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End Of The Dog Show Era


Dog show clubs are closing down, even major kennel clubs. There is no purebred dog breeding stock comparison, just power plays and judging assignment brokering.


January 2018

Carol Hawke, AKC Judge, ShowShots Commentator


If this disastrous course is not changed there will be no dog shows as we know them and zero breeder-owner-handler competition. I mean, the entire middle class of the dog show world will be GONE. That leaves either puppy millers (who also hire handlers now to promote their product) or wealthy backers to produce quality stock. You can see where that will go.

I'm reiterating for you a legitimate concern expressed by a number of people complaining about AKC's bait and switch program. I refer to adding on the Owner Handler competitions - which are nothing and they all know it - it's 4H without the pleasantry of children or education. Just one more silly offering at dog shows, like the Bred-By classes which are now dominated by handlers who found it more convenient and financially rewarding to breed their own line of dogs to promote.

Indeed, it can be tiresome to sweet talk the best dogs away from their breeders for wealthy backers to promote, giving credit only to the dog and handler in advertising.

What your audience still doesn't grasp at all - because AKC has never addressed it - is the fact that their two minutes per dog in the ring, (the current procedural allotment per dog for the judge) is now reduced to only about a minute because of these ‘special class additions.'

No additional time allowance was ever granted the judges for doing these additional classes and therefore, you now have judges cutting all the corners. For example, it is common for judges to walk up to the dog on the table or floor before it has been set up. It is also more common to move the dogs together, instead of individually and then making fewer comparisons between dogs which always lends itself further to the pro handler (whose dogs are usually glued into place.) All of this has reduced competency as well as quality in the show ring because of the time constraints.

I cannot fathom a board of directors and judges department that has not enough insight to actually analyze and comprehend the deep impacts of this hurry-up-and-judge program. Dog shows were once about dogs, not judges.

AKC switched from focus on the judges education, mentoring and field staff oversight toward throwing bait at the owner handlers to somehow compensate. Instead of doing what is right by providing better direction in the judges department, it seems that the American Kennel Club just throws more pieces of bait at the breeder/owner handlers to distract them from the actual degradation and failure of today’s dog show system.

As it is, there it is....

Reference and Related Articles: Carol Hawke’s bombshell column Send In The Clowns EST 2002 © 1712





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HISTORY OF DOG SHOWS: The Kennel Club (United Kingdom) was founded in 1873 after the first official dog show in 1859; the colonials followed in 1884 by whelping the American Kennel Club.

HOW TO SHOW YOUR DOG: Why didn't your dog win? Is the judge a “handler judge”, “political” or just prefers a certain “color”?


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