Thu, 01/12/2023 - 11:22pm

Editorial: January 6, 2023

After Orlando: Food for thought

Like many reading this editorial, we are remembering and analyzing the events of the weeklong AKC National Championship dog show. These pages have never waivered from the opinion that that dog show should be a stand-alone event to celebrate all things purebred dogs. So while we examine those events, and before you dismiss this as a condemnation, it is meant as constructive criticism from strong supporters of the American Kennel Club. In years past, most dog-show weekends consisted of two, three and on the rare occasion four consecutive days of shows with a sprinkling of well-known and attended circuits, like New England, Cherry Blossom, Tar Heel, Texas, Montana. But things have changed, and changed drastically— now almost every weekend is four and five days of dog shows. So as the AKC week starts out, arriving on Monday for a Tuesday start, everyone is happy to see friends from around the country filled with a holiday spirit. Three all-breed shows that benefit from the AKC show have bountiful entries and a full house. By the time the first day of the AKC show starts on Saturday, fatigue has set in, and people are anxious to get home for the holidays and the start of two weeks at home. By Saturday afternoon, those who have exhibited and lost have packed and left for points leading to home. The grooming area looks deserted in a sea of red draperies. As Sunday evening comes around, the venue is empty, and all that money that the American Kennel Club and their sponsors have paid is playing to an empty house. It just becomes another long week of shows like most of the rest of the year. A change of superintendent and a few palm trees don't separate it from the preceding events. We would humbly suggest that the dog show be a stand-alone event as in years past, with conformation, obedience, agility, sweepstakes, Meet the Breeds as well as dock-driving, Fast CAT and all the other disciplines that they offer, held over the three days. AKC has the power and finances to make it an enviable event that other show-giving clubs would want to emulate. Not a two-day event at the end of a long week. It’s why we all came to Orlando, to help celebrate the world of purebred dogs and our affiliation with the American Kennel Club. Not a mass exodus on the weekend. Plus, there should not be any other event held on their weekend, so that the AKC show does not compete with any event nationwide. The show has grown and can at this point proudly stand alone. At the very least, start the week with the AKC National Championship held first. At least the AKC would get the benefit of a full complement of those attending. Food for thought.


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