2021 was a pretty good year for Johnny Shoemaker -- and the American Kennel Club.
Thu, 01/27/2022 - 10:03pm

The Thrill of a Lifetime

… and, oh, yes, the Delegate Meeting and other things!

First of all, I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season, and I wish 2022 is your best year ever!

Even with Covid (which I had – along with pneumonia), 2021 was a very good year. I got to judge the Toy Group at the AKC National Championship Show presented by Royal Canin! I was so thrilled, and I had a great time. I would like to thank the Board and Dennis Sprung for giving me the opportunity to judge this fabulous show! I had excellent representations from each breed in the group, and only picking four was difficult … I wish I had more placements!

I also finished up the Hound Group, which now gives me four groups … and that is IT! No more breeds and groups! I love the groups I have, and if I was a little younger, I would have loved to apply for more breeds, but I will leave it as it is. I can still get around, and my mind is as clear as it will ever be, so I have a lot to be thankful for! 

The Delegate meeting was held in Orlando, Florida, at the Rosen Hotel across the street from the AKC dog show.

In the Dog Show Rules Committee (of which I am a member and I also served on the subcommittee that worked on the following), there was a very important proposed amendment to Chapter 3, Section  8, of the Rules Applying to Dog Shows (Dog Show Classifications), which provides clubs the opportunity to divide the Bred-by-Exhibitor Class by age: Puppy and Adult. This follows the same logic as the Puppy and 12-18 month classes.

Dividing the BBE class by age would be AN OPTION for clubs and NOT A REQUIREMENT. An entry from any division of class awarded Winners would be counted toward the BBE medallion as it advanced from the BBE class. This was voted on by the Delegate body the following day and passed by a majority of the votes! I believe that this new rule offers breeders more opportunity to exhibit their breeding in classes that highlight the breeders. I hope your club will try it out by offering it at your shows.  

Another item discussed was a change to Chapter 9, Section 2, of Dog Show Rules regarding the number of all-breed and group shows a show secretary may be approved for and the distance in miles from the show secretary’s primary location. I was asked to serve as chairman of this committee since I spent 25 years working as a dog-show superintendent.

The AKC extended its October 2021 modifications to the AKC National Owner-Handled Series Regulations that were supposed to expire at the end of 2021. That now is to be a permanent change to the NOHS Regulations. Effective December 29, 2021, judges assigned to judge only NOHS Group and/or NOHS Best in Show may exhibit in the regular competition on the day(s) they judge, but may not compete in NOHS at the same show, circuit, cluster or weekend of shows they judge.

Four COVID allowances due to expire at year’s end have been extended to events occurring on or before Thursday, June 30, 2022. They are:

• AKC show manual indoor/outdoor requirement:

This allows clubs to state in the premium list that the location of judging would be determined on the day of the event. If this statement is in the premium list, exhibitors would not be eligible for a refund based on the location of judging on the site.

• Three opportunities for championship points in the same day: 

This allows three opportunities for championship points on a single day at the same site provided one of the three events is a specialty show.

• Expand the distance all-breed and group clubs can travel to hold an event:

This allows all-breed and group clubs to travel up to 300 miles out of their territory in extenuating circumstances to hold a show.

• Expand the distance specialty clubs can travel to join another specialty club of the same breed:

This allows specialty clubs to travel up to 300 miles out of their territory to join another specialty club of the same breed.

In order to provide fair opportunity for all exhibitors to enter all-breed conformation events with an entry limit, premium lists for limit all-breed events are required to be published at least 72 hours prior to the acceptance of entries. All-breed events with an entry limit must have a defined date and time for the opening of entries, which is to be prominently displayed in the premium list. The Board approved this permanent change, effective for shows occurring after December 29, 2021! I have asked our committee to put this in the Rules Book as a policy so show chairs can see it better. That suggestion has been sent to the Board.

At the All-Breed Committee, Mari-Beth O’Neill stated that AKC staff is almost fully staffed. October was the largest in events and entries in AKC history. It was a productive year, with 28 events for AKC, and AKC got into four vet schools and also some veterinarians attended dog shows. She reported that Purina employs lots of vets.

