AKC National Championship Demonstrates Resilience of Dog Community

This year has been unpredictable and unprecedented, but what has been prevalent is the resilience of our dedicated and knowledgeable dog community.

We feel extremely grateful to have been able to hold our 20th Annual AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin in Orlando, Florida, on December 12th and 13th at the Orlando Orange County Convention Center. With multiple layers of COVID-19 precautions in place, spread out over a million square feet of floor space, we forged ahead with the goal of crowning a new National Champion. It was no small feat. However, we are proud that everyone rose to the challenge to create a memorable experience for breeders, exhibitors, professional handlers, Delegates, Judges, stewards, vendors, and superintendents.

Companion events shone brightly as we held the AKC National Obedience Championship and the AKC Rally National Championship during the weekend’s events. These championships recognized the top competitors in companion events and we were elated to celebrate them and crown new Champions in both sports.

Agility held its invitational, demonstrating one of the highest levels of training and teamwork between dog and handler. The top five dogs in each breed received an invitation to compete in this prestigious trial. Agility competition for Junior Handlers was held for the tenth year. These extraordinary dogs raced through their courses and took home brilliant wins. The high-paced action is available on AKC.tv.

We also hosted The Inaugural AKC Fast CAT Invitational. The country’s fastest dogs from each breed, based on rankings from AKC Fast CAT Tests, were invited to compete for the designation of Fastest Dog USA or Speed of the Breeds Champion. Dogs competed in two final divisions: Fastest Dogs USA and the Speed of the Breed Championship. The competition aired on ESPN 2 and is available on AKC.tv.

The weekend culminated in the crowning of America’s National Champion. The safe distancing production of our show will air on ABC, Sunday January 17, 2021 (check your local listings). We are thrilled that, in the midst of uncertainty, we are able to have our show on a new network for the next three years. It is a fitting honor for our breeders and exhibitors who work so hard to produce and exhibit these quality dogs.

And as I close, I want to say thank you to every breeder, exhibitor, Judge, Delegate, Board Member, and Staff Member for your dedication to purebred dogs and our various sports. You are what keeps AKC moving forward and, in the most trying of years, you have been an inspiration.

Wishing everyone a Healthy Holiday Season and a Prosperous
New Year.

 

  • 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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