May Chairman's Report
-- AKC Breeders a Labor of Love --
One of the founding fathers of the American Kennel Club was William G. Rockefeller; his family is featured prominently throughout the history of the AKC. The Rockefellers had a family creed that formed their guiding principles. Visitors to New York will find it carved in granite at the entrance to the winter skating rink/summer restaurant area of Rockefeller Plaza. Included in the creed is the following principle: "every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty." While I would venture that the vast majority of us don’t know a Rockefeller today, I believe we embrace the sentiment of the Rockefeller creed when it comes to our dogs. And nowhere is it more evident than among the breeders who are members of AKC Parent Clubs.
Through knowledge, passion, and determination, these breeders not only help preserve breed type, but improve the health, temperament and quality of their respective breeds as well. Responsible breeders serve as canine ambassadors, opening their homes to prospective owners, matching puppies with suitable families and bringing the AKC into their puppy owners’ lives. But the most noticeable accomplishment of our breeders can be seen in homes throughout America, in the happy and healthy family pets that bring joy and rewards beyond measure to their families. In fact, 90% of the dogs from all AKC registered litters are not bred, nor are they entered in any AKC event. Families have experienced not only a well-bred puppy, but also a supportive breeder who is there to provide advice on every issue imaginable throughout their dog’s life. It simply is what our breeders do and do so well.
The American Kennel Club values the hard work and importance of those who maintain and improve the future of purebred dogs; the Breeder of the Year award and the Breeder of Merit program were created to recognize these achievements. However, AKC’s commitment to our breeders goes far beyond recognition. The AKC has a number of supportive programs for breeders.
The AKC website (the exciting re-imagination is coming this summer) is a deep resource for breeders, with help for all breeders. For the novice or infrequent breeder, there is solid information to help them through that somewhat scary, yet magical, experience. The first-time breeder’s resource covers everything from planning a breeding to whelping a litter to puppy care. We’ve made registering a litter easier through our online litter registration service. And by using your My AKC Account, a lot of the work is done for you. We developed AKC Online Record Keeping as a centralized area to maintain dog and litter records, your puppy owners and co-owners information, and the ability to quickly print pre-filled records – all free for AKC breeders.
Breeders have told us that a constant flow of useful information is a crucial necessity in their quest for continuous improvement of their breeding programs. In response to that need, we created the AKC Breeder Newsletter, a free quarterly publication covering nutrition, breeding techniques, health concerns, genetics, and informative interviews with respected AKC breeders. If you haven’t seen it lately, check out the latest issue (and back issues as well) on the AKC website under the "Breeders" tab.
Health is an important focus point for all responsible breeders. Even our most strident detractors are compelled to admit that AKC Parent Club breeders are dedicated to producing healthy puppies. Our commitment to health and our breeders led to the establishment of the AKC Canine Health Foundation. The AKC/CHF produces a series of podcasts on a variety of health issues called Genome Barks. All of the podcasts are available through the AKC website. In addition, the AKC and the AKC/CHF launched the Breeders Symposia in 1994 targeted to both novice and experienced breeders.
Breeding, as exemplified by the Rockefeller creed of responsibility, obligation, and duty, and as practiced by our Parent Club breeders, is a labor of love – for dogs. Our breeders are not only at the core of what we do, they are a powerful force in creating the public’s perception of all we do. We are now developing a new social media strategy to help tell our story – our breeders and their stories will be a part of that. At the heart of those stories is that the difference between a purebred dog and a well-bred purebred dog is just this: an AKC breeder. How can you top a story like that?
As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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