Focus on Sweden

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When trying to decide which foreign country to focus on in our annual International Issue, why did we settle on Sweden — a small country in distant Scandinavia? It helped that Dogs in Review has good contacts there, of course, but primarily the reason was that Sweden offers a spectacular example of what can be achieved even by a relatively modest-sized population, given the right social, political and economic advantages.

The fact is, our beleaguered AKC might throw envious glances at Sweden when they learn how their system works.That a country of just over 9 million people can have over 300,000 card-carrying, dues-paying kennel club members is, by our standards, almost unbelievable: on a per capita basis we would need to have over 10 million dog lovers actively involved in AKC to equal those figures, and over 2 million registrations per year.They don’t have nearly as many dog shows as we do, but their shows are big — over 3,000 dogs entered as an average, in spite of entry fees that may be twice as high as ours.

In any case, a country that succeeded in organizing what was labeled as “the world’s biggest dog show weekend ever” deserves to be taken seriously: the FCI World Show and specialty events held the same weekend in 2008 in Stockholm attracted a total of 28,187 entries.

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