“Ugh,” was the first, spontaneous comment I got from a friend, an enthusiastic and successful new exhibitor, when I told her AKC had decided to add new achievement levels to the Grand Champion title that was introduced last year. “It never ends, does it?”
Well, no, it doesn’t look like it. Beginning May 11, AKC Grand Champions will have the opportunity to become Bronze, Silver, Gold, even Platinum, Grand Champions. To obtain the Bronze level, a dog must achieve 100 Grand Champion points — four times the 25 needed for a “regular Grand” title. Silver requires 200, Gold 400 and Platinum 800 points. Can the Double-Triple Diamond title, awarded with a cherry on top for 10,000 points, be far off?
Seriously, it’s great that AKC has managed to increase show entries by encouraging exhibitors to bring out their retired champions in the hope of “Granding” them. It’s good for breed competition when more champions are shown, but whether the additional titles really indicate superior quality, or just persistence on the part of the dog exhibitors, is not yet really clear.
Still, we have in this space so many times asked AKC to consider introducing superior titles and a more multi-layered show system that it would be childish to criticize the new development. AKC is doing some imaginative thinking in their efforts to make the shows more interesting for exhibitors, and surely that’s a positive development.