AKC Gazette, The Breeder's Banquet
The sport's flagship publication delivers food for thought to breeder-readers tired of the usual baloney.
By Bud Buccone
The dog game gets more complicated every day. Today’s breeder must keep abreast of legal issues, legislative matters, business methods, and breakthroughs in medicine, nutrition, and genetics that were unknown back when you first laid eyes on the breed you love.
Further complicating matters is the bewildering profusion of information technologies, and the reams of gossip and wild conjecture they convey.
With so much to stay on top of, and with so many unreliable information sources screaming for your attention, you may feel it’s time to get back to what you know can be trusted. And when it comes to breeding and showing purebred dogs, it doesn’t get more trustworthy than the AKC Gazette, our sport’s official journal since 1889.
117 years old and still growing
The Gazette is one of America’s oldest continuously published monthly magazines. A key to this success is the Gazette’s sensitivity to the evolving needs of its readers: exhibitors, judges, club members and officers, veterinary professionals, and, perhaps most of all, those for whom breeding dogs is a passion first and a business second.
AKC Publications Editorial Director Erika Mansourian says, “The Gazette speaks directly to – and for – the responsible breeder, with feature-length articles and regular columns on up-to-the-minute canine research, health topics, and as much information on nutrition, judging, breeding, and events as we can cram between covers each month.”
“Clearing the Lines,” Matthew Schenker’s 2006 Morris Animal Foundation Advances in Canine Veterinary Medicine Award-winning story about breeders and DNA testing, is typical of the Gazette’s approach to feature writing: in-depth reporting that takes nothing for granted, combined with expert commentary, and written in accessible, lively prose for the fancier on the go. Features Editor Mara Bovsun, herself a Michael E. DeBakey Award-winning science writer, sets high standards for her writers, as seen in recent features on bloat, epilepsy, leptospirosis, Batten disease, and canine longevity.
The Gazette’s regular columns and departments get consistently high ratings in reader surveys, but the magazine’s staff refuses to take customer satisfaction as a mandate for standing still.
“I’ve been working to expand the scope of all the columns I edit, and I think it’s particularly noticeable in the ‘Better Breeding’ column,” says Columns Editor Bronwyn Taggart. “We still feature top breeders. But we’ve introduced regular columns on veterinary aspects of breeding by Dr. Jeff Grognet, and on contracts and other legal issues relevant to breeders by attorney and breeder Lisa M. Curry. I don’t know where else breeders can get this kind of important information.”
Dr. Susan Donoghue’s new nutrition column covers the latest research and recommendations for the canine diet. (In an upcoming column, Donoghue addresses nutritional needs of the pregnant bitch and the dam after whelping.) The “Judge’s Eye” column is a forum for influential judges to discuss topics of interest to their peers and the issues they confront in the ring – ideal reading for serious show breeders looking for a competitive edge.
Among other breeder-friendly departments is “Healthy Dog,” presenting updates on research studies, genetic tests, and treatments for complex health issues. “Healthy Dog” puts a premium on unique stories not found in other venues, such as July’s “Bitches and Stitches,” reviewing the different suture materials used in spay incisions. “A very original topic,” Taggart says, “and of great interest to every breeder when the time comes to remove a bitch from their breeding program.”
The oft-imitated, never-duplicated Gazette “breed columns” provide a wealth of information and guidance by and for the seasoned fancier. Parent clubs assign columnists to represent each AKC breed, ensuring topical, newsworthy, and thought-provoking columns. “Best of all,” says Mansourian, “breed columns come straight from the source: exhibitors, judges, and your fellow-breeders.”
Breed Columns Editor and Siberian Husky exhibitor Shelia Goffe says, "The breed columns look at breeding and breed-related issues from the perspective of some of the most respected names in dogs. Among our 150-plus breed columnists are Olga Baker, Dorothy Macdonald, Paddy Magnuson, Barbara Miller, Jeff Pepper, and Kitty Steidel."
A glance at some recent breed column headlines – Test for Deafness Gene, Defining Moderate, Have you Tested for the MDR1 Mutation?, Assessing Risk for Cerebellar Abiotrophy, Judge Like a Breeder – will tell you this section isn’t light reading for novices. Rather, it’s a marketplace of ideas for serious dog people who love to learn.
Take all of the above, add breaking AKC news; minutes from Board and Delegate meetings; lavishly designed features on canine art, culture, and history; interviews and profiles; registration statistics; classified ads; product reviews; the indispensable AKC Events Calendar; then garnish with the best dog photography and graphic design in the business. That’s the Gazette’s recipe for a monthly feast of practical canine knowledge, without all of the extraneous fat that cause mental indigestion.
Yes, it’s immodest to say that the Gazette is America’s best purebred-dog magazine. But a fact is a fact. And at AKC Publications, facts are what we’re all about.
Bud Buccone is AKC Publications copy editor. He as written for every issue of the Gazette for the past nine years.
|Meet the Family
You may already be well acquainted with the Gazette, but you might not be aware of the rest of the AKC family of publications and how they support responsible breeding.
AKC Family Dog was launched in 2003 and three years later was named Best All-Breed Magazine by the Dog Writers Association of America. Subtitled “All the best for your purebred pet,” Family Dog serves a readership of 189,000 pet owners.
“The future of the sport, and indeed, of our right to breed dogs, will rely in no small part on the involvement and commitment of newcomers,” says Editorial Director Erika Mansourian.
“Family Dog sends a clear message that owning and caring for a purebred pet is a pleasure but also a commitment, and that anyone looking to add a canine family member should always seek out a responsible breeder.”
Family Dog articles are written by devoted breeders and fanciers, as well as top vets, trainers, nutritionists, behaviorists, and journalists. And Family Dog accepts breeder classified ads, making it a great vehicle to reach a vast pool of potential customers who have already owned at least one AKC-registered pet.
The AKC New Puppy Handbook, produced by the award-winning Gazette team and vetted by experts, is sent to every new individual-dog registrant. The colorful, pocket-sized guide to a dog’s first year of life covers training, nutrition, health and first aid, housebreaking, grooming, and everything else your clients need to cope with puppyhood.
When explaining the benefits of AKC registration to your pet-buyers, don’t forget to mention the New Puppy Handbook. It will put the fundamentals of puppy-raising at their fingertips, and might spare you the time it takes to answer their most common questions: Do I have to trim his toenails? How do I make her go on the paper? I have to do what to the anal sacs? – B.B
For AKC Publications subscription information, click here.