By Dennis Sprung, President & CEO, The American Kennel Club
The 19th AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin was a significant undertaking at which we once again showcased and honored breeders. Within the 1 million square feet of Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center we offered numerous events for our constituents. The aggregate entry was 11,008 which included 5,284 in conformation, 1,382 in stakes, 1,148 BBE, 791 NOHS, 704 in Agility, 408 in Obedience and 339 Juniors across our sports plus 1,007 in Diving Dogs and 40 Temperament tests. As a result, this became the largest event in AKC’s 135-year history with great appreciation to the breeders, exhibitors, judges and Delegates.
Proudly, every recognized breed was entered including dogs from each of the 50 states, Washington, D.C. and 27 foreign countries. Meet the Breeds was once again an educational and public relations success thanks to the expertise of volunteers from Parent Clubs and their local specialties.
A highlight of every National Championship is the Breeder of the Year recognition as well as the inaugural Posthumous Breeder of the Year to Sunny Shay, the legend behind Afghan Hounds of Grandeur. The BOY ceremony coupled with the annual AKC Humane Fund ACE Awards are a fundamental way in which we honor our own.
Six days of streaming on AKC.TV allowed our core constituency and the public an opportunity for more engagement with our mission, history and traditions.
I appreciate the Board of Directors’ confidence bestowed on our Event Committee. Congratulations to Royal Canin for presenting this canine extravaganza which culminates in the crowning of America’s National Champion. As Chairman William Feeney states, “AKC ROCKS!”