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Are You Ready for a System Change?

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106 – May 2019

By Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia

The American Kennel Club offers 35 different kinds of competition through a network of more than 5,000 clubs, 130,000 breeders and 23,000 events. Some venues garner more attention, interest and support than others and, historically, the most popular of these competitions has been the conformation dog show which unfortunately is now is in its 15th year of declining entries. The declines occurring can be understood by a number of factors. The one that stands out most is that only 41% of all pups born are being registered by their new owners. This was first noticed when the clubs began to have shortfalls in their event revenues and superintendents began to report an increase in the number of “no show breeds”. Other concerns plaguing the sport were the aging of club memberships and the shortage of volunteer workers. The combined effect of these declines led many clubs to join cluster events held at locations distant from their home base. The clustering of clubs to provide multi-day shows provided needed revenues but often resulted in a loss of local spectators and fewer families attending.

In the midst of these problems was the growth of the “Low Entry” breeds (LE), which now is almost 50% of the stud book. In 2017, more than 52 breeds were averaging less than one entry per all-breed show and the number of “no show” breeds at some events had increased to 30%. When taken together, these changes began to affect the historical purpose for the dog show, which was to provide a place where breeders could gather to see the results of breedings and the progress being made in their breed. Because of the loss in entries, this practice has all but disappeared except at large regional and National Specialty Shows.

It is fair to say, based on an analysis of these declines, that the factors that most impact the dog show are: declining litter registrations, the growing number of LE breeds, increase use of Limited Registrations (LR), breeders who may not be using a breed standard or entering their pups in shows, decline in club membership, and the shrinking of breed populations. These changes are also influencing the future of the sport and are directly related to the growing number of smaller clubs, graying of memberships, decrease in volunteer workers, lack of mentors, and the decline in breeder education programs. Based on several previous reports 60 breeds are now considered to be at risk for extinction in sport and, based on the data, the number of dogs being entered in dog shows today is considerably less than it was 10 years ago.

Click here to read the complete article
106 – May 2019

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Posted by on May 7 2019. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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