Public Education News

Public Education News
AKC Launches New Exhibitor Mentor Program

Learning the ropes in any sport can be difficult. Fortunately, the sport of dogs has a rich tradition of mentoring.

New Exhibitor Mentoring ProgramHistorically, experienced breeders and breed fanciers served as mentors for local puppy buyers. In many cases, mentors not only provided the dog, but also extensive one-on-one training, advice and assistance to interested new owners in everything from grooming, to health care, to showing, and even the eventual breeding of the dog. Many mentor-mentee relationships developed into lifelong friendships.

These days, however, many people obtain their first dog from a breeder who lives across the country or too far away to visit regularly. Today, many breeders also hold full-time jobs, travel extensively as judges, or have other obligations that make it difficult for them to mentor their new puppy owners.

To help address this issue, the AKC, in conjunction with the Dog Show Superintendents Association, is launching the New Exhibitor Mentor Program. The program encourages local breed and all-breed clubs to continue in the tradition of mentoring new exhibitors. The AKC recognizes that there is a greater need for mentoring than clubs can always provide. The AKC’s New Exhibitor Mentor program matches individuals who are interested in learning to show their dogs but who haven’t been able to find a mentor in the traditional way, with experienced fanciers who are willing to mentor newcomers, regardless of their breed.

Making a Match
Public Education Manager Sheila Goffe says, “This is a tremendously exciting program which will give many new fanciers the opportunity to learn one-on-one from some of the most respected experts in the country.”

All of the mentors are expert volunteers who are members of an AKC-affiliated club.

Matches are made based on the type of interests expressed by the participants, breed and breed-type interest and geographic location. Goffe adds, “Although mentors and mentees won’t always live in the same communities or have the same breeds, we do our best to match breed interests and location as closely as possible.”

To learn more, visit the AKC’s New Exhibitor Mentor Program pages, or contact the Public Education department at 919-816-3712 or