Friday, November 15, 2013

The Shame and Stain of the American Kennel Club

The good news is that the AKC continues to auger into the ground.  A few statistics from the AKC concerning 2011, the last year for which any data has been provided:

  • Number of AKC breeders declined 10% in 2011 for a total decline of 34% in prior 3 yrs.
  • Number of Commercial breeders dropped 36% from prior year
  • Number of puppies sold at retail stores declined 20%

Back in March of 2010, I predicted that the AKC would go out of business by 2025.   

I may have been optimistic -- the decline is speeding up, and at some point there will be a tipping effect. 

Registration numbers are so low that the AKC no longer publishes them -- a very bad sign, and one reason corporate sponsors might want to think twice before they plop money down for what is probably less than imagined. 

So what is the AKC doing about it?  Well, they have hired a public relations firm, of course!  Time to paper over the holes!  Who are you going to believe, your lying eyes or Edelman public relations, the same honest and trustworthy firm who told us smoking does not cause cancer?

And what does the Chairman of the AKC say is the new mission of the AKC and its public relations liar-for-hire factory?  Why:
  • We will de-stigmatize responsible breeders.
  • We will change the conversation.
 Right.  They will "destigmatize" responsible breeders.  A nice goal. 

Job One there might be kicking the English Bulldog (a top-10 breed in the AKC) to the curb.

There is no such thing as an ethical or responsible breeder of English Bulldogs.

Job Two might be to stop floating the cost of dog shows on the backs of puppy mill registrations. 

Yes, that's right, every dog show ribbon is paid for with the misery and disease inherent to the puppy mill business.  And guess what?  Puppy mill breeders are so valued by the AKC that they get special discounts in order to subsidize them. 

Are all those "good" AKC breeders feeling very special and well treated now?

Are all of you "responsible" breeders happy and ecstatic to be tossed into the same bin as the AKC puppy miller and the AKC breeders intentionally raising dogs that are deformed, diseased and dysfunctional?  Ever hear of the proverb, "Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas?"  Bingo.

As for changing the conversation, good luck with that until the AKC CHANGES THE WAY THEY DO BUSINESS.

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To say that the AKC has financial troubles is not to say they are on the verge of insolvency.  The organization has about $62 million a year in income.

That said it also has about a $62 million worth of unfunded retirement plans looming on the horizon, and no good way to fill that hole.  Prior to 2012, the AKC had been running operating deficits for two years, and it is now just barely running in the black (largely due to cost-cutting measures and a turn around in the stock market thanks to the war-ending efforts of the Obama Administration).

Americans, of course, continue to acquire dogs. As I have noted in the past, however, more than half of all American dogs are now cross-breeds or mongrels and today AKC-registered dogs represent less than 10% of all dogs. 

Of the approximately 500,000 dogs registered by the AKC last year, more than half were members of just 10 breeds, while the rarest 50 breeds combined represented less than 2 percent of all AKC-registered dogs.


concretenprimroses said...

Thank you for this. I couldn't bring myself to watch your clip but I've been around bull dogs and its heart breaking. You know there is a real dog trapped inside that terrible body. How their owners can be oblivious is beyond me.

Jennifer said...

I have three AKC registered Labs. I get almost daily emails from the AKC suggesting that I buy something or another. Today they're promoting the launch of a "Woffipedia". I'm so fed up with their barrage of commercialism, and their disgusting symbiosis with 'high volume breeders' that I'd like to change registers. The only thing that keeps me from doing so is the prestige of an AKC pedigree. I have an occasional litter, and it's easier to place pups, for better money, with better homes, if you have the AKC label. To be honest, I myself don't have much respect for the CKC, which is the other registry people around here recognize.

Perhaps some day you can give some advice on shopping registries and changing horses.

Jenn said...

Does part of that numbers picture mean that we are making progress against puppy mills?

PBurns said...

A little bit. The Pet Store has been replaced by the Internet and Craig's list, but still some progress... a little.

See >>

Blueberry Meadows Highlands said...

Do you know something about craigslist that I don't? As far as I know, they don't allow sales of dogs or cats. General point about the internet seems spot-on, lots of websites advertising lots of "cheap" registered puppies from who-knows-where.

PBurns said...

Craig's list is gamed every day. All you do is call it a "rehoming" fee and slap a price of $250 or $450 on the dog. Parents on site. Not a real rescue.

Blueberry Meadows Highlands said...

Fair point. In my area, Craigslist is policed pretty tightly--people flag those sorts of posts pretty well. Other areas may be very different.