Editorial: September 1, 2023
One of the best ways to promote purebred dogs to the general public is our version of the very successful English Discover Dogs, from which we developed our own Americanized Meet the Breeds. England’s Discover Dogs is held twice a year, once in London over two days and all four days at the Crufts dog show. Granted, we have a much larger country, and getting support for every breed can be difficult. But what happens between the announced dates of our Meet the Breeds from the American Kennel Club and organizing the grass-roots breeders and exhibitors who will attend these events is in need of addressing. We have, at last count, 200 recognized breeds by the American Kennel Club. To recruit breeds for the event, the American Kennel Club contacts the parent clubs for support. Then the parent club contacts its members, informing them of the event. It seems somewhere in that chain of events, there is a loose link. There should be a grace period for the parent clubs to reply to the American Kennel Club, and if they are unsuccessful in getting any participants then these local representatives can call upon breeders in their area to help fill the void of breeds that are not represented. More concentrated efforts and a large pool of potential attendees should be contacted. These pages have in the past suggested getting well-known local fanciers throughout the country to help enlist participants. Let’s face it, you don't have to have bred dozens of champions or be a member of a parent club to be an enthusiastic supporter of your breed, willing be speak to the public and answer mundane questions about your breed’s temperament, conditioning and feeding. Last weekend, Meet the Breeds was held in conjunction with the cluster of dog shows in Chicago. It was estimated that more than 50 different breeds participated. That’s roughly a quarter of all registered breeds present. That was a missed opportunity to engage the public about purebred dogs and the joys of ownership.
We all observe, and rightly so, that shelter dogs and mixed-breed adoptions have surpassed the popularity of purebred dogs, and the perception by some of the general public is that we are elitists, and unapproachable. But Meet the Breeds is something we all can participate in and make a contribution to by supporting the event with our presence.
It’s hardly Meet the Breeds if there are no breeds to be met.