For as long as most of us have been showing dogs, the AKC “Schedule of Points” used to calculate how many championship points are available was based on a three-year average of entries at dog shows within a particular group of states, each group being labeled a “division.” As an example, the championship point schedule for Division 2 (comprised of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware) in 2009 was based on a formula that calculated the entry in each breed at shows in those three states in 2006, 2007 and 2008, then created the new point schedule using those calculations.
National Specialties and parent club-designated specialties are excluded from the computations, as these events often rotate annually to different locations around the country and could artificially impact a particular division. Likewise, the all-breed shows held prior to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship are not included in the calculation. The point schedule is formulated with the intention that a certain number of one-point, two-point and major wins will be available in each breed, based on past entry figures.
However, when the U.S. economy hit hard times in 2008, entries at dog shows soon began to decline. Perhaps predictably, it became more and more difficult for exhibitors in many breeds to find points, particularly majors, because the point schedules were based on entry figures that were simply no longer realistic.
It came to the attention of the staff at the American Kennel Club that the championship point schedule based on a three-year cycle no longer accurately reflected the entries at shows, and in 2010 the board of directors agreed that a new point schedule should be created each year, based solely on figures from the previous year. The schedule still runs from May to May.
Although the U.S. economy appears now to be leveling out, the downturn undeniably changed the habits of dog show exhibitors and handlers. Once again, the AKC has been forced to consider changes in the formulation of the championship point schedule. Indeed, at the November 2011 meeting of the AKC Board, directors were asked to consider a proposal made by staff to redistribute the states within the point schedule divisions with a goal to “minimize the differences in average entries among the states” in the divisions as they currently stand.
The board voted unanimously to discuss and vote on the matter in the November meeting, waiving the usual advance notice requirement. The proposal was approved by a unanimous vote by board members.
Beginning in May 2012, the point schedule will include 15 divisions, two more than the current schedule. Four divisions will remain unchanged: Division 8 (Oregon and Washington), Division 10 (Alaska), Division 11 (Hawaii) and Division 12 (Puerto Rico). Division 9, previously occupied solely by the state of California, is now comprised of California and Arizona.
New Mexico, which previously shared a division with Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma, moved into Division 13 with other states that have relatively fewer shows and smaller entries overall than those in Texas, Arizona and California. Colorado moved into Division 7 with Texas and Oklahoma. Division 4, which previously included seven states in the Deep South and along the southeastern coast of the United States, has been split into two separate groups, with the coastal states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina remaining in Division 4 and Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas occupying the new Division 14.
A significant change in the northeast moves the state of New York from Division 1, alongside Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island, into Division 2 with Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Minnesota and Wisconsin were removed from their place alongside four Midwestern states in Division 6 and paired instead in the new Division 15 with two other Great Lakes states, Michigan and Illinois. Indiana and Ohio, previously grouped with Michigan and Illinois, are now in Division 5 with Kentucky.
Major shifts in the U.S. economy have undoubtedly influenced not only how often fanciers go to shows, but how far they travel. The realignment of the point schedule divisions will hopefully make for more equitable availability of championship points in all states across the country.
The current points schedule can be found by clicking here.