There were 141 Juniors entered at the AKC National show this year! There is hope that clubs will elect a Junior Coordinator for each club so that person can work to get more Juniors entered in their shows.

Glenn Lycan of Club Relations reported that their department can help clubs to find out what weekends are available for them. Clubs can add multiple events to their all-breed shows such as Fast CAT, Trick Dog, etc. Lots of clubs have been approved for Fast CAT.

Clubs need to begin some kind of classes to train ring stewards. Getting stewards for shows is getting more difficult each year. Lots of times it is an expense for ring stewards to steward for clubs that they have to travel to. They have to spend money on gas and hotels. The pay for stewards here on the West Coast, usually $85 a day. They are losing money! Train members in your club and say to them: “You can show your dogs at another club’s show, but we need you to work at your own show!”

There is a new Rules Applying to Dog Shows booklet amended to June 8, 2021, so each club should contact AKC to get a copy.

I also attended the Legislative Caucus the next day with speakers Patti Strand and head of AKC Government Relations, Sheila Goffe. Both of these women are experts in legislative actions across the country, and their organizations – NAIA and AKC, respectively – work very hard to stop terrible legislation relating to dogs and dog ownership in each state legislative body. Please support them and visit www.akcgr.org to find out more.

Another way to fight bad legislation is through the AKC PAC, or political action committee. You can go to www.akc.org/pac to donate to this great cause.

In Pennsylvania, for instance, Senate bill 234 has been introduced to prohibit pet stores from selling purpose-bred pets from regulated breeders in lieu of selling only animals from shelters or rescues – all in the name of shutting down bad breeders. Another flaw in the legislation is to prohibit sales of rescue pets at pet shops if the sellers have any interaction with breeders. Many of our dog breeders are so dedicated to their breeds that they not only breed their own high-quality dogs, but also help rescue dogs of the same breed that are in need. AKC breed enthusiasts donate vast resources to breed rescue, including time, expertise and housing. Any questions on this legislation can be directed to Sheila or to Charley Hall, legislative analyst and Pennsylvania community outreach coordinator for the AKC.

In Oregon, animal-rights activists are collecting petition signatures to ban all hunting and fishing, ban many dog-training practices, criminalize some legitimate, humane dog breeding practices, and criminalize many veterinary procedures and training. If they collect 112,020 signatures from registered voters, this initiative will be on the November 2022 ballot. This is how crazy some of these people are! For more information on this petition, email  doglaw@akc.org. There is also lots of wonderful fact-filled material you can obtain from AKC Government Relations on cropping, docking and dewclaw removal; debarking, and the value of responsible dog breeders. Maybe your club should contact AKC Government Relations and obtain some of these flyers for your club members and also to be available where you sell your catalogs or at the superintendent’s table.

At the Coordinating Committee, Dennis Sprung, president and CEO of the American Kennel Club, informed the Delegate body that the “AKC Brand continues to reach new audiences on ESPN, Disney (ESPN/ABC) partnership.  This is more opportunities to welcome new people into our Sport. Successful 24-54 age females in household income and well educated are tuning into programs such as: K-9 Heroes; Detection Dogs; ESPN Dog Day; and Agility.”

This year’s AKC National Championship was the largest dog show in North America, with 5,051 dogs entered in conformation from 50 states and Washington, D.C., and 13 countries. Combined with competitions in agility, obedience, the National Owner-Handled Series finals, Diving Dogs, Junior competitions and AKC Fast CAT, that brings the total entries to more than 8,500. Dogs compete for multiple titles across various events and more than $150,000 in prize money, the largest in the world of dog shows.

“It is our honor to be able to continue the tradition of this magnificent show and host top canine competitors from around the world,” said Dennis Sprung, who is also the show’s chairman. “The athleticism displayed across our sports by these well-bred dogs is truly a sight to see, and we’re thrilled to return to ABC to televise our signature event, the crowning of America’s champion, for dog enthusiasts.”

At the Parent Club Committee, Dr. Carmen Battaglia, AKC board member, presented a talk on “The Ripple Effect: Conformation Sport.” This presentation stated that the number of breeds that are “no shows” and those with single entries is alarming. Data from 2019 shows that this trend needs attention with so many breeds. (For a copy of this article with those breeds, please contact me at dssup@cs.com, and I will email it to you.)

