My regular readers are aware that I have a soft spot for those breeds that populate the bottom of AKC’s annual registration report. After all I inked a column on the subject the very first week I published Dog Show Poop back in 2008. I once was owned by a Sealyham Terrier, a breed that I think deserves to be one of the most popular in the registry, but that’s a discussion for another day. The Sealyham is currently 163rd in the registry and, though no longer in the bottom 10, still is what the British call “an at-risk breed”.
AKC does not publish statistics on the actual numbers of registrations, but talking with Sealy breeders at the Montgomery County Kennel Club’s annual gathering of Terrier enthusiasts, most agreed that there were no more than 50 registrations in the US last year and probably not more than 150 worldwide. It is widely believed that a full 25 percent of the AKC registry may be “at risk.” However, it’s not all bad news.
I have frequently opined that dog shows are our platform to promote the purebred dog. It’s the only place where the public can come and see the breeds as they are intended to be. While some may take exception to that, even the snarkiest among them would agree that they would rather the public get its breed education at an AKC show rather than from air-headed Hollywood PETA zombies. Who would have predicted that three of AKC’S Top Ten Dogs All Breeds would come from breeds in the bottom 25 percent of the registry?
The American Foxhound is dead last in popularity in the US. Surely the breed’s original purpose, leading the horses after the fox, no longer recommends it to the general public. However, anyone with a standard suburban backyard and an active lifestyle would find their home the better for the company of this breed. Meet the Number Ten Dog All Breeds, the American Foxhound, GCH CH Pandora’s Box. Jewel was bred and is owned & handled by Lisa Miller. Rounding out team “Jewel” are breeder/owner Harry Miller and owner Ellen Charles.
The Kuvasz comes in at 148 in popularity. At 30 inches tall and weighing over 100 pounds, this is not a dog for an apartment. The Kuvasz was bred to guard livestock and protect the household. While suspicious of strangers, the Kuvasz is dedicated to its family. Meet the Number Seven Dog All Breeds, the Kuvasz, GCH CH Szumeria’s Wildwood Silver Six Pence. Tanner’s team consists of breeders/owners Lynn Brady and Connie Townsend, co-breeders Bea & Clay Page, owners Mercedes Vila & Claudia Muir, and handler Diana Wilson.
While ranking a lowly 139th in popularity, an Affenpinscher has been in the Top Ten Dogs four of the last five years. The engaging monkey-faced dog is one that will fit into any home. Meet the Number Five Dog All Breeds, GCH CH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari. The Dutch-born Joey was bred and is owned by Mieke Cooymans, co-owned by Zoila Truesdale and handled by Ernesto Lara.
In next to last place in popularity is the Harrier. Yet we have had two Harriers in the top rankings in the last five years. The Harrier, was bred to hunt the hare (I’ll refrain from Elmer Fudd references), but would be just as happy with a brisk walk daily. Meet this year’s Number Two Hound and Number 15 Dog All Breeds, the Harrier, GCH CH Downhome Hitech Innovator. Chet’s father, Downhome Family Tradition, was the Number Eight Dog in 2008. Chet was bred by Susan Lowder, and Ken and Miriam Nell, is owned by Carla & Joe Sanchez, and handled by Jorge & Suzie Olivera.
Other at-risk dogs which have climbed into the Top 100 Dogs All Breeds are the Clumber Spaniel, GCH CH Clussexx Collaboration With Traddles; the Beauceron, GCH CH Beowolf Rime Des Monts Du Lac; the Pharaoh Hound, GCH CH Faouziah’s Faramir; the Xoloitzcuintli, GCH CH Bayshore Giorgio Armani; the Puli, GCH CH Cordmaker Rumpus Bunpus; the American Water Spaniel, GCH CH Waterway Game Crk Hot Diggity; and the Skye Terrier, CH Of Skyeline Captain Hook, the 133rd, 144th, 151st, 155th, 156th, 157th & 164th most registered breeds respectively.
Everyone in the dog show world owes a debt to the breeders, owners and handlers who have kept these breeds in the public eye. I truly believe if enough people see these breeds at our shows and are told that the beautiful animals could disappear from the planet in just a few years if our politicians don’t stop persecuting the dedicated people who breed these animals, the more likely these icons of human history will be around for our great-grandchildren to enjoy. And that’s today’s Back Story.