October 23, 2006 - The Future Is Here!
In hearing from great numbers of pet owners, professionals and wannabes, one thing prevails. No matter how clearly today’s AKC puts profit and power before the purebred dog, we accept or ignore those actions. We even look the other way as AKC builds ever greater income-producing alliance with the puppy millers, having consciously promoted them to the fancy under the new “Commercial Breeders” acronym.
One small but current example is the new AKC litter registration option, originally floated back in 1990. It insures a substantial increase in registration income and a marketable “freebie” concept for retail outlets. The new option allows the breeder to register a litter for $25 plus $2 per puppy and to individually register each pup at $12 each. Either way, the new owner still pays $15 to register it in their name plus an additional $17 for the optional three generation pedigree. The new option results in an extra $12 per pup income for AKC but does nothing for breeder or buyer other than allow breeders to name each pup … negated by the possibility that the owner will not like the name and with breeder permission, pay an additional $25 fee to change it, thus generating the potential for significant additional new income. By comparison, UKC charges a flat $20 litter registration fee regardless of litter size. It has long offered breeders to individually register pups for $16 per pup but that includes a three generation certified pedigree, new owner registration fee, plus an easy-entry card, and “PR” registration status. The owner can also change the name (before the dog has acquired a title or produced progeny) for an additional $16 fee. From an economic point, the only benefit in the new AKC option is the potential of tripling fees from each puppy sold.
When my Canine Chronicle column pointed out the duplicitous nature of the original “double fee registration” other writers picked up the thread. Those blue slips were immediately redesigned and the concept dropped until enough people had cycled through the sport (16 years) so that newer breeders would consider it a wonderful new option. Most old timers have either left or are so intimidated by today’s AKC that they accept the new registration service without regard for value or implications.
We all want AKC to succeed but most refuse to look beyond the obvious. We’re satisfied by a few crumbs scattered from the illusive cake which once was a club of clubs formed to preserve and promote the purebred dog. We close our minds to the truth, kidding ourselves into thinking “it will all work out.” Satisfied by big wins or the hope that we will have them someday, we refuse to look ahead five years and see that there will be no more crumbs for today’s show breeders! We are happily engrossed in planning the next litter out of dedication to a breed. We are unwilling to give up the social atmosphere of shows; understandable because for many of us, being “in dogs” is our life – that’s what we do and without it, we would be lost.
We feel threatened by the onslaught of animal rights agendas but refuse to see AKC’s acceptance (or complicity) in it. TheDogPress headlined a long-standing request for proof that AKC has funded any legal bills resulting in defeat of any anti-breeder legislation. Not one single response! Not even from AKC in defense of the untenable truth.
We refuse to hitch the wagon to the horse, preferring to think such legislative initiatives will only affect “bad” breeders. We ignore the obvious - “High Volume Breeders” are already covered by USDA, local zoning laws, and all of the regulations we resist. The simple facts are
commercial producers (BYB and CBs) will always be there because the public demands dogs but private breeders will be forced out.
breeds that many of us have dedicated our lives to perfecting will not be missed when outlawed or no longer in demand.
the public will be just as happy with a Designer Dog and many are turning to such “breeds” even as I write this.
Ask yourself what has AKC done to promote the purebred dog? The uncomfortable answer is that pedigree is becoming less and less important to the public and AKC is complicit in that attitude by failing to market the value of the purebred dog - actually refusing in many cases to purge its studbook of proven fraud! AKC should be wielding its power and budgeting part of its 70 million dollar per year income to promote purebred dogs. Reality is that show rings can just as easily be filled with commercially bred “show dogs” as with those that are lovingly bred to adhere to the breed standards. Judging is comparative and judges will (and do) judge what is presented to them. If overall quality declines, there will still be winners. If some terrier and working breeds fall by the wayside, they won’t be missed.
Some of you have thoughtfully considered the implications of AKC’s contract with a major puppy mill outlet. Many realize the Petland project has only been tabled. Farsighted fanciers have even speculated that “leaking” it as a done deal was intentional, i.e. AKC believed we would acquiesce just as we accepted the High Volume Breeders Committee pitch that “there have always been commercial breeders and we have always registered those dogs” and now we should accept that and “bring them into the fold.” Others view the Petland contract as a deliberate strategy designed to make troublesome, dedicated purist fanciers leave the picture!
Whatever your perception of the current situation, you should be able to see nothing but trouble for the show breeder. Along with the small pet breeder, we can not survive in a world controlled by farming co-ops. Restricted by AR legislative agendas and the politically correct positions of vote-seekers, we will simply cease to exist. The AKC will continue in its new profit motivated position which has undeniably foreseen (or been a party to?) the demise of the small breeder. AKC could reverse the trend; instead it is quick to insure survival by building a financial and political empire. In removing the thorns of obstruction and replacing us with a clear field of easily controlled, already regulated, easily harvested crop, AKC is using a proven agri-business model.
If this makes sense to you, prepare to either sacrifice your ideals or join the ranks of commercial producers. As long as we remain a silent and acquiescent majority, there are only two choices, no matter how much we rationalize it. No matter how much we gripe and complain, paying lip service to any other alternative is futile. The future is upon is, it is here now