Our Community Rises to the Challenge of 2020

Dear Friends,

To say that this year has been challenging would be a gross understatement. We have faced a myriad of unplanned circumstances, including a pandemic, natural disasters, and economic uncertainty that has directly impacted our sports and our communities. And yet, despite unprecedented obstacles, we have seen how resilient we truly are. From exhibitors in Performance, Companion, and Conformation events to judges, delegates, superintendents and staff, we have found ways to prioritize the safety of our participants and each other while continuing to compete in our beloved sports.

We are incredibly proud of the time and dedication our clubs have put in around the country to make hard decisions. Whether it was to reschedule or proceed with caution, each club and its members have risen to the ever growing challenges of holding live events. To date, there have been several successful conformation show clusters in 18 states. Fast Cat and Hunting tests are increasing. The time, energy, and dedication this has taken proves that when faced with challenges, we can unite and support each other while finding solace in our competitions.

Much of our success has come from a shared responsibility to protect each other during this pandemic. We continue to encourage each of our clubs to follow federal, state, and local guidelines, but we also wanted to assist with direct action in our sports. In June, the AKC developed Suggested Best Health Practices by Sport to provide clubs with manageable ways to add additional layers of safety for all participants at the events. We have seen their implementation and how effective they have been in preventing illness. This is something everyone deserves to be proud of.

As we move forward to our AKC National Championship Presented Royal Canin, we are encouraged about the year ahead for our sports. Holding the largest dog show in North America is no small feat and, in the middle of the pandemic, may seem almost impossible. However, we are up to the challenge and will do so by prioritizing safety and the health and well-being of everyone who participates.

We will continue to get through this challenging year with the strength, intelligence, and perseverance we are known for. In the midst of uncertainty, be certain that our enjoyable events will once again be held. Thank you for everything you continue to do for purebred dogs, our clubs, and for the American Kennel Club.

As ever,

Dennis Sprung

AKC President/CEO

  • 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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