Friday, March 20, 2009

Thinking out loud

There are things I definitely dislike about the AKC. One is the fact they seem to support commercial breeders. They almost jumped into bed with Petland a few years ago but came to their senses when the fur started going up as people heard about the pending deal. I think they realized the move would give them a huge black eye in the PR department. (well bigger than the one they got for even considering it) They say they can't do anything about puppymills because they are only a registry but I have to wonder how true that really is. If they required more of the people doing the registrating then things could change. Consider how much money those puppy registrations are bringing in after all.
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On the other hand they have supported health testing for some breed issues. They also have programs like the Canine Good Citizen test and more recently the S.T.A.R program. (think CGC for puppies and their owners)
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It has been on my mind lately because I have been thinking about some of my long term training goals for the year. If I decide to show in obedience who do I send my registration fees to? AKC of course. If I decide to pursue a tracking title who puts on the event and again benefits from my registration fee? Yup the good ole AKC. I am even a member of a local kennel club that puts on a yearly show. Who for? Pick yourself a prize if you said the AKC. The downside to living in the boonies is less access to UKC events without major travel time. Let's face it, the AKC runs alot of the show in the dog showing world. (no pun intended) At least for the moment.
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If I decide to try for the tracking title with Jenny I need to first get her registered with the AKC though the PAL program. From the AKC website: Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP): The program that provides purebred dogs a second chance.There are various reasons why a purebred dog might not be eligible for registration. The dog may be the product of an unregistered litter, or have unregistered parents. The dog's papers may have been withheld by its breeder or lost by its owner. Sometimes, it is the dog itself that was "lost." There are many dogs enrolled in the PAL/ILP program after they have been surrendered or abandoned, then adopted by new owners from animal shelters or purebred rescue groups. The PAL/ILP program allows the dog and owner a second chance at discovering the rewards of participating in AKC events.
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Again another $35 to the AKC. (not counting the cost of trialing of course) With the economy the way it is the AKC is bound to see some decreases in show entries. While I understand the mission of the AKC is to promote the purebred dog, I think in some cases they are not doing the best for some of the breeds. Alot more on this subject can be seen over at the Terrierman's blog: http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/ While I don't agree with everything he says, or how he says it, he definitely has some good points when it comes to the dog fancy and breeding for health.
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I wish we had alter classes at shows for people to be able to show dogs without the burden of having an intact dog. Not everyone interested in showing wants to breed after all. They say the point of the show is to prove breeding stock but I would argue that showing dogs from a line, even though altered, would help show the results of what a good breeding program can produce.
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Another thing I would like to see is obedience classes for mixed breeds included as well. Yes it may not promote purebreeds but it promotes responsible dog ownership by promoting training to the average person. How can that not be good in the long run? Besides, it seems like they need to consider the revenue from every entry fee possible. Of course when you have commercial breeders pumping out registered puppies, even of questionable health and temperament, perhaps clean money doesn't have the same appeal. (not that I am bitter or anything)
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I just heard that the AKC won't be allowing the S.T.A.R program for special groups anymore. (think prison programs) I guess their reasoning is that the dog needs to be taken through the program by a long term owner. While I understand the intent of the program, I am saddened that they can't see the big picture in this case. I used to be a CGC evaluator but gave up the title when they added fees for evaluators and because I didn't want to give out the award just because people could get their dog to pass with dogs that didn't deserve it. My standards on what I consider a Canine Good Citizen and what others are were just to extreme for my liking. It's like the dog with a CD title that is not well behaved outside the ring. It's not supposed to be just about that moment in time, but for the lifetime of behavior as far as I am concerned.
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I am also dismayed that breeders seem to have changed. I am not sure why it happened but no longer can you count on show breeders being reputable by virtue of being involved in showing. Not all of them are doing health testing or breeding for better temperaments. One has to wonder why that is. Is it because chasing ribbons and wins has become more important? From what I have heard about UKC showing, with their written evaluations and no professional handler rules, it seems they may be on a better track. Perhaps the AKC needs to stop thinking they are the only option. They may want to do it before they hemorrhage the few responsible breeders they have left in their show rings. Just a thought.

6 comments:

Katie said...

It galled me more than a little bit to send in Steve's AKC registration, but the fact of the matter is that if I want to play AKC sports, he needs to be AKC registered. And while other organizations are growing around here (DOCNA, NADAC), AKC is still king for agility.

Personally I suspect they will cave to the call of all those mixed-breed entry fees soon. Or at least I hope so. Both Mushroom and Luce are ILP/PAL'd as Amstaffs and can compete, but it's bogus that they wouldn't be allowed to play agility or rally if they didn't measure up to these wondrous Amstaff standards. Blah.

AKC irks me. "We're just a registry" is a load of horse manure.

Barb said...

Well said! The "We're just a registry" line is really galling. You can't promote yourself as a "premier" organization on one hand, an authority on all matters canine, with all the benefits that come with that - and on the other hand deny any responsibility whatsoever.

I have long thought that the AKC should require not only health testing (by which I mean actual certification through OFA or PennHip or similar organizations, not just a "vet check") but also the completion of a title before the offspring of any dog or bitch can be registered. Personally I would like to specifically require a performance title rather than "just" a breed championship but in truth ANY title takes a considerable amount of time and effort to achieve. True, some people do just hire someone else to do the work, but it's still a lot more than any commercial breeder would be willing to do. There just isn't much (or any) profit in breeding when you've invested so much in the parents.

Robin at Mannerly Mutts said...

You don't need more reasons to not be required to do obedience, do you Marie?

Amy said...

Well, there is APDT Rally, which allows mixed breeds. That will become more and more popular I bet.

And I must say I would probably call USDAA the "King" of agility venues and not AKC. To me, USDAA seems like a bigger deal. They allow mixed breeds!

So, there are certainly more options. The AKC may find themselves in need of changes as this economy changes and maybe some day they will allow mixed breeds to show in performance events. Until then, those of us with mixed breeds have APDT and USDAA among others. Plenty to chose from and more and more coming to our area, thankfully!

Katie said...

I agree Barb. I'd love to see there be requirements other than bloodlines and pedigree before a dog can be registered. Maybe that'd make "AKC Registered" MEAN something. But I'm not holding my breath- too much lost income for them.

Robin at Mannerly Mutts said...

JRT club has those health requirements, but they don't allow their dogs to be registered with the AKC!!

There were other things that bother people. What to they say "it's six of one and half dozen of the other".

The bottom line is there will never be a large organization of which you will agree on all of the policies. There are many opportunities to compete in obedience sports, if one is able to.