Changes in AKC Info Dissemination and Akita Wins World Show

From At Large, Dogs in Review August 2011

What can you say about a national organization that stops printing its venerable, centuries-old club publication, no longer makes its registration figures public after they’ve gone downhill for years, and fires staff without replacing them, to mention just a few things? You might think this club is in crisis, right?

One AKC delegate returning from the quarterly meeting in North Carolina informs me, however, that it was all “short and uneventful.” Nothing major was discussed, no fires burning. Please remember this when you complain to me about AKC next time: the delegates who represent the more than 500 member clubs have, under AKC’s constitution and bylaws, the sole power to make the rules governing the sport of purebred dogs. In other words, the delegates are the AKC. We have the government we deserve. If you’re not happy with AKC, talk to your club’s delegate. If you’re not happy with your club’s delegate, elect a new one. 

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Those words of wisdom come from Plato, not me, but they are as true today as they were 2,400 years ago. By the way, I am well aware that the AKC Gazette was hemorrhaging money and subscribers, but you only have to look at the rest of the US dog press, including Dogs in Review, to see that well-managed, high-quality print publications can flourish, even in the present economy.

There’s so much that AKC does right, so let’s focus on that instead. One of its little-known treasures is the amazing trove of statistics that’s released every year. I don’t think any other national kennel club’s show and performance activities are as well documented as AKC’s. You have to wade through hundreds of pages of data, but you’ll find the information you need.

The figures reveal, for instance, that a total of 1,440 AKC all-breed shows were held in 2010, 22 more than the year before. There were also 2,282 specialty shows and 146 “limited breed” shows. The total number of dogs competing at the all-breed shows was 1,177,079, while specialty shows added up to 124,453 dogs, in both cases a drop of over 30,000 dogs. The limited breed shows accounted for 33,645 dogs, a slight increase from the previous year.

The average all-breed AKC show last year had 817 dogs in competition, compared to 857 in 2009. Ten years ago we had 1,056 dogs at an average show, 20 years ago 1,262, and 30 years ago 1,150. As the number of shows has increased, the average entry has dropped. It’s good news that the 2011 figures are pointing upwards again — probably a sign of the Grand Champion title’s appeal — so let’s hope for an increase next year.

The “American Akita” Ch. De Kaner Wolverine’s Revenge won Best in Show at the 2011 FCI World Show, held in Paris on July 7-10. There was an entry of 21,589 dogs, making this the biggest World Show ever, just short of the Crufts record. The Championnat de Paris show, held concurrently on the same grounds, attracted a further 14,765 entries.

“Logan” is owned by Nati Diestro and Elio Rodato in Italy and was bred by Francisco Mototo, reportedly of Spain. He is listed as American because the American Akita is recognized by the FCI as a separate breed from the Japanese Akita. He is of mainly US breeding, a grandson of Am. Ch. Stejen’s Rest of the Story, and has Okami and Regalia dogs close up in his pedigree.

Runner-up BIS was the Norwegian-born Pug Ch. Tangetoppen’s Unbreakable News, while the US-bred Wire Fox Terrier bitch Ch. Afterall Painting The Sky placed third, shown by Gabriel Rangel. BIS at the Championnat de Paris went to the Toy Poodle, Ch. Smash JP Moon Walk, bred in Japan but a past Group winner at both Westminster and AKC/Eukanuba. More details in the August issue of DR!

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