Have Parent Clubs become the lame-duck organizations of the Dog World instead of protecting, promoting, and preserving the dog breed for which they are chartered?
HISTORY-PRESERVING BREED CLUBS?
by CinDee Byer, Top Journalist Winner
Recently I had the opportunity to donate one hundred-year-old firehouse journals to the Johnstown Pennsylvania historical Society. These journals were from an old fire company my husband Joe owned in the seventies and eighties. The firehouse was known as Engine Company Number 2.
A historian, Dr. Barbara Zaborowski, Dean of learning resources, Penn Highlands College Johnstown PA come to my home to view the journals. She was thrilled and carefully packed the books to be transported for digitizing.
She was as excited about receiving the historical record books as I was about giving them. It was wonderful to speak to someone who understood the importance of the past. And it was inspirational to meet a group of people passionate about saving old records in an effort to preserve an accurate history of Johnstown, PA, founded in 1800.
So Why Are Dog Clubs Failing Our Breeds?
After spending a few hours with the dedicated historian I realized one thing. Many Parent Breed clubs are failing their breeds because they do not focus on historical value of preservation.
Instead they chatter on about health testing. They promote the latest trends and the current winning dog. They have become subservient to a registry that has lost its way. Dog clubs today are about boosting the egos of handlers, promising positions to followers, and supporting rescue of mixed breed dogs.
How unfortunate that the registry which the breed clubs now serve does not serve them. The American Kennel Club of today seems to ignore the fact that without history, purebreds are just another mixed breed. In fact, without history, the American kennel club is just another pet show.
When it comes to the purebred dog, the idea of showing was about the preservation of the breed. The standard was the blueprint and the breed clubs were the officials. The AKC was there to sanction events and keep our stud books. Today the dog show world is much different - preservation of breed type and purpose has slipped far below and judging a dog for the most part has simply become a name game.
To each his own.
Some people actually enjoy playing the name game while others are sad to see their breed going down this path. For those whose heart breaks because their history has been forgotten, why not encourage your club to create a historical Society within the breed club. Or create your own Breed Historical Societies.
In actuality we probably could eliminate all parent clubs in exchange for Dog Breed Historical Societies.
Since the American Kennel Club doesn’t want to be the club of purebred dogs anymore but instead claims to be the “champion for all dogs” let them be that instead of preserving and promoting purebred dogs. Let AKC shoulder the responsibility of health testing and rescue. After all, these endeavors are even more important and badly needed in the mixed breed community. The AKC can continue having their club, promoting the name game instead of purebred dogs and in this scenario everyone gets what they want.
Breed clubs without history are like purebreds without a pedigree
So if you are a freethinker, have an intelligent head on your shoulders, enjoy research and are not afraid to entertained new ideas, think about this. Take time to go to your local historical society, visit a museum and talk to the people there. Then take a step back and think, could this be a way to preserve your breed?
Is it really possible for true breeders to breed a great dog without knowing the history of a breed or what the breeder is breeding for? Would a breed based Historical Society fill the need for those who are passionate about their purebred and its history?
Do we owe the future generations of our dogs more than this or do we become nothing more than another pretty picture with a famous name gathering dust on someone’s wall?
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