PUREBRED DOGS & PERCEPTIONS
Judges Approval and Westminster Observations
February 4, 2014 | TheDogPress Staff
JUDGES APPROVAL SYSTEM: Sari Tietjen says, “A valued and respected judge is born with the talent and ability that cannot be created. We have a lot of good judges in breeders who should [be] advanced not discouraged and held back because of an expensive, complicated judge’s approval process that has nothing to do with competence and aptitude.”
One year ago TheJudgesPlace.com disclosed AKC’s “Aproval System In Disarray” due to “AKCs financial problems.” As you watch Westminster online (your only option) be aware that the best of the best (judges) have competed for years to win such a plum assignment. While no one agrees with all the decisions all the time, be aware of the controversy associated with the advancement of qualified judges. Is it too slow, too fast, or overall too political? Let us know what you think about the current Judges Approval and we will do a follow up on this subject. After all, good judges, given equal opportunity for assignments is basic to the continuation of dog shows.
ALL BREED DOG SHOWS: a recent report says average dog shows have fallen to just under 900 entries. This is a time when Westminster and other extravaganzas are well over 2000 dogs. Due to absentees, double entries and other factors, this year’s WKC entries are not yet known. One thing is clear however…
AKC registrations have taken a precipitous drop. Ownership of the purebred dog was at one time a statement of wealth, good taste, and one’s own good breeding. That is no longer true. Purebred dogs are to be found in shelters all across the country. What IS true is troubling. We’ve come full circle - dog shows are again becoming only for the wealthy who can, as in days past, afford the best handlers to buy and exhibit proof of their good taste and financial health. The new “statement of stature” for the less financially fortunate is equally as ego-driven. Adopt a shelter mutt. It must be obviously a genuine mutt, and preferably with a rescue story fit for repeated retelling.
PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF PUREBRED DOGS:
Dog owning families have dropped from 72 to 70 million but even more discouraging, less than half own purebred dogs and even fewer own dogs registered with AKC. Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is being shown on CNBC only (used to be broadcast on two TV stations) Monday, February 10th from 8:00-11:00 P.M. EST (7 Central) it will include hound, toy, non-sporting and herding groups. Then it switches channels to USA on Tuesday February 11th, beginning at 8:00 P.M. EST, it will include; Junior Showmanship, sporting, working, terrier groups and BEST IN SHOW. For the first time, Tuesday night's telecast will also be seen live in the Pacific Time zone from 5-8 p.m. PT and will repeat in that time zone from 8-11 p.m. PT as well.
Daytime breed judging, benching and JS prelims will be held at Piers 92/94 while evenings will be at the Garden, will include Group judging, JS finals and Best In Show.
The Masters Agility Championship at Westminster will take place on Saturday, February 8th at Pier 94 located at 711 12th Ave at 55th Street & West Side Highway. But the big push is on Live streaming and video.
Hobby/Show breeders are giving up due to declining demand for purebred dogs. Then there’s zoning and pressure from local politicians. We have managed to shoot ourselves in the foot even as we steadfastly look the other way. We, and AKC at whose alter we lay $millions every year, have been silent as animal rights groups, spearheaded by HSUS, berate purebred dogs and dog breeders. By our failure to respond do we tacitly agree that mutts are smarter, healthier, and more morally desirable than purebred dogs? Do we not have the right to expect something more from the American Kennel Club than a litter registration?
If dog breeders were a trade union, we would already have demanded air time and press coverage on behalf of our position.
AKC has a PR firm to which it pays a lot of money. What does that firm do? Can anyone recall anything done to promote the value and desirability of owning a purebred dog? Where are the TV and consumer magazine ads? The last advertisements we noted were the Pedigree dog food company’s Westminster commercials promoting mutts! Either AKC’s marketing department has gone to sleep or it can’t find a sponsor interested in reaching a negligible market of purebred dog owners. Either way, Westminster is a troubling indication of times changing.
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