AKC Figures, Japan Tsunami

Bo Bengtson At Large, Dogs in Review April 2011

The good news this month is that show entries really are on the upswing, just as we suspected. Adding up available figures for the first couple of months of 2011 shows I found an all-over increase of about 3,500 entries. That doesn’t include Louisville, which attracted a total of almost 14,000 entries for four days in March — about a thousand more than last year.

It’s too early to know if the increase will continue for the rest of the year, but the trend is pretty clear. For the future, it will probably also help that the AKC Board of Directors, at its Feb. 11 meeting, placed a moratorium on the licensing of new conformation clubs and also voted to not approve any additional shows for existing all-breed and group clubs. That’s a late acknowledgment of the fact that the ever-increasing number of shows has had a negative effect on entries: there are many more small shows with fewer dogs now than there used to be.

The encouraging figures are also mirrored overseas. The Kennel Club (UK) chairman Ronnie Irving writes in a Kennel Gazette editorial that their entries haven’t suffered nearly as much as AKC’s because the number of shows has not been allowed to increase in Great Britain. Mr. Irving, in fact, quotes figures from this column in support of his statement.

This year’s Crufts entry of 21,422 dogs is not an all-time record, but inspires great confidence in the future of dog shows over there. Other major events in Europe also receive tremendous support. The FCI Centenary World Show, to be held in Paris on July 7-10, is confidently expected to attract something like 30,000 dogs, which would be an all-time record for any dog show.

This month we can usually tell you AKC’s registration totals for the past year. Not this time. AKC Director of Communications Lisa Peterson informs us that “actual registration statistics” are no longer released to the public. This is a major policy change: in the past, these figures have been published on an annual basis all the way back from 1885 up through 2009.

Are the registrations still in free fall, as they were last year, or have things improved? Inquiring minds want to know.

The Japanese earthquake that struck the northeast coast on March 11 was one of the biggest ever recorded anywhere, a frightening 9.0 in magnitude. Over 10,000 people were killed, even more are missing, and the tsunami that followed left about 500,000 homeless, creating havoc across the Pacific all the way to the California coast.

Dog activities, of course, remain in limbo. The FCI Asian show that was to be held in Tokyo on April 2-3 has been cancelled, and other shows have been postponed until further notice. Of the many friends U.S. dog fanciers have in Japan, most are reported to be safe. Mai Ozeki, living outside Tokyo (about 200 miles from the quake center), writes that aftershocks came every 10 minutes or so for several days. Mari Nakashima, also in the Tokyo area, reports that gas is rationed, electricity unreliable, and concerns about damage to the nuclear power plants has everyone on edge.

Many aid organizations are providing help and supplies. Contact e.g. www.redcross.org or www.savethechildren.org.


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