What is Happening at the American Kennel Club?

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There is currently quite a lot happening at the American Kennel Club in an effort to increase revenue, a great deal of which has reportedly been lost through a continuing decrease in registrations over the past number of years. Some fanciers may have read about recent happenings on Internet chat lists, in other magazines, or in the minutes of recent AKC Board of Directors meetings on the Internet or in the Gazette; or they may have heard some of what’s going on from friends in the sport. However, there seems to be a significant shortage of factual information available about what is going on at AKC, a situation we hope to help remedy over the next few months in Dogs in Review. Bear in mind that our coverage of these issues is not intended to imply acceptance or rejection of AKC plans or proposals. Our goal is to educate and inform.

There are three important issues that members of the fancy need to know about: 1.) the new policy of registering dogs from potentially unregistered litters or parents, mentioned by Bo Bengtson on page 14 in this issue; 2.) the proposal discussed in the May and June Board of Directors meetings which involves allowing mixed-breed dogs to participate in select AKC events, also discussed by AKC Vice Chairman David Merriam on page 22 in this issue; and 3.) the supposedly dead-and-buried Petland scheme, which was the subject of at least four mentions in the past two months in another all-breed publication, where its rejection by AKC was called a “missed opportunity,” a fact which led me to question whether it was being reconsidered by AKC.

Discussions of topics that will seriously impact the sport inevitably draw controversy, sometimes heated. I have found that many Board members, AKC officers and AKC staff are hesitant or even outright refuse to discuss these issues. Is that because they’ve been criticized in the past when new ideas are proposed? It must sometimes seem to them that no remedy will ever please everyone, so why engage in discussion at all? But fanciers must be informed regarding these issues.

On the subject of the new registration service, at our request in May for more information about the program, AKC sent Dogs in Review a summary and list of frequently asked questions regarding this service. We were asked not to print this document verbatim but instead to paraphrase from it, which we agreed to do. According to the document, this new service is in place so that AKC staff can conduct pedigree research to determine registration eligibility for dogs, “on customer request.” The service was established based on AKC’s assertion that it has the authority to register dogs that originate from “AKC registerable stock.”

Dogs in Review invited two Directors, Dr. Patricia Haines and Nina Schaefer, and four Delegates with longtime involvement in the sport, Gretchen Bernardi, Pat Laurans, Judy Hart and John Studebaker, to comment on any or all of these topics. Patty Haines and Nina Schaefer sent their comments for publication, and Gretchen Bernardi agreed to an interview by telephone. Pat Laurans and Judy Hart will contribute reaction from their club memberships and/or their own views next month. John Studebaker did not respond to our request.

Want to read the full story? Order your July 2008 issue of DOGS IN REVIEW today, or subscribe to receive the best show dog articles and dog news every month!


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