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Demise of the AKC


Donald McCaig
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Is the comparison really 'CKC litter/rescue vs AKC responsible breeder'? The AKC do a fair amount of business with those bigchain petstores, it's a pillar of their financial status at the moment. They still believe people will be more likely to impulse-buy a pup if it's papered, if it has the AKC stamp. You can buy an AKC dog on a whim as easily as any other, certainly easier than getting a dog from most rescues, so I am not sure accessibility is the answer.

 

I think that in itself could be part of undermining their credibility, not among their buyers but among those who believe puppy mills etc. are bad.

 

I'd agree with Donald McCaig on this one, that quality is an important part of the discussion.

 

Although it is still sadly seen as a mark of quality by many. People believe 'papers' and a dog being 'papered' means something. It has history, status, quality, more reliability, more value. Otherwise people simply wouldn't buy them. Have a look at any discussion on the yahoo answers dogs page, or in many dog forums. It's getting less than it was but it's still the case for a lot of people.

 

The discussion about 'quality', the perception surrounding it, has changed somewhat in the US and that is at least moving in the right direction.

In Ireland the ISPCA's director talked skeptically about how a rival rescue could possibly rehome a lot of little 'mongrel' dogs: "These are not thoroughbreds that have a value." People still do think that way.

 

Edit: misspoke (miswrote?) puppy mills are a pillar of their business, not specifically pet stores.

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I live in a university town of about 100,000 people, more in the outlying county. There are several pet stores in town, including 3-4 chain, and none of them sell puppies and kittens. It may not even be legal here. However, all of these stores allow rescue groups to showcase their animals in their stores.

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Dear Doggers,

 

In 1991, the NYT syndicated my oped critical of the AKC and the RIchmond Times-Dispatch reprinted it. I got a phone call from their editor inquiring that since his family's life circumstances had recently improved and they were moving to a nicer neighborhood which AKC purebred would I recommend.

 

I was dumbfounded but that exemplifies how powerful the "AKC means Quality" story was back in the day. And "AKC reg" puppy ads could be found in every classified section. One hardly needed (or need) wait or submit to the inspection of a "responsible breeder".

 

The "I'm a good person because I adopted/rescued my dog" story is the more convincing story today but I'm cynical enough to think that this moral story wouldn't count for much if "AKC REG" was still thought to guarantee a superior possesion, see: Thorstein Veblen. Or labradoodles.

 

Donald McCaig

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I am still not convinced that a "quality" (i.e. AKC registered) dog has the cachet at the current time that it used to, say, 20 years ago - or even 10 years ago. And that perception has a significant effect on AKC registration numbers.

 

People are wising up to the genetic problems that generations of inbreeding/linebreeding/close breeding has had on many of the purebreds (Pedigree Dogs Exposed). I don't know if health problems are worse now (although I think they are) than it was 20 or 30 years ago [due to the continued generations of close breeding]. There is definitely a perception of AKC <-> inbreeding <-> genetic problems. And conversely mutt <-> healthier <-> fewer vet bills. Not necessarily always true, but the perception is held by many in the general public.

 

The last 10 - 20 years has also seen an explosion in numbers of pet rescues. Now, a person wanting to adopt a pet is able to access local and regional public shelters, any number of pet rescues, and thanks to the internet, Petfinder, PetHarbor and similar, they can reach out across the country to find a pet they want.

 

I don't know about a national perception, but in my area, adopting a rescue dog confers additional kudos. I have witnessed, time and time again, people asking others where they got their dog. If it is a purebred, the response when hearing it came from a breeder is lukewarm. On the other hand, I see people get very animated and launch into a long conversation when they hear that the dog is a rescue. Whether it is moral superiority, benevolence or just wanting to make a small difference, rescue dogs are hot in today's society. IMHO.

 

AKC definitely needs to re-imagine their mission if they are to remain relevant. I had no idea what the UKC was other than one of those "other" registries. After reading the article in the Canine Chronicles, I have a much better perception of the organization.

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Yes I was going to mention PDE. I meet a lot of people who specifically buy/adopt a mix because they view purebreds as inferior in general when it comes to health. So many people do not want a dog they view as inbred. Designer dogs have flourished for this reason.

 

I also wonder about the economy and price of dogs. When I was a kid we got a sheltie from the newpaper for $250 and a sheltie from a really good show/agility breeder for $400. Nowadays it's $1000 for a cheap purebred in a lot of breeds. In papillons (I have two and are familiar with them and their going price) going with an AKC show breeder it's probably at least $1500 for a pet dog. I just wonder if average people don't see the point in paying that much.

 

I get a lot of 'oh good for you!' when I say Hank came from the city shelter. I do tell people that's where he's from because he's a nice dog and I want them to know nice dogs exist there. I don't know about moral superiority but people think it's a good thing to rescue a dog and I think that's great.

 

I am kind of odd in that I started in purebreds and indeed in conformation showing then now have a mutt and possibly might forever have mutts/rescues maybe some dogs bred for performance of some kind but not show. I could care less about AKC registration nowadays.

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Ironically, the emerging data regarding the health deteriments of early spay-neuter will cause sports people to turn away from rescues as sports prospects.

Yup. This. I would think long and hard before getting a rescue that had been altered prior to growth plate closure.

 

I also agree with the point made by others that rescue is a very socially acceptable and, at times, morally superior avenue if obtaining a dog and that public perception has changed a great deal. I was watching a late 80s/early 90s sitcom the other day where a pup was impulse purchased and then returned to a mall pet shop like it was a totally normal thing to do. That storyline would be met by moral outrage if it was tried today.

