Editorial: January 14, 2022
As a sport, we don’t enjoy the support that other sports seem to attract. Companies that support sports similar to ours, like horse shows for example, attract national and international hotel chains like Hyatt, car-rental companies like Avis and Hertz, car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and the Ford Motor Company, airlines like American Airlines. We somehow don’t seem to interest those companies that we support with the air travel, lodging and vehicles we use to attend dog shows and related events. Fortunately, we do have the support and attention of pet-food companies like Purina, Eukanuba, Royal Canin and in the past their sister company Pedigree. Their continued support helps us keep dog shows like the AKC National Championship alive.
As we gain more and more national exposure with televised events like the National Championship, the Westminster Kennel Club, the Kennel Club of Philadelphia and the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills, we need to think what shows us off to the best advantage while working with the companies and networks that are funding these events. Television and media people are concerned with time and money; we are the experts, and we need to concern ourselves with content. Ours is unique in that we are a family-oriented and pro/am sport. From the pee-wee set to octogenarians, we all compete together. You can participate in any manner you choose, from an occasional show to a full-on campaign career for your dog. Rich or poor, everyone has a place at a dog show. So in that limited television time available to us, we need to show what makes us unique from other sports. The airtime should be shared with the breed, group and Best in Show competition in the ring. We need to show children participating in Junior Showmanship competition, in hopes that a family watching gains interest in attending with their children. Or airing the Breeders of the Year (which sadly was absent this year) as an example of how just ordinary people with a love of dogs go onto achieve their success. In-depth home interviews with a dog on the family couch who just happens to have a champion title – not 20 dogs running in the yard, which would be overwhelming to most people. After all, none us started with a kennel full of dogs.
So start from the beginning, because most of the television audience are beginners. We need to direct the course of how we are presented to the public. We are a legitimate sport and should be treated as such. Color work is done by experts in their own sport; we should expect the same. Our color work on television doesn’t need to have the owner’s looks compared to his or her dog. We need to promote purebred dogs and the joys of owning, breeding and exhibiting them. We need them, but they need us as well.