Today was the National Dog Show. I watched it on television this morning. When the hound group came up, one of the "new" breeds was highlighted - the Plott hound. I was reminded of this old post, and wanted to repost it as soon as possible.
(This blog originally posted on 5/16/2006).
Do you remember what you did May 10th, 2006? I don't.
The calendar tells me it was Wednesday. Get up, go to work, go home, play with the dogs, go to bed. A day like any other day. Right?
For you and me, maybe. But for the AKC it marked the beginning of the end.
AKC did 3 (at least) ominously significant things on May 10, 2006.
ONE, they officially pulled the poor Plott hound into the Hound Group, making it eligible to get AKC Championships in the Conformation ring. If Ms. X was a betting woman, she'd be calling her Vegas bookie right now. How many years will it be before the Plott in the ring is unrecognizable, or unfunctional as the Plott in the woods? 3 years? 5 years? 10 years?
There aren't many breeds left that the AKC hasn't pulled into the conformation championship ring. The Plott has been in Miscellaneous Class since 1998, which allowed show breeders to get a critical mass AKC registered so there would be enough to hold a show.
Now AKC will happily tell you if the Plott Hound breeder isn't a member of the AKC Plott Breed Club, you're not talking to a responsible breeder. Of course the breed club AKC has recognized has promised faithfully to involve the Plott in conformation shows.
For AKC, more breeds = more puppies = more money.
The SECOND ominous significant thing AKC did on May 10, 2006, was to formally launch its finger into the last big piece of the pie on the plate: Canine Protection Work.
Only AKC calls it "Working Dog Sport". In other words, AKC now hold Schutzhund trials. Now, AKC's mutant versions of Dobermans and GSD's can get bite work titles too, in a comfortable, non-competitive environment, to prove the crippled softies really are solid, sound and all-around superior specimens. You may want to know that even AKC versions of the Malinois aren't invited to these events. Why? I don't suppose, of course, that it would have anything to do with making AKC GSD's look bad, do you?
Let's stop for a quick vote - How many of my furry readers think Ms. X should lay off the vinegar with her morning coffee?
Of course this second move by AKC didn't occur just because AKC wanted to give some sort of legitimacy to their conformation championed "working" breeds. AKC itself is in competition. Registries like UKC and APRI are cutting into their profit. UKC attracts a lot of working dogs, hounds, terriers etc. APRI has made huge inroads into the high volume (commercial) breeders. CKC picks up a lot of business from family breeders who just don't want to bother with high-brow AKC. (Watch for more about CKC in the coming weeks).
Internationally, AKC is a small fish in a big pond. The FCI, which controls a LOT of purebred dog breeding and activity in foreign countries, is not terribly fond of AKC and tries to keep them out of Europe as hard as AKC works to keep FCI out of the States.
Internationally, AKC is playing a delicate game, crawling toward the FCI, head lowered, tail wagging, licking FCI's mouth...waiting for FCI to look away so AKC can mount the top dog and assert dominance.
Proof of this is in the THIRD ominously significant act of May 10, 2006. In the third
act, AKC prohibited it's judges from fraternizing with the enemy. Yup, that's what I said. Enemy.
No more working relationships with mutual professional respect for the other dog registries. Oh sure, they'll still accept your check for cross registration from those "other" registries, but that's about it.
No longer will their judges be free agents, judging for whichever registry is holding the show. And no longer will other registries be able to advertise that Dr. Know-all-dogs, who has judged over 300 shows (299 for AKC) will be presiding at the Spring Specialty for Registry X.
In the past, hard core AKCites would tell the public that shows held by Registry X weren't any good because the judges didn't know a good dog from a mutt. And then Registry X would fire back that they used the same judges as AKC.
Now, AKC is hoping to silence that argument by move three. With one exception. Only judging other competitions in the USA is prohibited. That means AKC left it's own legitimizer in place. AKC can still advertise Dr. Know-all-dogs, who has judged 50 shows for the FCI, will be presiding over this spring's Working Dog Sport Competition.
Ok, now before you can say "Gee, Gosh, Golly Ms. X, this is way more than vinegar in the coffee!" Let me remind you that AKC doesn't limit its efforts to increase market share to simply manipulating Fido and Fido's owner. AKC tries to manipulate the laws too.
Remember PAWS? AKC is still out there, lobbying for a huge increase in the number of government inspected breeders, where it itself will become one of the "government inspectors".
Now there is a market FCI will have a lot of trouble breaking into.