The American Kennel Club has long been regarded as the pre-eminent purebred dog registry in the United States. Indeed, we govern the sport of purebred dogs and have the largest and only not-for-profit all-breed registry in the country. But our visibility and ability to influence go beyond our borders, extending across the globe.
We enjoy good relations with many international kennel clubs, most visibly our historic relationship with The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom. Many of our recognized breeds were first established with The Kennel Club centuries ago. Today we have reciprocal respect for what each kennel club brings to the international table of purebred dogs. Each year a variety of AKC Board members, Executive officers and staff travel across the pond to attend the prestigious Crufts Dog Show. Equally, the Kennel Club sends representatives to our annual AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.
Out of reciprocity comes a frequent exchange of ideas. For example, The Kennel Club has adopted our AKC Canine Good Citizen® program and we have borrowed their popular public showcase called "Discover Dogs" and turned it into our own "AKC Meet the Breeds®."
The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship has grown over the years into a perfect venue for encouraging and expanding community and competition amongst purebred dog fanciers from across the globe. We have always been honored to have a large international presence at our show and this year, with the addition of the Eukanuba World Challenge, this aspect of the event is going to be even more exciting. This first-ever international competition invites the top dogs from 40 countries to compete in a separate event. Many of the countries' kennel club presidents also will be in attendance, which can only help build the foundation of a strong international dog community.
As an AKC-licensed judge, I on occasion judge in foreign countries, having visited the UK, Japan, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Portugal just to name a few. When traveling to faraway lands I take the time to confer with leaders of the various kennel clubs between judging assignments and I am happy to report that the AKC is held in the highest regard by kennel clubs worldwide.
Therefore, I take great pride in the fact that AKC can act as a "Canine Ambassador" to the world when it comes to purebred dogs. Interaction with the international dog community allows us to discuss the common challenges we face as dog owners and breeders, especially in the realm of damaging legislation. We realize that by participating in large-scale world events it gives us all an opportunity to help grow a cohesive international dog community that can combat anti-dog movements.
I have come to realize through continued dialogue among the kennel club "heads of state" that we all face similar challenges and share a desire to do what's best for the dogs. I invite the fancy to come to Long Beach to not only witness the best dogs in the world compete for top prizes but to encourage you to seek out our visiting foreign dignitaries for some of the same engaging conversations.
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