, that chooses one dog, owner handler ,non-professional , to be awarded the Best of it’s breed to go forward to Group and then BIS judging, is a step in the right direction. Only AKC has it backwards. THE ONE CLASS SHOULD BE FOR T HE PROFESSIONAL HANDLERS AGAINST EACH OTHER, NOT THE OWNER HANDLERS. We would then see who the best PROFESSIONAL handler is and they might even have the best dogs, BUT MAYBE NOT, And the owner handler winning dogs should be entitled to the same number of points toward the dog’s title. The article is correct that pros should only compete against pros and owner handlers that are not taking money for showing their dogs, should compete only against other owner handlers.

     More people are getting smart and showing their dogs in UKC. where NO PROFESSIONAL HANDLERS ARE ALLOWED TO SHOW.


Martha:  Many judges are former professional handlers. And they ‘reward’ their friends who are handlers, or they ‘reward’ people from clubs who get them assignments – judges need to return to the days of judging the dogs correctly, according to the AKC standard.

     I began showing almost 35 years ago, when there were few professional handlers in the ring. I saw so many great dogs at that time. Now, in many breeds, my humble opinion is that the quality of some breeds has suffered in proportion to the number of professional handlers.

     I have heard handlers laugh that they can finish dogs, no matter how bad they are, and if someone has a bad dog, bring it to them and pay them the big bucks and they will put a championship on it.

     I have heard at least 2 dog owners through the years who won ONE show, say “oh, now I can breed him/her because I know they have the quality”, when, in fact, their dog did not have good quality, it was just handled by a professional. Those dogs never won another show, and were never finished as champions. Breeding them did nothing but hurt the quality of the breeds they represented.

     AKC has copied UKC on a number of things through the years. The grand championship and the Reserve Best in Show, to name two. They need to coy them in not allowing professional handlers to show dogs, so that the DOGS are being judged.

     Judges need to be encouraged, no – required, to judge to the AKC conformation standard for the individual breeds and to NOT give ribbons to dogs they feel are inferior.

     Many of the old time breeders who tried so hard to breed correct dogs, have left the fancy due to losing to inferior dogs, handled by professionals. Or have left when it became apparent that many judges are putting up inferior dogs, and ignoring correct dogs. It is expensive and frustrating to continue trying to breed correct, just to lose. One person said they were actually told by a competitor that “maybe you should breed what the judges are putting up” rather than breeding to the standard, if you want to win. How sad is that? And what a sad commentary on the AKC.

     Any more there are a number of us who are beginning to prefer to show in UKC shows if there are both in the area at the same time.


Karen:  There have been many suggestions but the problem is getting AKC to listen. I have suggested that new judges have to critique their provisional breeds. This should teach them to use the standard and be familiar with by using its terminology. It would tell the breeders if the Judge has potential as this breeds judge and if they need to go back to school. The problem is AKC. They need to change.


Tam:  Incorrect. Most dogs are labeled, by people who proudly state ” they don’t know a cocker from a brittany” as purebred. Most are mixed breeds, not only two but many mixtures. Many are also maladjusted.

     As purebred fanciers we have a responsibility to make purebreds visible. Show in obedience. Take your dog out and about in town. Show your expertise by teaching free and open access obedience classes. When others see how the purebreds perform they will be favorably impressed.


Fred Lanting:  I’ve been in purebred dogs since 1937, a breeder about a decade later, an exhibitor/competitor for ages, and a judge since 1977. I think there are a number of factors causing dog ownership (and registration) to decline relative to human population. First, economic… more households where both “parents” need to work to keep up with rising costs and the Joneses, less money and physical space in living quarters (cities replacing rural/suburban life. Second, government pressures such as local restrictive laws passed by non-doggie politicians who want to run other people’s lives. I have seen the same decrease overseas (I have judged in some 30 countries). Similarly, lack of available space, insurance requirements, plus more municipal restrictions make it expensive and difficult to put on dog shows. Additionally, the nature of shows (competition) leads to dog owners/competitors forgetting the other reason shows got started: exhibition. It started by a bunch of good ol’ boys getting together to have a tankard and show each other what a nice hunting dog each had. In the beginning, it was all about utility… which farmer had the best sheepdog or hunting dog. Now, it is mostly which foo-foo dog looks prettiest and complements the owner-handler’s spiffy outfit (except, thankfully, some clubs like non-AKC GSD specialties and the UKC shows (which discourage professionalism of the business type, and stress fun and the dog instead). Fred Lanting — Mr.GSD @ juno.com


Denise:  Shelters? Most of the dogs are puppy mill purebreds. Dog shows are boring and you can’t ever find the breed you’re looking for. Maybe it is better to go to the shelter.

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