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A Tall Ship and a Star to Steer Her By

By CinDee Byer

The sport of purebred dogs…, its journey unlike most other sports does not end in the competition. On the contrary, competition is where the future of the purebred begins.. The breed ring, by its very name it declares its purpose. It is there the breeder finds hope for the future. It is in this ring we depend on the promise that only the finest are chosen. From the breed ring breeders create a new generation of purebreds. Breeders of the purebred dog are the champions of their breeds. It is to them, to whom we and the American Kennel Club owe a great debt of gratitude. There is no ‘we’ without ‘them’. It seems ignoring this fact has been the deadliest sin committed by the AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB.

The AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB came into being first and foremost as a registry for the breeders of purebred dogs. In most cases those breeders, still alive who have stood by the A.K.C. year after year still feel that this should be her sole purpose. However for those in this world of purebred dogs who seek to glorify themselves simply being a registry was not enough. Like the corruption of WALL STREET there was money to be made, new positions to fill, CEO’s to pay and sponsors to woo. Let the breeders breed and we can profit from their image and launch new projects!

Some of those projects came at a price to the breeder and ultimately the breeds themselves. Rescue took priority over breeding, medical testing laid traps for the breeder and in some cases condemned entire breeds. Creating new performance events and embracing mixed breeds became the A.K.C. flavor of the day. Meanwhile back at the dog show, the “Kentucky Derby of purebreds”, the race for the best specimens took a backseat while sway back Molly pulling a milk cart went center stage.

The breeders who struggled to breed in this new world could not stop the madness. Many began to question the A.K.C. They had fought the registry concerning breed standards for years but now they questioned its motives. We all became concerned about micro chipping and the A.K.C.'s relationship with radical organizations such as the HSUS. We questioned its involvement with legislation such as PAWS. But just as no one could predict the crash on WALL STREET the administration of this new AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB obviously could not see this train rolling down the track.

Over the years, the goals of the AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB became distorted. And with its guidance we bred less, demanded more and assumed the position of morality monitor of pet ownership. With these new goals in mind we were fooled into believing we could not only save the world, but that we could make the radicals give us their stamp of approval.

With the American Kennel Club’s new direction we turned our breeders into medical research laboratories. These laboratories often brought about false positive results. With these results we victimized some and vilified others. Then came the accusations, from accusations divisions grew and from division grew distain. With these new goals in mind we soon forgot that the purpose of the breeder was to BREED. We lost sight of the fact that the role of a breeder was to be creative, to take chances and to sometimes suffer the risk for the survival of the greater good. After all without failure there can be no success.

In its rapid growth, the American Kennel Club, currently, has become something unrecognizable to its breeders. It has by its own words become the champion of “dogs”, rather than purebreds. Sadly, it has become a wholesaler, a retailer, a pet store, a doggie dictator, a policy maker, test taker, a Ringling Brothers Circus of Dog shows, but worst of all, our great kennel club became a humane society.

Where has the public gone?
We have sent them packing. They can get a dog anywhere without all of our baggage. What happened and what went wrong? Unlike the National Football League who grows by promoting her teams and their players the American Kennel Club chose to promote itself. The A.K.C. became its own sole focus and its teams began to disappear. The A.K.C. is currently scrambling to invite in “expansion’ teams (new breeds) but her foundation continues to crumble. On its present course this ship will become only a skeleton of what it once was, a great iconic figure in the history of the American purebred dog.

If the AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB hopes to be more than just a memory it must change course now.
To save itself it must first save its breeders.
It must undo the damage it has already inflicted.
The time has come for The AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB to separate itself from all that does not promote its breeders. It is time to allow a separate organization to govern testing, side shows and the sale of trinkets not related to the breeds themselves. A respected registry governing purebreds should be governed by those extensively experienced with breeding and the importance of breeding records. It should concern itself only with promoting the BREEDING OF PUREBREDS.

THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB must stop prostituting breeds and their parent clubs. It must stop interjecting ideas into their standards and constitutions which reflect radical thinking. It must respect and appreciate the breeds as each of their standards and histories dictates. The A.K.C. must stop asking breed club and their breeders to pursue events and agendas contradictory to sole goal of breeding purebreds. The AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB must, above all else, humble herself and accept and embrace the breeders of purebreds as her only true asset.

Then and only then can we steer this ship back on course and follow that star which brought her glory. Then and only then can THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB be returned to that great legacy which she was once respected for, the keeper of the American, purebred dog.