In this political year there has been much discussion about how much our elected officials are out of touch with their constituents. I suppose that one could argue that politicians actually are in tune with the electorate. What could not be truer, however, is the public BELIEVES that politicians are out of touch.
I had the same kind of reaction after reading the statements made by AKC Group Realignment Committee Chair, Dr. Tom Davies, here On Best In Show Daily in Susan Chaney’s piece, “AKC Delegates Say ‘No’ to Group Realignment.” Dr. Davies admitted that there were “…many delegates who told him at the meeting that they supported the realignment, but their clubs didn’t.” Nonetheless, Davies and other supporters of realignment intend to pursue the concept, saying, “Again, it just depends on getting the whole process and concept understood by more people.” My daughter is fond of telling me, “You don’t understand.” To which I reply, “I understand. I just don’t agree with you.”
Now, this realignment concept has been kicking around for a few years, and I can’t tell that it has gained any additional support since it was first proposed. I don’t think it’s a matter of all us dumb exhibitors not understanding what it’s all about. I think that there is a real question of why it’s necessary.
As we have noted here in The Back Story, entries are down 16 percent over the last decade, despite the fact that we added 25 breeds during the same period. The average show in 2011 only drew 128 of the 173 recognized AKC breeds. Shows with better representation can accommodate bigger entries in the group rings in the same manner they are accommodated in the breed ring.
As far as accommodating the 42 additional breeds planned, why are we adding 42 new breeds over the next four years when we only added 17 over the last 10? I am reminded of the patient who complained, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this,” to which the doctor replied, “Don’t do that.” Despite the bad joke, I am not advocating we not admit new breeds. I’m advocating we think about the impact on the WHOLE sport before we admit additional breeds. Until AKC identifies and addresses the causes of dropping registrations and show entries, I think we might put secondary issues, like new breeds and group realignment, on the back burner. And that’s today’s Back Story.