DOG SHOW ECONOMICS
Who benefits most from dog shows? Why do puppy mills prosper and show breeders give up? Is your breed or dog club thriving? You told us what YOU want to see changed.
April 2016 - Three years ago we asked breeders to share their thoughts. The response on TheDogPress/wordpress blog was overwhelming. We chose a few of the best comments which you will find below but first, let's review the economic picture.
AKC Income Over $60 Million Per Year
Registrations were plummeting but AKC invested in other sources, from "commercial breeders" to credit cards to kennel supplies. Today the American Kennel Club is no longer dependant on registrations from show breeders.
Professional Handlers Income
The annual income of many clients is such that $100,000 spent promoting a show dog is a handy deduction for tax savvy backers. The real professionals earn every penny and a big chunk of their income provides a good living for assistants and kennel help.
Dog Show Clubs Are Struggling
Dog shows evolved as a place where dedicated dog breeders compared breeding stock. Interest in dog shows and quality purebreds is in serious decline, a sad fact that shows up in the dog club treasurer’s reports. Today “kennel club” is an outdated phrase because only a handful of wealthy, well-zoned breeders can still have a kennel. Everything we know as “the sport of dogs” is in danger of complete collapse.
Puppy Mills More Prosperous Than Ever
Demand for high quality purebred dogs from show and hobby breeders is in serious decline and there is no one to blame except the American Kennel Club. Puppy mills, dubbed “High Volume Breeders”distribute their "AKC registered" product through pet shops and animal shelters. Mass production of inferior purebreds is aided and abetted by AKC’s PRIME pet shop software and decades of collusion with the puppy mills.
Show Dog Breeders Can’t Compete
Hobby breeders have no storefront, no TV advertising, no marketing firm. If Mr. Public sees a well-bred dog on TV it will be as part of a royalties-paid dog show telecast because AKC does not otherwise promote buying from a hobby show dog breeder. Buyers go to newspaper classifieds, local pet shops, or "puppies for sale" websites. If they go to the AKC website, there is no difference between puppy mills and hobby show breeders.
Bottom Line Dog Show Economics
The average dog show weekend generates over $100,000 for the local economy in food, lodging, gas, and supplies purchased by exhibitors. Clubs should be able to generate comparable income from entry fees, spectator ticket sales, parking, food concessions, and specialty items sold by club members. So what is the problem?
Urban shows are the most expensive to produce even though they generate huge spectator income since that’s where the most people live. Dog shows should be easily accessible but the necessity for motor home parking makes it difficult. Therefore there are no local dog shows because they are all "clustered" somewhere else.
Awareness Of Well-Bred Purebreds and Dog Shows
Most families know nothing about a dog show within driving distance unless a local channel carries a blip during or usually, after the show. Dog clubs need radio and TV pre-show coverage as a local news-sporting event. Are kennel club members (along with a friendly dog) handing out flyers at shopping malls, skate board or kiddie parks? Does your club provide directions, phone numbers, and tidbits about the upcoming dog show in every veterinary office, grooming shop, convenience stores, etc? Attach a free admission ticket to the flyers! That person brings family or friends.
Why Mr. Public Rejects Dog Shows
TheDogPress.com polled potential puppy buyers on how they feel about going to a dog show. Over 80% who “would consider” a pedigreed dog said they didn’t want a show dog, just a healthy purebred. That is a serious misinformation problem. Several felt that dog show breeders were too pretentious, charged too much, or they just wanted a dog “with no strings.” On puppy shopping at a dog show, responses ranged from “couldn’t find the breed” to “boring” and “I don’t understand what they’re doing” to “no one had time to talk to me.”
When we asked potential owners if they would consider Obedience, Agility, Field Trials, dock diving, or herding, most had no knowledge of such events. Our conclusion was two-fold. Public awareness is key to reaching buyers who might become exhibitors and/or breeders, thus generating income for dog show clubs. Secondly, today's dog show participants are harried professionals who have no time for pet-puppy-seeker questions.
Hello Dog Club Officers, Handlers And Breeder-Exhibitors!
What is your solution to dog show economics? Share what your Specialty or Kennel Club does to generate more gate. Owner handlers, tell our readers, including the dog clubs, how they can make dog shows better and more profitable. Professional Handlers, how would you improve show venues and club income?
Would you be willing to donate just one hour of your day giving a lecture and demonstration on how to train or show a dog? Junior Handlers, would you be willing to help out for the session? Of course the spectators can’t learn in an hour but your discourse will light at least one fire. Guaranteed.