Breed & kennel Club NEWS
AKC's Petland Contract
breeders, from Connie Vanacore, an argument in favor of the "Petland Project."
Connie Vanacore - Oct. 2006 - Background: AKC has been registering puppies from pet shops and
commercial breeders for over 50 years. Until the last 10 years AKC
had registered 91% of the puppy market. When AKC began to put into
place care and conditions, DNA identification and the Frequently
Used Sires programs those commercial breeders who would not comply
left AKC. At that point our registrations began to decline at about
6% per year. Today only 54% of total registrations come to AKC.
In 1992 AKC registered 1.5 million dogs. In 2005 the number had
dropped to 950,000. In 2006 the decline has continued at the same
rate. Overall to date AKC has lost more than 550,000 registrations, 27%
of which come from pet shops today.
This has resulted in a huge loss of income for AKC. An in depth
market study showed that the majority of registrations are being
siphoned off to the 23 other registries which have sprouted up to
accommodate the breeders who have left AKC. They have done this by
pirating AKC blue slips and changing them to other registries.
Solutions: AKC has embarked on a concerted effort to recoup some
of the losses sustained by this flight from the registry. The fact
is that registration revenue is essential to AKC's survival for
It permits AKC to support the services demanded by the purebred
dog fancy. These include, in addition to registration, the
legislative department, inspections and investigations, judges,
breeders and parent club seminars, publications, delegate meetings
and committees, the website and its services, all AKC events (which
last year cost $10 million), the AKC Museum of the Dog, AKC CAR,
including disaster relief, the AKC Canine Health Foundation ($1.5
AKC management knows that unless it raises registrations to 1
million dogs per year the following will occur: AKC will have its
credit line with the Affinity card, which is now $4 million,
significantly reduced. AKC and its affiliates may lose sponsorship
for its events, including Eukanuba, Iams and Purina. All the clubs
which now depend upon commercial sponsorship will be in jeopardy,
including AKC Canine Health Foundation.
Advertising revenue in the Gazette and Family Dog will decline.
AKC's successful veterinary outreach to the veterinary community and
AVMA will have to be reduced. AKC will lose political and
legislative influence. All of the departments, including
legislation, will sustain cuts in spending.
Petland: What will the alliance with Petland involve? It will
encourage this chain of pet shops to register puppies eligible for
AKC registration with AKC rather than one of the other registries.
It will give their buyers an opportunity to register their new
puppies with AKC right at the store online. The buyers will receive
their AKC registrations within a few days, thereby making them
eligible to receive the benefits of AKC's puppy packets, including
e-coupons, free veterinary visits with veterinarians participating
in the Veterinary Network (just beginning with 2500 veterinarians
signed on), 60 days of free veterinary care with PetPartners, Inc.
They will also receive all of the information sent to any new puppy
owners. Being part of AKC will expose them to the meaning of being a
responsible owner of a purebred dog, possibly involving some in
activities of which they were unaware. In exchange, Petland may
charge a fee for the service of registering the buyers' puppies
online with AKC. The usual registration fee will be sent directly to
AKC. AKC will not rebate money to Petland, whereas the other
for-profit registries rebate between $30 and $50 per puppy to the
This program will have NO effect on the sales, breeding ethics or
practices of breeders within the fancy. AKC goes to great effort on
its website and in all its public relations communications to
encourage prospective buyers to seek out reputable breeders online
through Parent Clubs and by visiting dog shows or other events in
their areas. It will have NO effect on the number of dogs in rescue.
AKC Delegates and the fancy at large encouraged AKC to pursue
more inspections, establish care and conditions, DNA identification
for frequently used sires and tighter restrictions on shady breeding
Many breeders welcome these measures and have accepted the fact
that there will always be commercial breeders and puppies sold at
pet outlets. The "fancy" cannot supply the need of the buying public
for a family pet. But they are unwilling for AKC to take the steps
which will protect our fancy and the American Kennel Club. There is
no difference between what has been going on for decades and the
Petland deal, except that AKC has competition for registration
dollars which it never had before. That is hurting the sport in all
the ways enumerated above.
Ethical breeders will continue to do exactly what they have
always done: breed for quality. There is a market for both ends of
the spectrum, just as Wal-Mart and Neiman Marcus appeal to different
I was appalled at the reactions of some of the Delegates at the
quarterly meeting last week. The vituperative, hysterical reactions,
name calling and finger pointing were disgraceful. Some complained
that the Delegates had no input. This is a business deal, which
could not be revealed until a contract was signed. That happened in
the days before the meeting was held, when most Delegates were
traveling. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to keep AKC
solvent and secure. Recognizing that registration is still its core
business the current Board is attempting to run it as such.
As the Delegate from ISCA I encourage Irish Setter members to
contact me with questions and comments. If I don't have all the
answers I will find them out for you.
Delegate Irish Setter
Club of America
Additional Comments by
AKC Multi-Group Judge and
AKC's Letter to Puppy Mills
Delegate's Outraged Letters
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