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Juniors Showing Mixed Breeds In AKC

 

AKC was founded and is supported by PUREBRED dog breeders so will the next Madison Avenue money-motivated change be mongrels in ALL dog show classes?

 

February 18, 2021

Vickie Haywood, Dog Sports Editor and SAAB Member

 

There is already one, the AKC Canine Partners™ program which “allows all mixed and hybrid breed dogs of any age…” Perhaps the American Kennel Club will institute regular exhibition classes for mutts and everyone can show in that ring? If AKC can be swayed by petitions from a few dog clubs that want to increase their revenue, will it institute a pilot program for Juniors using mixed breed dogs?

 

 

Yes it will. The dogs will be registered with the AKC (of course) as the most obvious breed quality the dog represents. Participation in Junior showmanship classes goes into effect on July 1, 2021, they will show for 18 months, then assess it in 2022. Each club can elect to participate or choose not to. AKC January Board Minutes {Ref 1}

 

I was a 4-H’er and I have written about this very subject in “No Mixed Breeds In Poodle Club Agility” {Ref #2}. I was a 4-H leader for 2 dog clubs in 2 different states in the 70's and 80's. We did not have a lot of support nor a lot of guidelines, we pretty much figured it out and wrote our own guidelines. We solicited sponsors and put on our own 4-H dog shows.

 

Most of the kids started out with mix breeds and there were only a few shows where they could even participate, it was only after they convinced their parents they were going to stick with the program and do the training that they were allowed to seek a purebred to enter the AKC world. In many cases, we solicited dog clubs near us to search for a purebred the kid was interested in and in every case, we were able to obtain a nice dog for a kid to show. Remember, this was by word of mouth and recommendations from other breeders, LONG BEFORE the internet! As a lifelong believer in 4-H, as a participant and leader, I certainly appreciate kids and dogs.

 

I was 8 when I got my first dog from a shelter in Norfolk VA. An unregistered field bred springer, the results of an accidental breeding whose litter owner chose to donate the litter to the shelter rather than cheat in AKC. I can honestly say, if the other 5 families that got one of those pups were half as great as ours, they got a fantastic family pet.

 

I have owned and groomed many mixes and I have nothing against mix breeds, cross breeds or whatever you want to call them, one sleeps in my bed every night!

 

What I do have ISSUE with, is using MY BREED! Poodles are what the vast majority of designer dogs are bred with to create the new designer-mixed-breed dog. They create these money-making projects, selling unsuspecting people a bill of lies and deceit praising their new designer crosses and selling them for thousands of dollars. It is a RARE "breeder" that bothers with any health testing and probably almost non-existent on these mixed breed parents. Even more rare would be any contract of sale or any breeder follow-up after the sale.

 

WE have already had AKC enter the mixed breed world by allowing clubs to CHOOSE a check in a box to allow mixed breeds in obedience, rally and agility. NOW the club can also CHOOSE to allow a Junior handler to enter a dog show with a mixed breed by placing a check in another box. I have already documented why my POODLE club chose not to check the box and how we were vilified for not allowing mixes to run in our trials. We saw how it hurt the club’s entries and angered the public.

 

Yet again, AKC seems to be setting up the breed clubs (not just mine…) to suffer public outrage because WE, the face of purebreds might CHOOSE not to support their next wave of money-making registrations. This will hurt all breed club entries and anger the public, all for the sake of AKC recording fees and the ability to make money on purebred dog shows.

 

 

IF there is TRULY a need for 4-H kids and junior handlers to find decent AKC registered dogs to show, then why not set up a database of AKC purebred dog breeders who have dogs they are willing to sell, lend, co-own or give? How many 6-year-old retired dogs are laying around being couch potatoes that would just LOVE to be back in the ring? Let’s pair them up with a kid!!

 

I have nothing against kids and mix breed dogs but I have so many questions…

 

Like how can this possibly work in favor of the kid? When you have a doodle-something (perhaps Lab or Golden crossed with a poodle) and it LOOKS like a Poodle but it’s built like a Lab or a Golden, how do you intend to present that dog? If it looks like a Poodle, unless rules have changed, it must be presented like a Poodle, haircut and all.

 

What about a dog that looks like a German Shepherd but does not possess the physical structure nor temperament to be presented as a GSD? Or the Blood Hound that looks like a Whippet?

 

The kids will be trying so hard and not getting very far with their mixes simply because no one can write a standard of excellence for a breed that doesn’t exist. The child may be showing it like a Labrador instead of like a Poodle which is what the judge sees. How is the kid supposed to know which way to present it to the judge?

 

How about bite? Some breeds you judge by looking at its front teeth, others you look at all the dentition...

 

I have already witnessed this confusion in my 4-H days. When kids showed their mixes, I could also see the real confusion in the judges as they tried to decide how to award the stellar kid handling the mix breed dog, as compared to a kid showing a purebred dog in the correct manner a purebred would be shown. By the way, there is zero advantage for the mixed breed dog to excel in AKC conformation, so it’s kind of a waste of time...

 

I would see those same kids at different shows run into different judges (judges who had their own assessment of what that mixed breed dog was and how it should be shown) causing the kids disgust, confusion and defeat which made them gave up. Nothing was consistent and no way to win. Kids don’t do well losing over and over and, in my experience, they lose interest and quit, so how will this help bring in the next generation of handlers into the AKC showring?

 

Even my own 4-H’ers avoided the "conformation" part of the 4-H shows because they learned about inconsistent judging, confusion and defeat. They stuck to Obedience classes and Fitting classes where the dog was judged on grooming, like clean coats, properly trimmed nails, clean ears and that the dog is well brushed and manageable, the dog was trained by the child to be touched and handled by the judge and the kids could be judged fairly. Fitting Class is NOT "handling" like in a show ring, the dogs are not judged by the dog's gait or breed, which is where the judging issues came in.

 

Then when the kids found their match in an AKC purebred dog, they would SHINE! Yes, juniors are the future of dog shows but let’s not defeat them from the start, let’s teach them the AKC ethical preservation of purebred dogs and breeders. Let’s see to it that juniors get that boost and put good purebred dogs in their hands!

 

Change the rules YES, allow a junior to walk into the show ring and show an AKC registered purebred dog without having to "own it" but rather “borrow” the dog instead of showing a mixed breed. And yes, they would still have to plan to meet AKC’s entry rules. There is already precedence in other countries for this rule change and I would applaud AKC’s wisdom to do the same!

 

{#1} Conformation Junior Showmanship, Canine Partners ~ {#2} No Mixed Breeds In Poodle Club Agility

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