Our Sports, Clubs, and Exhibitors Are Incredibly Resiliant

If we have learned anything during this pandemic, it is that our sports, clubs and exhibitors are incredibly resilient. Though faced with much uncertainty, they have found ways to still participate in dog sports both in person and virtually, and enjoy the competition and camaraderie of our sports.

We are entering a phase of a “new normal” and our clubs are rising to the challenge. So far, we have seen four very successful show clusters, the Learning Cluster (OK), Mountain Laurel Cluster (PA), Carolina Foothill Cluster (SC), and the Steel Valley Cluster (OH). Each show hosted large entries and their members, exhibitors, judges, rings stewards and AKC Field Reps and made safety a high priority. The Clubs followed state, local and federal guidelines and also implemented many of the Suggested Best Practices by Sport provided by the AKC.
These suggestions include:

  • Social distancing in the ring
  • Disinfecting all common use surfaces frequently
  • Distancing the grooming area to comply with
    social distancing
  • Wearing face coverings when in close proximity
    to others, including judging
  • Eliminating ring seating

These suggestions and several others are designed to assist clubs in keeping everyone safe while still having a good time and earning their points. By all accounts, there were no incidents, and everyone was happy to comply with the rules set forth by the show chairs.

We know there is still a long road ahead with the pandemic and that means that there are still adjustments to be made before we are back to having regularly scheduled shows. However, these recent shows give us a lot of hope that the path ahead is bright. The success of these clusters is a great sign that we are headed in the correct direction and are taking proper precautions. As always, encourage clubs to adhere to the federal, state and local guidelines when
holding shows.

I would like to congratulate the clubs on their hard work, dedication and commitment to the shared responsibility to safety for their attendees. Your efforts are a large part of what continues to make AKC great, and we appreciate you.

The AKC staff remains available to assist you Monday–Friday 8:00am–5:00pm EDT via Customer Service or you can email staff members as well.

Together we are carefully forging ahead, and we will be successful for our sport and each other. 

  • 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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