A Message from the Chairman
Mary Bloom ©AKC
AKC Chairman Ron Menaker at the December 2006 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship with Best Bred-by-Exhibitior in Show judge Michele L. Billings and Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show winner Laurie Jordan-Fenner and Golden Retriever Houston.
The sport of purebred dogs relies on the passion of its breeders. Each year, we highlight their accomplishments at our premier televised event, the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. We have developed two unique programs to honor the special relationship these longtime breeders have with their dogs as well as to educate the dog-loving viewing public about what it takes to earn the moniker “responsible breeder.”
Since 2002, the American Kennel Club has recognized and celebrated an outstanding purebred dog breeder with the AKC Breeder of the Year Award. The award honors those breeders who have dedicated their lives to improving the health, temperament, and quality of purebred dogs. At a special presentation held during the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship show, a breeder, or pair of breeders, is recognized in each of the seven breed groups. At the conclusion of the presentation, one of the group recipients is chosen as AKC Breeder of the Year.
All seven group honorees receive medallions during the show, and their names are inscribed on a bronze plaque permanently displayed at the AKC Library in New York. We honor the ultimate AKC Breeder of the Year recipient with a commission from a canine portraitist to immortalize a prominent dog from their kennel.
Another way we recognize breeders at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship is a special competition for breeder-owner-handlers that culminates in the Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show, our newest award, first presented in 2003. Nearly 40 percent of the total entry in 2006 competed in this esteemed event. Competitors in this unique part of the dog show are those handlers who are both the breeder and owner of the entry. For the past three events, we featured Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show during the live telecast so viewers can learn more about the pivotal role these men and women play in our sport.
One of the ways to become eligible for this prestigious Bred-by competition is to earn the AKC Bred-by-Exhibitor Medallion. For the past 10 years, the AKC has awarded these special medallions to breeders who have exhibited pride in their breeding stock by keeping a puppy, training it, maintaining ownership, handling the animal, and earning all AKC championship points from the Bred-by-Exhibitor class.
These breeder-owner-handlers have made the ultimate contribution to the sport of purebred dogs, and to further reward these talented individuals we include a discount coupon for their next litter application with an extended expiration date. It’s our way of saying thank you for your continued commitment to the quality of your breeding stock.
Both annual winners are memorialized at AKC headquarters, on our “Wall of Fame” in the AKC Library. Bronze commemorative plaques with the names of the past winners of the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Best Bred-by-Exhibitor in Show are on display. This plaque is called “The Breeders’ Showcase” and is, arguably, the most coveted prize for breeder-owner-handlers. The engraving above the names on the AKC Breeder of the Year plaque says the rest: the heart, soul, and future of our sport.
These awards are bestowed upon select fanciers, but the AKC values and recognizes everyone’s contribution equally to breeding healthy dogs. Whether breeding pets for families or Best in Show dogs, all of us started out with just one litter of puppies. We encourage all of you to absorb as much learning as you continue your purebred dog-breeding journey. The AKC can offer the breeder a wide variety of programs and services to help make your trip a smoother ride.