Editorial: November 4, 2022
If polled, breeders, exhibitors and judges alike would tell you that there are just too many dog shows being held around the country. These four- and five-day events put a strain on everyone: exhibitors and judges and let’s not forget the dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, it holds more than 22,000 dog events with more than 3 million entries each year. Seems like a lot because it is a lot. Yes, the idea of clustering shows is popular, and most would like to see it continued. But the fact that several shows cluster together doesn't mean it has to be a marathon. The question arises: Do these clusters need to include back-to-back events? Logic says there are far too many back-to-back events stretching the show weekend into the midweek. It has been suggested that the American Kennel Club no longer approve back-to-back events and eventually give those clubs that hold them up to five years to stop. This would help cut down on the amount of dog shows. But instead of really dealing with the proliferation of dog shows, the American Kennel Club put a Band-Aid on it, approving more and more judges to fill the panels of the endless number of dog shows. Clustered weekend only want multiple group judges to filling their panels, and so the applications for new and additional breeds continue to be processed. Now comes yet another fast-track rule: The American Kennel Club has reduced the mandatory period between judging applications from six months to three months. But if you were turned down for an additional breed, you have to wait the aforementioned six months before reapplying. This, of course, makes more judges judging more breeds. More breeds means more groups, and rush is on. So then the kennel club allows all-breed shows, regional specialties and national specialties to hold even more events. Why we are even giving foreign judges a break, as their judging limit in this country of eight all-breed shows a year has been extended to 16. The American Kennel Club has instituted a new test to be given once every five years to test judges on rules, policies and ring procedure. The cost to the judge is $50. The AKC is starting with those judges who haven't judged in a long while. Eventually all judges will be required to take this test. The one caveat is that delegate judges will have the cost of the test waived. There are no tiers of judges: Each and every one should be held to the same rules, regulations and fees. We understand the delegates are not allowed to charge a judging fee, but they are allowed to charge their expenses. Have you ever seen the expense accounts of some delegates? Let’s just rip off the Band-Aid and have fewer dog shows.