Are you passionate about your dog’s breed? Ever consider getting involved with your local breed club? It may feel intimidating thinking about joining a breed club. However, these local chapters of the national breed clubs, or parent clubs, are filled with dog lovers just like you. Getting involved is a great way to make new local friends and find out about fun breed-specific events and training opportunities in your area.
Breed club members are dedicated to the education, training, care, and overall well-being of that breed. Experts who are more than willing to share advice are often included among breed club members. Getting involved is a great way to learn more about your dog, as well as the history and future of your breed. Also, clubs frequently organize outings and events that can be lots of fun for dogs and people.
How To Find Breed Clubs
While breed clubs are increasingly active on social media, many owners aren’t aware of active clubs nearby. The AKC National Club Search & Directory is a great place to start. From there, you can locate and navigate to official clubs in your local area. Clubs will often have a website with information about how to become a new member, or an email address to reach about specific questions.
Your local club may have a social media page that prospective members or members can join to stay in touch, ask questions, and connect about meetings and upcoming events. Another great way to learn about breed clubs in your area is to attend dog shows and talk with individuals there competing. These competitors are likely to be involved with breed clubs in your area, and may help introduce you to club organizers.
Joining a Breed Club
Even if you never intend to step into the conformation ring, getting involved with the local chapter of your breed club can provide plenty of support. There are misconceptions amongst owners that getting involved with breed clubs requires having a show dog. Another myth persists that breed clubs are elitist secret societies, though that couldn’t be further from the truth. Breed clubs abound with people from all walks of life dedicated to preserving and supporting their beloved breed.
Cocker Spaniel breeder Kelly Ladouceur affirms that for her, part of the importance of the breed club is as the keeper of the breed standard, or blueprint for how breeds should be structured.
“My breed club supports breed rescue and research into issues that are of particular importance to Cocker Spaniels,” says Ladouceur.
Essentially, breed clubs are committed to ensuring that the health and future of breeds is preserved. Interested in training or exploring more of the work your dog was originally bred to do? Breed clubs are the perfect places to learn more about performance sports and training seminars. They welcome and need pet people just as much as members who are at dog shows every weekend. In fact, many events that breed clubs organize have nothing to do with the conformation ring.
Education and Support
One of the key parts of breed clubs’ missions is to preserve their breed, promote responsible breeding and ownership, and to provide accurate and honest education about the breed to prospective owners.
“The most important things our club does are promoting responsible breeding and providing information to prospective puppy buyers,” explains Lagotto Romagnolo club member Lisa Brosnan. “Our breed is not well known. Although super cute and considered to be ‘hypoallergenic,’ ours is a smart, active, working breed. It is, therefore, imperative for people to know what they’re getting into.”
Clubs are an excellent way to find everything from grooming tips to specialists familiar with unique breed characteristics. They can also provide support with everything from training basics to more breed-specific behavior quirks.
“Connecting with my local groups has allowed me to find local resources when moving to a new place,” admits Greyhound owner Erin Mulrooney. “That includes competent vets, dog walkers, sitters, dog-friendly businesses, and new friends. It’s also helped tremendously when dealing with quirky breed health and wellness issues.”
If you are considering adding a dog to your family, your local breed club is a wonderful way to get connected to respected breeders in your area, as well as local or regional breed rescue groups.
Getting Involved With Breed Clubs
Breed clubs do important educational work but they also are an opportunity to have a lot of fun. Local breed clubs regularly host regional specialties with conformation and performance events. In addition, many host parties and dog meetups for all members.
“While I love the conformation specialties, I really love our family-oriented events like our picnics, play days, and educational opportunities like first-aid, carting, and health seminars,” says Kay Pedisch, a breeder of Pugs and Bullmastiffs.
Breed clubs are always eager for new members who are interested or passionate about a breed. Most breed clubs will have general meetings open to new members that provide a great opportunity to meet club members. These often take place at public places, offering an opportunity to socialize with others who love your breed.
Sometimes, a breed club may not be hosting events you’re interested in. In that case, many are happy for members to step up and organize other events. These can include anything from newsletters to Halloween parties, summer picnics, group outings, or dog-friendly festivals.
If you’re looking to maximize the wellbeing of your purpose-bred dog, look no further than a breed club.