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The American Kennel Club and The Iams Company announced today a total of 2,451 entries were received for the 2005 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship on January 15 and 16 in Tampa, Fla. The event will be simulcast live on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel, starting at 8 p.m. (EST) both nights. In addition a special preshow, “The Road to the National Championship” will kick off the event on Animal Planet at 7pm ET on Saturday the 15th.

“Given the select nature of an invitation-only event for top-ranked dogs, we are delighted that our total entry increased by nearly 1,000 dogs this year – a more than 50 percent increase over 2003,” said Ron Menaker, Show Chairman. “In addition to having our largest entry ever, we are proud to have all 165 AKC breeds and varieties from all 50 states and 17 foreign countries including Thailand, Finland, Peru and the United Kingdom. This truly international competition gives the public a unique opportunity to experience the best in the world of purebred dogs.”

Invitations for the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship were extended to the top 25 dogs in every AKC-recognized breed and variety, every all-breed Best in Show winning dog in America from the qualifying period of October 8, 2003 to October 5, 2004, and select dogs from recognized foreign registries. Newly invited this year were all dogs completing their AKC championship requirements, with all points earned from the Bred-By-Exhibitor class, during the qualifying period.

Seventy-one Dachshunds (three varieties) lead the entry tally followed by 33 Chihuahuas (two varieties) and 29 American Staffordshire Terriers. Four breeds – the Brittany, the Cocker Spaniel (three varieties), the Poodle (three varieties) and the Havanese – each boast an entry of 27 and the Pug and Bulldog with 26 round out the top-entered breeds at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. The three newly recognized AKC breeds – the Black Russian Terrier, the Glen of Imaal Terrier and the Neapolitan Mastiff – bring a total of 32 dogs to this prestigious event for the first time. Totals by group include Sporting – 353; Hound – 358; Working – 360; Terrier – 366; Toy – 360; Non-Sporting – 292; and Herding – 259.

“This esteemed event not only continues to draw the top owner/breeder/handlers – comprising 40 percent of the total entry – to vie for Best Bred-By-Exhibitor in Show, but also brings the best and the brightest to our Junior Showmanship competition,” Menaker said. “We are thrilled that 103 juniors entered qualified both competitively and academically. They are proof positive that the future of the sport of purebred dogs looks very promising.”

For a second year, the AKC National Agility Championship and the AKC National Obedience Invitational are being held concurrently and at the same venue. There are 750 dog/handler teams competing in Agility and 140 in Obedience, which brings the total combined entry for all three events to 3,341. The AKC National Agility Championship will be televised on Animal Planet at 8 p.m. (EST) on February 13, 2005.

In addition to the competitions, the event features exciting activities for fanciers and families, including AKC Meet The Breeds where fanciers from 141 AKC National Breed Clubs will share their knowledge and love of their chosen breed with informative displays and canine representatives.

The American Kennel Club (AKC), founded in 1884, maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world. Its rules and regulations govern more than 16,000 canine competitions each year.

The Iams Company, founded in 1946, is committed to enhancing the well being of dogs and cats by providing world-class quality foods and pet care products.

Animal Planet, available in over 86 million homes nationwide, is the only television network dedicated exclusively to the connection between humans and animals. The network’s original programming brings together people of all ages by tapping into a fundamental fascination with animals and providing an entertaining mix of programming.