I’ve been silent on the Group Realignment debate, preferring instead to watch the AKC duke it out with pro handlers, kennel clubs, and dog show superintendents.
Feb. 2012 | Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
In the meantime, we’ve listened to our readers, including their oft-repeated question, “where does TheDogPress stand?” So borrowing a page from Sari Teijen’s book, we decided to make a Pro and Con list. We extracted the most frequent comments and while they were not exactly balanced, they were insightful.
PRO Better chance for Group ribbons and 4 more shots at Best In Show.
More advertising for the AKC website and the show magazines.
Better opportunity for the rare breeds to win and be seen.
To encourage more people to enter or attend shows and we need them.
It will help failing clubs and generate more entries and interest.
More winners will be great for show photographers who are hurting now.
CON More trophy and ribbons expense for the clubs and supers.
It will mean a lot more data entry for the superintendents!!
What? Are we trying to emulate the FCI and if so, why?
Another example of AKC patronization for the professional handlers!!!
4 more groups mark the end of owner handlers and the total reign of pros.
Some judges will put up the new breeds just to show off knowledge they don’t have because who is going to educate them? (sorry, couldn’t condense this one and it summed up many concerns about judges’ education and capabilities with new breeds.)
I apologize to my handler friends but so many owners expressed the last sentiment that we couldn’t ignore it. Actually, we heard similar concerns from struggling or part-time handlers. No doubt about it, having more Groups will cause more Group conflicts but it will also make shows more profitable.
It will also make it much more difficult for the owner handler who has the misfortune of suddenly having dogs in two or more groups! “Hitting the road early” becomes a thing of the past for everyone, judges included.
Group judging began in 1924. By 1925 we had Sporting, Working, Terrier, Toy and Non-Sporting Groups. By 1930 AKC huge the Sporting Group was split into the Sporting and Hounds. Having won a few Working Group ribbons, I was elated when AKC had had another epiphany and split the Working Group in 1983, creating the numerically smaller Herding Group. We had always welcomed the huge dogs-defeated points in the Working Group but half as many points for twice the Group One or BIS opportunity made that “realignment” seem okay to us.
AKC committees have in the past, discussed splitting the Sporting Group again with Pointers and Setters in one group and Retrievers and Spaniels in another. Likewise, splitting the Hound Group into Scent Hounds and Sight Hounds has been discussed for over a decade and that too is part of the new Group realignment proposal, with of course, newly recognized breeds included.
The list of AKC recognized breeds has exploded so the proposal to be voted upon in March 2012 follows the long-considered rationale. http://www.akc.org/pdfs/news/Realignment_SuggestedBreedList.pdf. It is not too late to have your club officers instruct the Delegate who represents your club but the consensus is that it will pass in its present form.
The Working Group is a bit more complicated, due in part to the influx of new breeds. Splitting off the Spitz or what some classify as Northern breeds, my dear friend Meg Purnell-Carpenter, Vice Chair of the Breed Standards Committee for The Kennel Club, will be delighted that the Jindo is listed. It does however pose a question, and no doubt an interesting study because of what frequently happens with no apparent rhyme or reason. The country of origin is NOT listed, as in the Korean Jindo and the Japanese Akita. Conversely, and please correct me if my memory is wrong, but wasn’t the Chinese Shar-pei originally listed as just Shar-Pei? A friend of mine, Jean Fein of Loveland CO was one of the first to import the Chinese Fighting Dog in 1974 and it seems that she and other importers felt slighted by AKC’s original refusal to include COO in the official name.
On the Working – Spitz breeds we have the Finnish Spitz, German Spitz, and Norwegian Buhund but I wouldn’t want to guess the COO of the Norrbottenspets. The Realignment Committee did an excellent job with the 20 Molosser Breeds. Can’t help noting however that again, we have the Spanish Mastiff and the Tibetan Mastiff but the Tosa is not the Japanese Tosa. In the Working – Utility there’s the Portuquese Water Dog and Black Russian Terrier and German Pinscher but the two breeds which so recently were Hungarian are now simply Kuvasz and Komondor. Go figure...
The Terrier Group now contains the Rat Terrier. I know that is what they have always been called but with all the name changing, well, Rats (which is what they are lovingly called) might sound more attractive under some other name!
I couldn’t help smiling at the newest addition to the Toy Group. ? I’ve heard our club had problems getting the Toy Fox Terrier accepted as the American Toy Terrier. Another mystery of import to no one else but gee, Ameri-Toy sounds so much better than “TFT” so if there’s ever an “American Toy” listed I’ll be downright annoyed!
We all owe Davies, Burgess, Gladstone, Neilson, Stansell and Smith (Bob), Savage, Perrell, Gloster, Voran, Nelson, Vilas, Strouss, Shoemaker, and Klecan a hip-hip-hooray. Good job, and good its finally done.
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