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The American Kennel Club again seeks to impose an annual judging fee on judges, or as some call it, an AKC Judges tax.  Exhibitors, breeders, dog show vendors; this affects you!


May 28, 2010

Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief, SAAB


Exhibitors, put your ears up.  Judges work for the clubs, not AKC.  AKC already collects fees from those clubs and in addition, every time you enter a dog, there’s the recording fee buried in the entry fee.  Now, when entries are down, when most clubs are overextended and the sport is struggling, it’s about to get worse for you, the one person who makes dog shows possible.


TheDogPress readers forestalled the $25 Activity Fee{1} but what sounds like a small fee now “just to help AKC cover some of the expenses of the judging department” will become a 500 pound gorilla if we let it in the room.


Since 2004, entry fees have gone up over $3 per dog, per entry due to steady increases in the AKC Event Fees.{2}  If the AKC judges fee/tax passes, judges will have to increase their fees, which for many new judges, doesn’t even cover their costs to get to the show!   Even multi-group and all-breed judges will have to pass the AKC tax on to the clubs because based on the number of breeds they judge, their AKC tax will run into the $thousands!  Of course clubs will pass extra judging costs on to every person who participates in an AKC dog show.  It’s Economics 101 and over the last year, you’ve learned how “the economy” works.


Here’s the deal.  If exhibitors and kennel clubs fail to back up the judges, you will pay your share of an estimated $102,000 per year AKC tax.  It is an incremental fee, beginning next year.  Click for instant info ii AKC's Judging Fee rationale from the Board Minutes, minus any mention of fees amount.  Depending on whether you won or lost last weekend, you may say “serves ‘em right” but are you willing to absorb yet another AKC fee on showing your dog?


Surely you realize how powerful YOU are?  You are the person who buys a purebred dog, registers it, nurtures and trains it, pays fees to show it, to make your dog part of the glitz and glamour that attracts the audience that enables the TV shows to pay AKC for broadcast rights so the producers can get advertising from dog food companies (and HSUS) and everyone makes money but you. Got it?


There are also legal issues and while we can be sure AKC has the best legal advice, it could be the courts that decide whether judges must pay the American Kennel Club $hundreds to $thousands per year for the privilege of judging dogs.  Of course, AKC would just pass those legal costs on to us.  You know, the breeders who are the sole support of the entire system!  Without YOU, there would be no credibility in dog shows or having an AKC registered dog; there would be only puppy mill produce.


You buy photos, advertise the dog in show mags, host the parties, donate your time to the kennel and breed club, and you will probably breed the dog and thus, sustain the system that profits you nothing! 


 You do it because you love dogs and the social activity involved in showing them. Judges do it because they love the sport.  AKC does it for money and that’s okay but it is you who owns and breeds the dog that supports the AKC.  Now that you understand it is YOU that controls the sport, what are you going to do with that knowledge?


The Dog Press will interview the Senior Conformation Judges Association (SCJA), American Dog Show Judges Association (ADSJ), and the Dog Judges Association Of America (DJAA), all of which prevented AKC from imposing the judges’ fees five years ago.  But make no mistake, this affects YOU and we need your input now that you see this isn’t “just about the judges.”


According to Lt. Col. Wallace H. Pede, CEO of the SCJA, the AKC Board has agreed to coordinate with the national judges groups.  He is pleased that AKC is seeking the combined experience of those who “have years and years of judging experience” and he doesn’t hesitate to point out “all that experience - at no cost to the American Kennel Club.   We are happy that the AKC Board has taken a second look and opened the issue for further consideration.


The Colonel thinks there “are the many other ways that money can be saved, from high salaries paid and the number of field reps … to a move out of New York City.”  He also stipulates that the SCJA would not consider “any annual fee for the provisional judges who, in addition to all of their other expenses, don’t even make travel expenses for a show.”  The SCJA welcomes your input - email


One multi-group judge has already called and stated the obvious. “We are not licensed by AKC.  They have made it clear that we are only “approved” to judge.  It is expensive enough to go through the process for even a few breeds so it smacks of extortion to be told that we have to keep paying AKC in order to do what it already said we could do.  Doctors can join various professional groups but they don’t have to pay them off in order to practice their profession.


So keep it succinct but please call (800) 215-1178 any weekday 10 to 4 PM EST or email your quot or what your club is doing to put out the fire to


Reference & Related Articles and Information, dig for gold below


{1} Proposed $25 exhibition tax    ~    {2} AKC Economics = 700% increase    ~    SCJA On Judges Fees in 2005







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