Chairman's Report

December 2012

-- The True Essence of AKC Breeders --

Eleven years ago, Ron Menaker, Dennis Sprung, and the good folks at Eukanuba created the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship and made celebrating our breeders an integral part of the event. In 2003, they added the Best Bred-By-Exhibitor competition and every year since then, many of our sport's top breeders compete in the Bred-By-Exhibitor competition.

In fact, 30% of the more than 4000 dogs entered in conformation this weekend are entered in the Bred-By-Exhibitor competition. And they aren't here just to compete; they take the time to educate the public about their breed at the AKC Meet the Breeds® over the course of the weekend.

In addition, the Breeder of the Year Award recognizes one prominent AKC breeder from each Group who has made a great impact on a specific breed. At the end of the presentation Sunday night honoring these seven breeders, one will be chosen as 2012 AKC Breeder of the Year.

Certainly, this emphasis on the role of breeders is a clear statement:

There is no doubt that the American Kennel Club respects and supports our breeders.

And that commitment will grow even stronger next year. I have been working with Dennis, AKC Staff, and the Parent Club and the Health Delegate Committees, and I am pleased to announce the initiation of our first Breeders Workshop at next year's AKC/Eukanuba Championship show.

This free workshop will be by breeders and for breeders, and will feature what I call "news you can use."

There is also no doubt that the public loves what our breeders bring into the world – puppies, bred for type and to be sound in body, mind, and spirit. Look at any social sharing site and puppies are always a big part of the conversation. On You Tube alone, there are over 729,000 videos garnering billions of views.

There are many reasons to look forward to the Holiday Season, but anyone who has bred a litter knows there is something extra-special that arrives each year – the Holiday cards and notes updating you on the puppies you bred that are now part of other families.

Both the photos and messages are heartfelt expressions of how lives were made better by the addition of that dog. The arrival of those cards serves as a powerful reminder of the important role responsible AKC breeders play in bringing the joy of a dog into people's lives.

There is also no doubt that, while the public loves puppies, not all of the public loves breeders. Unfortunately, many see our responsible breeders in a very different light than reality – a misconception that is as incorrect as it is offensive. A misconception promoted by a few and accepted by too many. And because of this extraordinary disconnect between perception and reality, there is a continuous onslaught of restrictive laws with the sole purpose of eliminating all breeders – including our responsible breeders.

All of us will continue to fight anti-breeder legislation, but we must do more.

There is also no doubt that we must change the conversation about our responsible breeders.

From unabashed lies to the truth.

From a cloud of doubt to clarity of trust.

From rumors and innuendo to factual reality.

From expediency in law-making to right judgment.

To accomplish this, we must have unity and dedication of purpose. In addition to all that AKC does now to add to the conversation, we will do more – especially by engaging the general public.

We have powerful communication resources with our newly re-imagined website, our database of millions of people, our robust Facebook and Twitter following, and our professional and passionate public relations team led by Lisa Peterson, a proud AKC Breeder of Merit. We will utilize those resources to reach out to the public consistently, frequently, and convincingly about the true essence of our responsible and dedicated breeders.

But that is only part of the job. We need your support to take the message into your communities, where the voters are who can impact our future. You are the force that brings together, and then unleashes, the true power of the American Kennel Club.

Our breeders represent everything we are today and everything we will be tomorrow. This weekend we will celebrate them and know that our destiny is in good hands.

As always, your comments are welcome – atk@akc.org.

 

Sincerely,


Alan Kalter
Chairman