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Where Are We Headed?

One of the topics most often discussed these days among hard-core dog show devotees is the future of our sport. Several years ago it was brought to our attention that AKC registrations were declining, and since then the subject of what can be done to draw more people into the sport of showing dogs and to encourage more pet owners to register their dogs with AKC, has been a frequent topic, not just around the AKC offices, but in the dog press as well.

How dire are the circumstances? It’s difficult to know, but registrations have declined by a huge margin since they were at their highest in the early 1990s, when more than 1.5 million dogs were registered by AKC in one year. The total number of individual AKC registrations in 2010 (the last year for which we have official figures) was just over 560,000. One can certainly see how a decline of that magnitude would seriously affect the AKC’s bottom line and, ultimately, put our governing body at risk.

Over the past several years, AKC has spent money and manpower trying to develop new revenue streams, interest more newcomers in the sport and encourage those already participating to stick around. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that many fanciers are generally unaware of what’s going on at AKC. I think one of the greatest difficulties AKC faces is communicating with the “average exhibitor.” I think that those who love the sport of showing dogs need to stay informed.

So that’s one of our primary goals here at Best in Show Daily – to be the eyes and ears for people in the sport. Over the next few months we’ll bring you information about how AKC is structured and how it works, profiles of the men and women who are running for positions on the AKC Board of Directors and of the delegates who represent the AKC clubs, as well as information about the programs and products AKC has developed to try to increase revenue. We encourage you to actively participate in these ongoing dialogues by contacting us with any questions or information you want to share about the challenges facing the sport. You can reach me at Christi@bestinshowdaily.com. I look forward to hearing from you and to bringing you more information.

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.