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Meltdown in AKC registrations


AKC Chairman Ron Menaker spells out the consequences of a loss of central
control when third parties affect the core product.
In an article which could have far reaching consequences in the USA,
British breeders and all involved in our sport need to take heed, at a time when
similar threats are being made this very week in the UK.

AKC Chairman Ron Menaker spells out the consequences of a loss of central control when third parties affect the core product. In an article which could have far reaching consequences in the USA, British breeders and all involved in our sport need to take heed, at a time when similar threats are being made this very week in the UK.

RON MENAKER, the AKC Chairman well known for his judging both here and elsewhere in Europe last week delivered a speech warning serious US dog breeders and exhibitors of the huge decline in registrations of pedigree dogs with the AKC.

The very real danger, he said, was that if allowed to continue, these trends would ‘fundamentally change our organization going forward. Make no mistake, the very future of the AKC and our sport is at risk.’

In America currently there are no less than 30 All-Breed registries in addition to the AKC, whose combined registration numbers now exceed that of the AKC. The Chairman added that the AKC must now ‘aggressively pursue all dogs eligible for AKC registration. We intend to reach out, communicate, and educate those in the retail sector as to why an AKC puppy is the gold standard and why they should be registered with American Kennel Club. In achieving this objective we intend to continue to “raise the bar” by vigorously enforcing our policies. This action is essential to protect and preserve our leadership.’

The Club’s well known Compliance Program, which allows it to educate breeders about puppy socialization, genetic health screening, grooming, exercise requirements and adherence to breed standards, has always been much respected as the benchmark of excellence, and all AKC breeders can be subject to mandatory or random inspections.

Echoing the KC’s call to UK breeders and exhibitors just last week, Menaker stressed thatwhen the Board first passed its care and conditions policies in 1996, it knew it was, and still, is the right thing to do. It stills calls upon good breeding practices is the right thing to do. The American Kennel Club provides what no other registry provides. In order to continue to be the dog’s champion, it must remain a strong and viable organization.
Subsidies

He continued: ‘We are losing litters, dogs and entire colonies to competing registries. If litters and dogs aren’t registered with AKC, we can’t inspect them, we can’t help the breeders and we can’t grow our sport.

The available pool of AKC registrable puppies is being lost to other registries, along with potential participants in the sport. As we lose registrations, we also lose our core revenues, our ability to generate alternative revenues and our legislative influence. We need to get back on track growing our influence as the premier registry in the world.

We know that AKC puppies and our breeders are the best. They are the “Gold Standard” in the marketplace. We need to continue to reinforce that. Let’s not allow those other registries to weaken us or put us out of business. Let’s not allow them to make AKC a nostalgic memory as well.’

For decades the AKC has collected millions of registration dollars from AKC pet owners, money which overwhelmingly subsidized the sport. Nowadays, this scenario no longer exists. Twenty-five years ago almost all revenue was registration related. Last year less than one half of its revenues came from registrations. Dog registrations peaked at 1.5 million in 1992.

By the end of 2008 it is projected the AKC will register only 725,000 dogs.

This is a staggering 53% decline.
In an bid to raise the bar, Menaker concluded his speech with: ‘If the current trend continues and dog registrations decline to 250,000 over the next several years, AKC will face an annual revenue shortfall of $40 million.

To put this in perspective, if this scenario occurred, and we relied solely on raising the event service fees to make up for this revenue shortfall, the fee would be a staggering $20 per entry.

Our preference would be to grow our registrations to the point that we could lower, not increase event fees. Some would say the obvious solution is a significant reduction in expenses. However, a $40 million revenue shortfall would necessitate a reduction of our expenses by two-thirds.

This is totally unrealistic.

We need to secure our AKC and our sport so that future dog lovers can experience the same joys and passions we have so fortunately enjoyed for more than a century. No one is suggesting we lose sight of our rich heritage and traditions, but let’s not allow the stated goal of our competitors to become a reality.’