September Chairman's Report
-- Happy 125th Birthday AKC --
New York, NY– This Thursday, September 17, 2009, marks AKC’s 125th anniversary. Since 1884, we have maintained the definitive registry of purebred dogs and governed thousands of annual canine competitions. We have always remained true to our original mission of promoting the sport and breeding for type and function but have also continually broadened our purview. Advancing canine health, upholding the integrity of the registry, protecting the rights of all dog owners and promoting responsible dog ownership have all been priorities for many decades. As we celebrate our latest birthday, we can proudly say that the AKC is the leading animal welfare organization for dogs.
Beyond this year being a historic milestone, the AKC has seen the introduction of many new programs and initiatives that mark our continued commitment to all dogs. We launched our S.T.A.R Puppy program, an offshoot of our popular AKC Canine Good Citizen® test which more than 600,000 dogs have taken since its inception in 1989; held an enthusiastic first meeting of the Canine Health & Welfare Advisory Panel and launched www.akcdoghealth.com to collectively share information and promote greater public awareness about health concerns relevant to all dogs; and, as of October 1, 2009, we will welcome mixed-breeds into the AKC Canine Partners program which will offer access to the world of AKC, including competition in companion events. Our affiliates also saw high points this year: AKC Companion Animal Recovery enrolled its four millionth companion animal and the AKC Canine Health Foundation funded its 550th research grant.
Throughout the year, a special 125th Anniversary logo has been widely used and is currently featured in an advertising campaign in Dog World, Dog Fancy, Pet Age and Pet Business magazines.
The dog-loving public is also celebrating with us in a variety of ways. We are looking forward to our first stand-alone Meet the Breeds™ event in New York City in October. And, to reflect on the role dogs have played in our culture and personal lives throughout the years, we’ve collaborated on a poll on AOL’s Paw Nation Web site. This interactive look at memorable canines from different categories such as movies, music, cartoons, mascots and others will help us select the "125 Top Dogs in Popular Culture" in celebration of our anniversary. Visit www.pawnation.com to vote for your favorites.
In November, a new book titled Dogs: The First 125 Years of the American Kennel Club, will be available as an update to the well-known AKC Sourcebook last printed in 1984. This new hardcover chronicles the history of the sport and the AKC and features many highlights and famous competitors from the past 125 years.
And wrapping up the year’s festivities will be a spectacular dog show -- an open-entry AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Over 260,000 square feet of space will be utilized for Conformation, 30,000 square feet for Obedience, and a 60,000 square foot tent will host our AKC Agility Invitational (this unique structure has been used at four Superbowls and the Democratic National Convention). AKC Meet the Breeds® will continue to be one of the many signature events taking place over this weekend.
Further commemorating the show will be an online catalog permanently archived atwww.akc.org/catalogphotos where exhibitors can post up to four photos of their dogs. We are pleased to have the participation of more than 130 parent clubs holding specialties and supported entries and hope exhibitors will enjoy the variety of medallions, mementos and other keepsakes being offered to remember this anniversary experience.
We hope you are making plans to join us in Long Beach, Calif. on Dec. 12 and 13 for what promises to be AKC’s biggest birthday party ever. I couldn’t be prouder to wish the AKC a happy 125th birthday and am confident we’ll see many more "yappy" returns.
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