Ted Phillips, Chief Financial Officer, presented the financial statements up to December 17, 2021. For those not familiar with Ted Phillips, he is one of the nicest and best employees AKC has. Registration continued to grow, with 619,718 registrations in comparison to 530,073 in 2020. There were 245,718 litters compared to 209,756 in 2020. There were 15,778 events in 2021 with 2,299,841 entries compared to 7,876 events in 2020 with 1,213,574 entries. Operating revenue was $78 million. That included $56.3 million for registration and event fees; $11.9 million for advertising, sponsorship and royalties, and $9.2 million for product and service sales. Operating expenses was $44 million. That included $24.4 million for staff, professional fees of $9.5 million, $7.7 million for fulfillment and $2.6 million for donations. Total assets is $172,450,000 and liabilities of $82,840,000, for a total of $89,610,000.    

Since February 2021, the Fix n’ Go pilot program has allowed obedience handlers the opportunity to communicate with their dogs while performing in the ring at trials when a dog’s performance does not meet their expectation. The “Fix n’ Go” concept allows the team to reattempt one individual exercise and then leave the ring. The staff recommendation is to make this program enhancement to the sport of obedience at the end of the pilot program. The Board will discuss this further at the January 2022 Board meeting.

There is also a new update to the July 2002 AKC Banners and Signs policy. For more information, please refer to the November 6-9, 2021 AKC Board minutes. This updated policy become effective on March 30, 2022. All clubs using an AKC licensed superintendent must display banners and signs provided by AKC to those superintendents at their shows. The banners and signs containing the AKC logo must be placed in prominent and highly visible areas. The banners must be hung on visible walls under tents at outdoor shows and directly on show rings. The signs must also be on highly visible areas, such as near a busy show entrance, near catalog sales points, one near the Best in Show ring during judging and as part of the backdrop for the show photographer.     

The American Kennel Club recently announced that Camille L. Bakker of Angel Camp, California, has been hired as an executive field representative in conformation. She starts January 2022 and will be based in the northern California area. Camille Bakker is an exhibitor, breeder and owner of Italian Greyhounds and Bichon Frises, and also an AKC judge. Camille has been attending AKC events since 1973. I wish her the best in her new endeavor, and I am sure she will do a great job!

At its January 2021 Board meeting, the AKC approved an 18-month pilot program to allow AKC Canine Partner dogs to be exhibited in Junior Showmanship. This has caused some judges to give up judging Juniors. My opinion is why not! At least we are getting young people into our sport. Perhaps they will get a purebred dog by seeing what a great thing that is. This sport is going to die if we do not look into the future and what we can do to attract dog lovers into our sport.

AKC Canine Partners are already being show in performance events. This pilot program is effective January 1, 2022, and is limited to Junior Showmanship competition at all-breed dog show or limited-breed (group) events offering all-breed Junior Showmanship. AKC Canine Partner dogs will not be eligible to be entered in Junior Showmanship competitions held with independent specialty shows or limited-breed shows NOT offering all-breed Junior Showmanship.

The Junior will include the breed the dog is being exhibited as on the entry form in the breed-designation space. This is the same approach that has been successfully used by 4-H participants. Superintendents and show secretaries have been asked to provide the list of breeds entered, even if not requested, if the Junior Showmanship entry includes AKC Canine Partners. They will also be indicated by an asterisk in the judge’s and steward’s books.

Junior Showmanship judges are asked to be aware of how other Juniors are treating a competitor exhibiting an AKC Canine Partner. As the intent of the pilot program is to infuse youth into the sport, it should be a welcoming and respectful atmosphere.

On closing, I wish you all a great 2022! During this new year, I hope you continue to make friends in our sport and behave yourself. I have seen more bad behavior by exhibitors than usual reported in the Secretary’s Page, to the point that a bench committee had to assemble, and in most cases a fine and suspension of the defender was rendered. We must remember as participants in our sport, from exhibitor to judges, we are its representatives, and should behave accordingly to make sure we set a good example. 


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