December Chairman's Report
-- AKC’s 125th Anniversary Filled with Celebrations --
Our anniversary year has been filled with celebration, the marking of milestones, and new opportunities.
In 1884, the AKC began its all-breed purebred dog registry with just 9 breeds. As of December 30, we will recognize 164 breeds with the addition of the Bluetick Coonhound, Boykin Spaniel and Redbone Coonhound.
In addition to AKC holding several press conferences tied to our anniversary, the AKC Publications department dedicated the entire September issue of the AKC Gazette, which has been the ‘Official Journal for the Sport of Purebred Dogs’ since 1889, to the anniversary. We have also chronicled our accomplishments inDogs: The First 125 Years of the American Kennel Club, an update to the well-known AKC Sourcebook last printed in 1984.
One of our most exciting events and another wonderful way to commemorate our 125th year was the first stand-alone Meet the Breeds event organized by the AKC and Cat Fanciers’ Association, and presented by Pet Partners, Inc.
We’ve celebrated our companion and performance events, hosting the National Retriever Championships just a few weeks ago, the biannual National Tracking Invitational at a brand-new location, and the ever-popular National Agility Championships. And not to forget that the team we sent to the World Agility Championships in Austria this September returned home with two silver medals!
Also in 2009, the Obama family finally got their dog – a Portuguese Water Dog named “Bo.” The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America and the AKC PR department worked closely to make this an opportunity to educate the public about the breed, purebred dogs, and responsible breeders.
The AKC started the public conversation and followed the “Obama Dog” campaign from President Obama’s first mention of a possible dog all the way through to Bo’s arrival.
Their work on this campaign helped them win many local and national PR awards and keep the AKC and purebred dogs front-and-center with pet owners.
Finally, we began looking to the AKC’s next 125 years with the creation of several new programs. We launched our S.T.A.R puppy program, a precursor to our popular AKC Canine Good Citizen test, which will get puppies and their new owners off to a good start.
The Canine Health & Welfare Advisory Panel was created and has met several times to review public perceptions on this topic and to ensure that AKC has access to the insight and information that will allow us to continue leading the dialogue when it comes to enhancing and protecting canine health and welfare.
The AKC Canine Partners program also launched this year and has already listed more than 1,300 dogs. Beginning in April 2010, more than 300 AKC clubs will be hosting stand-alone obedience, agility or rally events open to mixed breeds.
Beyond the competitions, millions of additional dog owners we may never have reached will be able to access a myriad of AKC resources and services bringing together like-minded people who share our passion for dogs and our commitment to responsible dog ownership.
This has been an historic year of great achievement and progress for the American Kennel Club. In addition, I’m happy to report that despite the current economic climate, our preliminary numbers show that we will have a reasonable operating profit for the year, in addition to record-breaking investment results.
Once again, I want to thank all of you for your support as we look forward to another 125 years of history as “the dog’s champion.”
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