(This is an updated message from September 2009 with changes underlined)
Dear Member Clubs and Delegates,
The Dog Show Superintendents Association (DSSA) understands the reasoning behind the move to re-align the Variety Groups and understands both sides of the argument. We see its merits but, at the same time, believe there are problems to be understood and addressed before implementing this change.
We ask you to consider all of the factors before voting. Our concerns at this time include:
Need: Adding the “new” breeds should have little impact on most shows at the Group level. Few shows have most or all breeds represented at that level. For those occasions where the Group Ring available is too small for the number of breeds the Judge can divide the dogs as they do now with a large class in a breed.
Time: Four more Groups will extend the length of shows. While the time to move from one group to another will be 5 to 10 minutes per group we would also add another 10 minutes for the additional 4 dogs in Best, which brings us close to an hour added to a show. Add to that hour the judges who take longer to judge a group of any size and the day could become very long. We already have complaints from all involved (clubs, judges, AKC staff, AKC field staff, superintendents and exhibitors) that shows are lasting too long. AKC itself has already asked superintendents to “push” the start time of the groups in the interest of time. And, remember, the majority of the FCI shows (which have 10 groups) are multiple day events.
TV: We are seeing fewer televised shows. Increasing the number of Groups and length of time to judge them could have even greater negative impact on production issues.
• Additional rosettes and, for some clubs, additional trophies must be purchased.
• More multiple Group Judges must be hired.
• Indeed, some clubs with smaller entries may hire only multiple group judges in the interest of cost.
• This will negatively impact the provisionals and those judges with few breeds.
• Longer lasting shows will increase the number of judges staying over resulting in more hotel and meal costs or judges who refuse assignments due to other obligations.
• Implementing a revised Judge Approval process will consume numerous AKC staff hours. Rule books, judge panels and a great amount of forms and paperwork must be updated and printed, resulting in AKC and Superintendents having to throw away current inventories. Major amounts of programming must be changed and/or replaced.
• The AKC, Superintendents and Show Secretaries are all faced with preparing new systems while still conducting business with their current operations.
• These are all very real costs that affect all involved and must be paid for by someone. Often that someone is the consumer; in this case it will be the club and, ultimately, the exhibitor. With entries continuing to decline we have no way of knowing how badly entries will suffer even more if a change is made that could result in higher entry fees.
As you are aware the DSSA accepted the invitation to join the ORIGINAL committee appointed by the AKC Board. We appreciate the opportunity to be involved and offer the opinions above based on today’s realities as we see them.
If conditions with the economy, registrations, and entries improve, the time will come when this should be reviewed and implemented, however that time is not now.