AKC Approves Working Dog Sport

AKC Approves Working Dog Sport

 

-- Board Approved Parent Clubs Request for New Competition --

The American Kennel Club® Board of Directors has granted the request of four Parent Clubs to approve the Working Dog Sport (WDS), effective January 1, 2007 with regulations to be approved by the AKC Board. The breeds approved to compete in AKC®'s newest sport are the Bouvier des Flandres, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd Dog, and the Rottweiler. The regulations will be finalized by a committee consisting of a representative from each of the four Parent Clubs and AKC staff. Upon completion, the regulations will be forwarded to the AKC Board for approval.

"The Working Dog Sport is designed to enable dogs of applicable breeds to demonstrate the physical and mental abilities needed to perform scent and protection work, while maintaining a high level of control and a strong degree of obedience," said William Speck, VP Performance Events.

The AKC Delegate Parent Club Committee endorsed the WDS and recommended four criteria that have been incorporated into the program:

  • Each Parent Club - the American Bouvier des Flandres Club, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, and the American Rottweiler Club - is directly responsible for its own events and may not assign this responsibility to others.

  • The Parent Clubs involved are directly responsible for this program. A WDS Advisory Committee will be formed with representatives from the participating Parent Clubs.

  • Each Parent Club may run up to five events in a calendar year.

  • The program will be run on a test basis for three years and then reviewed.

The WDS will be held only at the allowed breeds' National Specialties and not at All-Breed dog shows. For more information please reference the Frequently Asked Questions below.

The Working Dog Sport - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Working Dog Sport (WDS)?

A: The Working Dog Sport is a competitive AKC Performance Event designed to demonstrate the progress that has been made in breeding for the physical and mental abilities necessary for performing scent and protection work, while maintaining a high level of control and a strong degree of obedience.

Q: Why is this an AKC event with AKC titles rather than strictly a Parent Club program?

A: The same question could be applied to any AKC Performance event. The sponsoring of events that enable breeders and owners to demonstrate the progress that has been made in breeding for type and quality, and/or for practical use, stamina, and obedience, is part of the mission of AKC consistent with the provisions of its Charter and Bylaws. AKC approval and AKC titles also give an event more national and international credibility than it would otherwise reflect.

Q: These events are now limited to four breeds. How many other breeds will become eligible to compete?

A: This is a Parent Club driven program. Only AKC breed Parent Clubs may hold these events and only breeds represented by Parent Clubs in the program may participate. Any Parent Club wishing to participate must document that:

  • Historically the breed was developed to have these characteristics tested for WDS.

  • There is sufficient interest within the Parent Club's membership to support this activity.

  • The WDS competition will be held only at the allowed breeds' National Specialties. The WDS will not be held at All-Breed dog shows.

Q: Is it unusual for breeds from different Groups (Working and Herding) to participate in the same Performance Events?

A: It is in fact common for breeds of different Groups to compete in the same Performance Event. The Groups are a dog show classification. There are many cases where dogs assigned to different Groups were developed to perform similar tasks. AKC's Herding, Lure Coursing, and Earthdog events all have participants from more than one Group.

Q: The Parent Club is responsible for the conduct of these WDS events. How will the Parent Club ensure that their club members entrusted with handling events are capable?

A: WDS personnel must have experience in participating in this activity. They must also attend an AKC approved WDS Institute/Seminar and successfully complete a written exam on the regulations and procedures of the WDS. AKC may establish additional requirements. The regulations specifically provide for WDS personnel to have extensive experience in this activity.

Q: Who may judge these events?

A: An individual who is in good standing with AKC, and who meets the following criteria, may judge WDS events:

  • Documented experience in this activity.

  • Be at least 21 years of age.

  • Successful completion of an AKC-approved WDS institute/seminar.

  • Two references from among the President, Training Director, or Director of WDS judges for a Parent Club in the program.

Additional requirements may be added by AKC, based upon recommendations from the Parent Clubs in the program.

Q: How is the WDS different from the program proposed two years ago?

A: The previous proposal put forward by AKC was open to all AKC-registrable breeds with events held by all AKC clubs. The current WDS was requested by four breed Parent Clubs (the American Bouvier des Flandres Club, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, and the American Rottweiler Club). The events may only be held by these Parent Clubs, and only these breeds are eligible to enter. The program has been endorsed by the AKC Delegate Parent Club Committee, with certain provisos that have been incorporated, as follows:

  • Each Parent Club is directly responsible for its own events and may not assign this responsibility to others.

  • The Parent Clubs involved are directly responsible for this program. A WDS Advisory Committee will be formed with representatives from the participating Parent Clubs. This is consistent with the administration of other AKC Performance Events.

  • Each Parent Club may hold up to five events in a calendar year.

  • The program will be run on a test basis for three years and then reviewed.

 

For the past five years, a number of these events have already successfully been held by the Doberman Pinscher Club of America and the German Shepherd Dog Club of America as special attractions with AKC permission.