Editorial: January 17, 2023
The recent invitation to attend the Garden Party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the English Kennel Club brought to mind the differences between our two kennel clubs. The American Kennel Club is headquartered in New York, and the English Kennel Club is headquartered in London. As a member of the English Kennel Club and a member of a member club in the American Kennel Club, some of the differences are striking. First off, the American Kennel Club is a club of member clubs that are represented with delegates. There are more than 600 member clubs, and the most-attended delegates meeting is the March annual meeting, which draws approximately 350 delegates. From those delegates, 13 are elected board members. However, there are thousands of other clubs that are licensed by the American Kennel Club that are not member clubs and therefore do not have a delegate to represent them. The American Kennel Club headquarters in New York and the back office in Raleigh, North Carolina, are both rental properties. Years ago, several prime pieces of real estate (including Mrs. Dodge’s Fifth Avenue townhouse) were offered to the American Kennel Club, but rejected by those who were in charge at the time.
The English Kennel Club is club of individuals, in which you apply and are voted on in order to gain membership. There are 1,300 members and 200 foreign members. From that membership, there are 23 board members plus the chairman. It doesn't prohibit anyone from membership who is in good standing because of one’s profession, unlike the American Kennel Club, which doesn't allow “professionals” to be delegates of their member clubs, in turn automatically excluding them from ever being elected to the board of directors. Here at home, people who have certain occupations are prohibited from judging, due to a conflict of interest. That dinosaur of a rule should be abolished because even the American Kennel Club, which formed a committee years ago, concluded there was no conflict of interest in the sport. In the United Kingdom there is no such rule. The English Kennel Club, though much smaller but wiser, through a very advantageous real-estate swap of the building they owned in London, now owns both a fabulous building in London and a back office in Aylesbury. A tale of two cities, financially London by a tail.