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From my past job, I worked with a lot of dog owners daily. The AKC perception is mixed, just like what people are posting here. Many people don't care about Akc papers and most don't know anything about why Akc is 'bad'. Rescue dogs are definitely cool today (he's a rescue! people would proclaim) and so are expensive mix breeds/designer breeds. All those poodle mix dogs sell for a lot- many customers had paid $1,000+ for them.

 

Then, there are still many who think an Akc registered dog is quality, they talk big about their Akc dogs being healthier or better (whatever that means). Many believe that Akc dogs have health tests or have to be health tested- when pushed for specifics they can't ever answer what tests their dog's parents had. But It makes them feel better spending a lot of money- you get a puppy and papers!

 

Our local puppy mill has 400+ dogs onsite at any time. They sell Akc dogs and mix breeds (they buy mutts from the Amish and Ohio auctions). They sell both Akc and mutts for $500+ And they literally fly off the shelves. In 10 min you can walk out with a puppy. Rescues around me will not let you even inquire about a dog unless you have basically passed a background check. Even the few that do adoption events at stores still have you fill out a form, call your reference and vet. They don't actually let you walk out with one that day. Though, the spca I guess does do that. (I am all for rescue, just showing the other side and how some people can easily be persuaded to buy from mills/stores, CL, and Akc breeders instead)

 

At the end of the day People buy what makes them feel good.

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I expected some verbal criticism from diehard AKC people when I purchased a Border Collie from a non-AKC breeder.

 

Not a peep, and every one of those people has expressed appreciation for the quality of dog he is. I have found that some don't understand why I am not planning to enter him in AKC events, but the fact that he is not AKC registered, nor from AKC registered dogs, doesn't seem to bother even the most dyed-in-the-wool AKC folks.

 

I expected some verbal criticism from diehard rescue/adoption people when I purchased a Border Collie from a breeder after getting dogs from rescue three times in a row (four times total).

 

Not a peep, and every one of those people have expressed genuine appreciation for the fact that I get to raise and train and perform with such an awesome dog, and all have understood my choice to get a dog from a responsible breeder. I have yet to hear any "moral superiority" thrown my way.

 

The minds of many seem to be moving to more openness to move beyond AKC for all things dog . . .

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Yes the altering is an issue though it wasn't a huge concern to me with Hank since he was supposedly around 10 months - 1 year (I actually now suspect he is even older because he did have a little gunk on his back molars when I got him). He's a small guy and hasn't grown any since I got him. He's filled out a bit or maybe the vet scale was off the first weigh in.

 

But I do see why people want dogs from breeders. I will probably always have both. I do like getting 1-2 year old dogs though. It's a nice age and works easier with full time work for me. There's a lot of performance dog rehome facebook pages and there's always neat dogs on them. I'm friends with disc folk and a lot of them hand select shelter/rescue dogs after evaluating. It's not as common in agility though. I know a number of rescue BC people and rescue dog people in general- I'm talking local level types (which is probably all I'll do with my dogs anyways)

 

I also know a number of dogs 'from a farm' or even local litter. Some even mixes bred on purpose. And Of course I'm not an AKC trialer. I could see that playing a role...

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Noone could have given me a harder time than I did myself when I bought a pup rather than rescuing again. But at least I got one bred to work even though I may not work him.

 

I have been a snob about rescue and now I'm a snob about working dogs - I'm a complete pita.

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Ironically, the emerging data regarding the health deteriments of early spay-neuter will cause sports people to turn away from rescues as sports prospects.

I agree. I commented the same on another thread recently. (but can't remember which one - the Early Spay/Neuter thread in Health and Genetics?)

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Earned an OTCh on multiple chows?!!! That is an incredible accomplishment!!! Who is the trainer?

 

 

Dear Doggers,

 

A couple weeks ago I visited a brilliant Maryland obedience trainer. She’s won OTCH’s with CHOWS and her students are winning with more trainable breeds.

 

 

 

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So many people in our area (Kansas City) are buying designer dogs. I see a lot of little dog crosses. And a lot of rescue dogs.

 

The only purebred dogs I have seen recently are ones people bought at the pet store for a whole lot of money.

 

I think part of the problem is having to wait for weeks or months to get a puppy from an AKC breeder. Most people just don't want to wait that long. They can go get a shelter dog and then feel good about themselves for having given a wonderful dog a good home.

 

I don't think that the ordinary Joe around here really knows the difference between an AKC registration and a certificate from one of the other registries. It's registered and has papers and that's all they care about.

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Margot Woods http://applewoodsdogtraining.com/

 

Donald McCaig

Mr. McCaig,

 

Thank you for the link, it was interesting. Ms. Woods has been very successful as have been her students!

 

I was able to find mention of one of her chows that had earned a UD (no small feat to be sure)! I was however unable to find any mention of any of her dogs with an obedience trial championship (OTCh). I would love to read about her journey to the OTCh with her dogs. Do you know if she has written about her experiencs?

 

Hoping to join the OTCh title earners some day=)

 

Janet

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  • 1 month later...

People do tend to impulse buy and don't have to go to a pet store. Had a family member looking for a little dog. One seller had a big push job to sell them the dog. I found them several good breeders. They got a dog but I am not sure where they bought it.

My neighbor used to run a large commercial operation-150 breeding bitches. When KS toughened it's breeding laws it put them out of business. I like my neighbor but she strongly believes that the AKC is a stamp of quality and decries the fact that so many "commercial breeders' have gone with making up their own registries or are intentionally producing crossbred (aka designer dogs)

I have told her AKC is little better than the new registries.

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