The show must go on and it will!

The show must go on and it will! Things remain challenging as we navigate this pandemic and other important issues affecting our country; however, we are encouraged by what we observed at the first All-Breed cluster since the beginning of COVID-19. The Learning Cluster that took place on June 27-30th in Gunthrie, Oklahoma, with 4,800 entries across the four days was, from each account, demonstrative of how the guidelines from authorities and the AKC’s Suggested Best Practices by Sport can be effectively implemented. Each show practiced social distancing, wearing face coverings, providing hand sanitizer and more. A quality and fun-filled competitive time was had by participants and it provided valuable insight on how clubs can hold shows and keep exhibitors and their dogs safe. We congratulate the clubs and Onofrio superintendent for this successful achievement.

AKC continues to create virtual opportunities to keep exhibitors engaged during this time. We have launched virtual programs in Rally, Trick Dog, Act 1 and Act 2 Agility, plus Water Tests to allow exhibitors to continue practicing and competing with their dogs.

In June, we launched our first ever AKC Virtual Top Dog conformation competition to a very positive response with 689 entries across all seven Groups and Miscellaneous. Dogs were judged in one of two classes, Puppy (6-12 months) or Open Class (12 months and older) of their breed and sex.

We were proud to announce that GCHP Carmel Sky High Wish Upon a Star, a Miniature Schnauzer known as “Twink,” was awarded Best in Show by Judge and Board Member Harold “Red” Tatro III of Texas. Best Puppy was awarded to Alletare Royal Neuma, a Doberman Pinscher known as “Neuma,” also judged by Mr. Tatro. We thank our Group judges: Pat Laurans (Sporting), Tim Catterson (Hound), Bill Shelton (Working), Bruce Schwartz (Terrier), Sandra Bingham-Porter (Toy), Patty Sosa (Non-Sporting), Sam Houston McDonald (Herding), and Dr. J. Charles Garvin (Miscellaneous) for lending their expertise to the competition. Be on the look-out for our next virtual conformation event in August.

A total of $7,000 from the entry fees was donated by AKC to Take The Lead, the 501(c)3 organization dedicated to assisting participants in the dog sport who are suffering from life threatening or terminal illnesses, as well as helping those affected by natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.

We understand that the past few months have been difficult for you, but we also know that our sports and the people who love them are resilient. We will get through this together and be back at our shows, competing, enjoying and winning! Please stay safe and be well. Now more than ever, dog people must be united. We have a shared responsibility to be protective of one another, our lifestyles and our beloved dogs.

If you wish to call me anytime: office 212-696-8327; cell 516-637-6567.

In the midst of uncertainty, be certain that our enjoyable events will once again be held!

Dennis sprung

  • 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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