Insightful first-hand view of a legendary Doberman breeder, the DPCA Breed Club and other national AKC Parent dog clubs then and now.
DOG BREED CLUBS, AT THAT TIME
by CinDee Byer, Journalist Award Winner
Frank Grover was considered the “Father Of The American Doberman Pinscher”. I was honored to call Frank my friend. It was a time never to be forgotten, or repeated.
I loved listening to Frank's stories of how "things were" in the Doberman Pinscher Club Of America, i.e. the DPCA circa 1995 until 2007 when Frank Grover passed away. I loved hearing how Doberman breeders at that time achieved and maintained such success with the breed and parent club. I admired the strength and commitment of breeders to the breed itself. Lucky for them they did not have the internet at that time.
The difference between then and now is that back then, dog breeders had to prove themselves through their dogs whether in the breed or obedience ring. People were chosen for specific tasks by their achievements in the breed. They could be trusted based on their history in the breed and they could represent the breed based on their knowledge of the breed.
That is why novices AT THAT TIME were not picked for important positions. That is why novices, AT THAT TIME, were in awe of club senior members because we, as novices AT THAT TIME, knew we were stupid!
We newcomers wanted to learn everything the top breeders could teach us. We were not offended if at times they seemed arrogant or unapproachable. These people had earned their positions. Learning to respect this is what weeded out the "wanna-bees" from the people who cared more about the breed than about themselves. This process is what made great dog people… at that time.
Frank Grover, past president and lifetime achievement member of The Doberman Pinscher Club Of America helped create an educational program within the parent club. The program was called the Educational Materials Project. The DPCA then knew that members, not the public, needed to be educated first.
The published materials (at that time) were written by notable authors who supported the breed and the Breed Standard. A thirst for education created the American Doberman Pinscher Educational Foundation. We novices were eager for that knowledge. We wanted to hear what notable breeders had to say because we, as novices were smart enough to know we were ignorant concerning breed knowledge!
The DPCA, before Internet, had two unwritten and unspoken levels to its membership. One level was teacher and the other was the student. Each was easily identifiable and equally important.
The problem today in parent clubs is not the ability to educate the public. The problem is that the Internet is educating the parent club membership. The membership today now relies on faceless names in cyberspace chat rooms instead of breeders with credentials for their education.
Credentialed education is the key to success when it comes to parent clubs. When historical, factual education is applied in a parent club, the breed flourishes. The side effect of an educated club membership is reflected in an educated public. Today the breed clubs do not educate the public on our great purebred dogs. Instead they follow an AKC agenda which is generalized instead of specific to the breed the club represents.
In breed clubs today older breeders and mentors are attacked by their students. These are the “teendoggers”. These are novices who have 19 years or less in the dog world. These are the students who do not know they are students. Unlike the novices of yesteryear, the lack of true education in breed clubs robs members of the opportunity to become educated.
True knowledge is having a full and total grasp of one’s stupidity. Admitting a lack of knowledge is the only way we can accept education and begin to have an understanding of the issues facing purebred dogs today. Knowledge gives you strength. It gives you the ability to stand up for what is right.
Conversely, stupidity breeds self-righteousness and creates a defensive membership that attacks character because it cannot articulate an intelligent discussion on breed issues.
So don’t be afraid to admit you are still learning. It will only demonstrate that you are more educated than most! Support your breed club and insure it supports the breed you love.
Footnote by CinDee: "Most of this was extracted from a letter written around in early 2000."
Related Article by CinDee Byer: Doberman At The CrossRoads
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