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July 2012 / Group judging changes are imminent. AKC Board is considering 6 placements instead of 4 and will accept judge and exhibitor input.





E. Katie Gammill, AKC Judge, Exhibition Editor - July 2011


The AKC recognizes new breeds at a fast pace and places them in existing groups. Rather than moving breeds from one group to another, which requires expensive judge’s re-education and group realignment, why not expand to 10 Groups (like FCI) instead of trying to absorb new breeds into existing groups?


E. Katie Gammill, AKC Judge/Exhibition Editor for TheDogPlace.orgHere’s an idea to help with realigning the groups.  Many new breeds come from the OLD WORLD.  Let’s name a new group the “Old World Group” since many of these newly accepted breeds in the last 10 years do in fact come from an earlier time. Separate this “Old World Group” into Working and Pastoral. Miscellaneous Group tells us many more breeds are coming down the pike. With the influx of hounds, why not separate the Scent Hounds from the Sight Hounds? Are there enough Northern Breeds to form a “Northern Group?” These questions must be taken into consideration.


Is the AKC missing the boat regarding public interest? The World Dog Show is popular. Breeders could dress in the costume of their native country. Booths could be made available to educate the public. This golden opportunity could stir interest and generate funds for clubs.  Judges wanting another Group could be approved for the Old World Group, serve an apprentice ship, and become a Group expert.


The “Select” program has taken some heat, however we see Champions in the ring that haven’t been campaigned for some time. This allows breeders to consider possible stud services and affords a wonderful platform for Champions to be seen at maturity...


GROUP JUDGING CHANGESShould we have spay and neuter classes? People love their pets and welcome the opportunity to show them off. Once a “Spay and Neuter” Group” is established, perhaps judges wanting to be on the fast track could apply for an entire group. By serving a given time of apprenticeship (perhaps 5 years) under supervision, it could cut down half of the time regarding Group completion. Isn’t it more educational to judge an entire group to learn body shapes, top lines, breed specific movement, and size consideration than to look at 25 of the same breed?  IF a new judge awards the wrong dogs, THESE DOGS WILL NOT PRODUCE AND DAMAGE THE BREEDS FURTHER.


Let the clubs re-instate price breaks for 6-9 month and 9-12 puppy classes because it will actually increase entry income. An additional judge might be called in for $4 a dog, which could further a provisional judge’s goals as well.


Should the AKC have two shows back to back in one day? Before jumping into the UKC agenda, attend a UKC show. It’s very expensive to enter, plus one must also register their dog with UKC before a title is available. This may exceed the AKC entry fee. Do you foresee judges officiating at two shows and charging by the day?  Having attended UKC shows, they are reminiscent of the huge matches of the past. The AKC show presents a far more professional picture. Along that line, one is not allowed foreign substance in the coat (dream on) and they are not allowed to bait in the ring. Occasionally a photographer is present. There are no food stands and few, if any, vendor booths. UKC shows ARE a wonderful training venue for starting young puppies. The UKC judge may not have the extensive educational opportunities as AKC judges but when it comes to Hounds, bench shows, and field activities, UKC does it very well.


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One may not agree with the inner workings of the AKC, but they ARE a class act and they ARE struggling to remain so. Changes  requiring DNA stud testing, increased litter registration costs, fees for processing applications, and (lets face it) eventually judges dues, do increase the bottom line. The AKC fights for our sport and privilege of dog ownership. However, having literature at shows is “preaching to the choir”. The AKC must reach out and educate the public. The public MUST understand the right to own a pet is threatened daily.


Creative thinking and brain storming is a necessity; working together is even more of a necessity. Send your suggestions to the American Kennel Club to be presented to the Board for consideration. Perhaps your idea will spark future success regarding dog ownership and the continuous privilege to participate in this great sport of dogs.


Doing nothing is NOT an option.


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