AKC Live Events See a Light at the End of the Tunnel

Dear Friends,
There is plenty to be excited about at the AKC.  Despite the past year being a difficult one, one thing that has rung true, is that it has shown us many things about the value of canine companionship.  There has been an increase in the demand for purebred dogs and we have heard countless stories of responsible breeders that are doing their very best to find the right homes for their dogs. The result has been a steady and solid increase in AKC registrations over the past year. As of this month, AKC dog registrations are up 20% over this time last year and litter registrations are up 18%.  We have also seen increased traffic on AKC Marketplace with inquiries to breeders up 61% compared to last year.  In a year full of challenges, this is a bright light and a symbol and sign that the human-canine bond is stronger than ever. We will continue to do everything we can to support breeders and educate dog owners.
We are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to live events. AKC events are still down from previous years due to the pandemic, but are in the midst of a gradual recovery.  In January, AKC events across the sports were down 37% compared to January 2019.   February events were down 30%.  At this time, April events are expected to be down 12%.  There is a significant difference between sports, with events typically held outdoors experiencing a reduction of only 15% or less. There is a great deal of interest in participating in AKC sports, with the events that are held experiencing extremely high entry levels.   
Now, we are headed to our AKC National Agility Championship that will be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 26-28th at the Tulsa Expo Center. The trial gives our canine athletes the opportunity to shine, demonstrate their training and athleticism and compete for the title of Champion. With more than 1100 dogs from 158 breeds and 49 states, competing at various heights, it will be quite an event! Safety is always our priority and we will have precautions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to no spectators, temperature checks, face coverings and social distancing. 
Don’t miss any of the action! Be sure to tune in to the preliminary competitions that will be live streamed on AKC.tv throughout the weekend and to ESPN 2 on Wednesday March 31st at 8p ET to watch the AKC National Agility Championship Finals. We are excited to bring this fun and engaging sport to those who love it, while also introducing it to new audiences and educating them about how amazing our dogs are.
As always, the AKC staff is available to assist you, as am I. Feel free to contact me via email dennis.sprung@akc.org or via my cell phone 516-637-6567.

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Dennis Sprung
President & CEO
  • Dennis Sprung

    Dennis B. Sprung is the President of the American Kennel Club. Sprung has been involved with AKC shows since 1968. He and his wife Susan served in many capacities in clubs and bred Afghan Hounds and Greyhounds. Dogs they owned or bred have won both Parent Club national specialties and over 175 all breed Best In Shows. He joined the AKC as an Executive Field Representative in 1989. In April of 1990, he was promoted to Assistant Vice President in the Dog Events department and a year later assumed the additional responsibility of Director of the Field Staff. In March of 1994, he was appointed Vice President of Dog Events. In 1997, Sprung took over the responsibility of Vice President of Planning and Development, which included relocating the AKC headquarters. In 2001 he was named Vice President of Corporate Relations. In 2002, Dennis created DOGNY, a fundraising and public art project which increased awareness of the AKC’s commitment to Search and Rescue dogs, raising $2.5 million. Most recently, he was elected as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Kennel Club in April, 2003. He also serves as Vice President of AKC Companion Animal Recovery a 501C(3). Prior to joining AKC, Sprung was a Delegate for 10 years from the Bronx County Kennel Club and also served as President. In 1993 he was honored with the “Fido” award for Dog Man of the Year. The Sprung’s share their home with Ruby, a five-year-old Pekingese.

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