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If you’re passionate about your dog’s breed, you may want to consider getting involved with your local breed club. But what are dog breed clubs, and why are they so helpful to dog owners and breeders?
What Are Dog Breed Clubs?
Dog breed clubs are made up of passionate dog owners and breeders committed to preserving the breed’s health and future. Each AKC-recognized breed has a national club, also known as a parent club. Each national club then has many local clubs for owners and breeders all over the country.
Why Are Dog Breed Clubs Important?
Dog breed clubs aim to promote responsible dog ownership. They are an excellent resource to find answers to any breed-related question you may have, whether that’s the best gear to groom your breed or the name of a good veterinarian. Members can also provide support with everything from training basics to recommendations on how to handle breed-specific behavior quirks.
For Cocker Spaniel breeder Kelly Ladouceur, the breed club’s importance lies in its role as keeper of the breed standard, or blueprint for how a breed should be structured, and its focus on issues affecting the breed. “My breed club supports breed rescue and research into issues that are of particular importance to Cocker Spaniels,” she says.
Dog breed clubs provide accurate and honest education about the breed to current and prospective owners. “The most important things our club does are promoting responsible breeding and providing information to prospective puppy buyers,” explains Lisa Brosnan. who belongs to a Lagotto Romagnolo breed club. “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.”
To join, you don’t have to participate in conformation or another dog sport. However, you might be 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 dog sports and activities to channel your dog’s instincts.
Dog breed clubs allow members to build connections. “Connecting with my local groups has allowed me to find local resources when moving to a new place,” says 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.”
Also, if you are considering buying a dog, your local breed club can connect you to responsible breeders in your area. Members may also be able to put you in touch with local or regional breed rescue groups.
Besides all of the ways a breed club can help you become a responsible dog owner, joining one can also be lots of fun! For example, clubs frequently organize outings and events that can be enjoyable for both dogs and people. “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.
How to Find Dog Breed Clubs
Breed clubs are always eager for new members who are interested or passionate about a breed. Most will have general meetings that are open to newcomers, offering you an opportunity to socialize with others who love your breed. But how do you find a local breed club?
The AKC National Club Search & Directory is a great place to find your breed’s parent club. From there, you can locate official clubs in your area. A parent club will often have a website with information about how to become a new member, or an email address to use if you have specific questions. Your local club may have its own website or social media page where prospective members or members can stay in touch, ask questions, and connect about meetings and upcoming events.
You can also attend dog shows and talk with individuals who are there to compete. These competitors are likely to be involved with breed clubs in your area, and may help introduce you to club organizers.