What can we do to protect the future of dog shows?

Each month we ask our readers to voice thier insight on topics pertaining to the dog show / purebred dog world. Thank you to everyone who offered opinions on this month’s topic.  The following is a selection of the responses. Want to voice your opinion to the fancy? Follow ShowSight’s Facebook page for the monthly question prompt! From the February 2019 Issue of ShowSight. Click to subcribe. 

What can your club do to protect the sport? What can AKC do? What can YOU do? 

I offer the service to clubs of touring the public around the dog show. I answer their questions, discuss breeds, and rules/judges etc. I have been doing this since 1993. We have toured 50 shows in a year , the average number is 30. —Chris Reid


On a club level we need to find ways to increase attendance at our shows. We can then educate the public about responsible dog ownership, and demonstrate the loving bond we share with our purebred pup.

The AKC needs to provide club assistance, one way is to offer more teaching tools to use at shows for education. I would like to see a pamphlet for kids and adults, about our sport, and the importance of responsible dog ownership.

We as owners and handlers need to demonstrate our love of our sport, and the joy we share with our dogs. 
—Elizabeth Sohnle


Have more fun events to draw public in and increase entries. AKC could start having temperament testing for judges. The arrogant God complex drives people away. I know of a junior helping an owner show her class dogs in palm springs and the dog got away from the junior twice. Instead of encouraging and supporting this little junior ms Neely got angry with her. This little girl will probably never show a dog again. What I can do? Support and encourage new people, make it fun for them. Teach them the basics and beyond, including how to deal with jerk judges. —Anonymous


Judge the dogs not the handlers! —Anonymous


What can the club do to protect the sport? Look beyond the Conformation Ring. Increase entries in obedience, agility, nose work etc. What can the AKC do? The average person may not even be aware of what the AKC is or does. These persons may be considering buying a dog. AKC needs to advertise more. Not only in the Dog Sport magazines but on television, radio and Internet (go beyond the AKC web site). The American Kennel Club needs to have an “Ambassador” at every show. Someone who is not showing a dog but is willing to get to the show and share information about showing. 

When at a dog show—welcome families and others to the sport of dogs. Let them know what AKC has to offer, let them be aware of all the dog sports available. I have encountered more families in the parking area than under the grooming tent. It also is essential that every single exhibitor be curteous. I have witnessed exhibitors being rude and unwelcoming. Not only to those attending the show but to fellow exhibitors who are new to the sport. I love having families and others come and ask questions about dogs in general and about the breed that I show. —Loretta Iazzetti 


Our club, Verde Valley Dog Agility Club in Cottonwood, Az holds monthly fun meets. At these events we can try out any of the show disciplines they offer—obedience, agility, nosework etc. For $5 we can have a run with simulated judges and scoring. I believe this process helps build confidence and encourages members to try showing at the real AKC shows.

My view on the AKC shows is that there are now perhaps too many events. Dock diving and barn hunts, herding and scent work, it’s all quite confusing. For many members there is no convenient club to help train for these events.  

If AKC could supply certified trainers on request to a club or group, that would help build some of these great opportunities. I’d love to try herding but cannot find a local instructor. I’m working at conformation but it’s difficult on my own. Club based training and practice is fun. And then going to an AKC show with people you know is fun—much less stressful if a coach is there to guide you through the process. 


I’d like to see clubs encourage each member to 1) Be good neighbors and ambassadors for their breed and the sport make people proud to have show dogs next door.

2) Step up and help when bad legislation threatens the dog world. Get to know your legislators and call or write them to let them know your opinion on the bills. Don’t just rely on those who are fighting the battles now—HELP!

3) Offer free and friendly newbie information at every show. Teach people how to use a catalog. Explain how best to contact people who are showing and how to find a good breeder or training classes for show or other events. Make sure they feel welcome. If you can hook them up with a 
mentor for the day or a breed ambassador. Make sure they go away feeling dog shows are great.

4) I’d like to see AKC offer educational materials to schools everywhere explaining why all dogs are not alike and what great fun one can have breeding, training and working with dogs.

5) For many years now I’ve been one of the group that attends bill hearings and provides testimony to help keep the animal rights folks from passing laws that would make owning and breeding dogs and other animals impossible. Sometimes it’s a pretty lonely fight and I’ve learned that the more concerned citizens that show up the better in order to keep the animal rights agenda from expanding its assault on animal care and ownership. —Anonymous


Make majors easier to find there is nothing more upsetting than to enter find out that some one didn’t show and the major broke. Also give free entree admittance for dogs that applied for show knowing they only needed a major but there was none the recession that is coming this year is possibly going to really affect haw many dogs enter. We need to offer more prizes or other incentives to get people to want to enter cash is nice but never remembered like the silver or something like that! Also try and look for judges that are liked so much that they seem to all ways have majors where they judge and that is a real indication of their ability to get along with exhibitors. Do what national dog shows do and offer a second major for shows that have way more dogs entered than needed for the five point major and give the second three point major for the one who won second place. We also need more inside locations gambling on the weather is something I don’t do any more especially for a iffy show for a major! Make a guarantee that if there isn’t a major at a particular show for those who only need majors don’t pay if numbers aren’t reached to make it a major! —James Hickey


ETSCA needs to be communicating with their membership. There are very enthusiastic club members who would love to be working on committees. Member involvement is extremely important. Good Sportsmanship by all members should be encouraged. Officers of a club should lead by positive, polite example. AKC needs to make sure that their judges are judging the dogs and not the person on the end of the lead. Judges need to know the standards of the breeds they are judging. Too many new people to the dog show world are becoming discouraged because it’s obvious that owners who have money are more likely to do most of the winning. I can encourage and mentor our newbies in a positive, kind manner before, during and after shows. —Anonymous


AKC could educate these judges to put up the best dog and stop picking handlers. Most owners get sick of the politics that go on with the judges. It is fine to loose to a quality dog or one of equal merit but to have an inferior dog win just because a certain handler is on the dog is a huge turn off to many. Not sure how AKC can go about helping with this problem but it is a hugh complaint I hear often and more and more with certain judges. —Anonymous 

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