The American Kennel Club has lost the plot when it comes to dogs.
Over the last 100 years, they have wrecked breed after breed by closing gene pools when they are far too small, requiring the inbreeding of registered dog within an always-shrinking gene pool, and glorifying deformity and exaggeration while papering over the holes when it comes to dysfunction and disease.
In the AKC, health counts for ZERO, temperament counts for ZERO, and work counts for ZERO.
And the result? Dogs that are predictably deformed, diseased, and dysfunctional.
People have figured it out, and the result is that the AKC has been in free-fall, in terms of registrations, for over 30 years.
Registrations, which once topped 1.5 million, now hover at around 400,000, which means the AKC is now registering less 6 percent of all new dogs in the US.
To put it another way, more than 94% of all dogs in America are NOT registered with the American Kennel Club.
The AKC is to dogs what the Yugo is to cars.
Which brings us to the AKC's new merchandising gambit. Surely they will offer a better product at a better price?
Of course, the answer is no.
When the AKC went into the microchip canine identity business, they did not offer a better product at a better price, but a worse product at a higher price. After years of fumbling around, they finally abandoned the HomeAgain system for the IOS format, but their chip registration is still $17.50 when others are free, and is not better than the others as there is now a universal look up tool created by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) which scrapes most of the data out of most of the other registration systems.
So what has the AKC come up with now?
Let's start with the the positive. The "Link AKC Smart Collar,"looks great. The problem? It sells at two to three times the price of its competition and, unlike its competitors, it comes with a monthly subscription fee that will run you $7 a month, or $84 a year with a required a two-year plan.
In short, if you want get a Link collar, you are going to have to shell out at least $340 on Day One.
The Link is not yet available, so no word on battery cost, service, and whether it's waterproof.
That said, I would hesitate to plunk my money down. The AKC does not have any experience or background in electronics, and it they have done a pretty poor job developing their core business. Put those two pieces of information together, and it's not necessarily a recipe for disappointment, but it's the way the smart money would bet.
My guess is that the electronics inside the Link collar were not developed for dogs at all.
If you read the bells and whistles that come with this product ("Owners can create a scrapbook with the touch of a button to easily capture special adventures and save precious memories. Owners can easily share these adventures with friends on social media... Dog owners will be alerted when the dog is in an environment that may be too hot or cold"), and it makes absolutely no sense as a a dog collar -- but it makes perfect sense for an Alzheimer's patient tracker. My bet is that this is product for Alzheimer's patients that has been re-purposed. If you know the real scoop, pleased post it in the comments.