AKC’s presence in China & An Evaluation of China's fancy
It has been a year and a half since AKC made its official presence in China with the AKC-Global Services & NGKC business partnership, and this has been received by the fancy with enthusiasm and great expectations.
Chinese fanciers have since poured onto AKC's website learning all they can about the sport in the US and all the good things AKC stands for. They have embraced AKC’s values, philosophy, standards, dog show rules and regulations and AKC licensed judging. All this makes sense since most purebred dogs in China have come from American stock.
This enthusiasm for AKC's entry into China is also spreading into neighboring countries. Many Asian clubs have visited the Beijing office asking for help in introducing the AKC to their own country. AKC’s presence is being perceived in China and Asia as more than just a pedigree registry, it is also considered to be their “champion of dogs” and “dogs champion” and is expected in helping them not only with pedigree dogs, but also with the many canine welfare issues facing them.
Shi Zhaoxin, Chairman & Founder of National General Kennel Club in Beijing told OUR DOGS: ‘China's and Asia's fast growing pedigree and pet-dog ownership provide a tremendous potential for NGKC’s and AKC-Global Services’ future. We strongly believe that the AKC is presently well positioned in China and Asia to take full advantage of its popularity, by making the proper alliances and investments required in realizing substantial returns.
‘Our sport and verifiable registry cannot develop, function or survive without national pet/animal welfare protection, population and rabies control programs and legislation. None of these exist today in China and in many Asian countries. Every city has its own irrational breed and size restrictions, mandatory and unaffordable police registration, scaring dog owners into an underground dog community. Dog shows are strictly forbidden within city limits and from all easily accessible venues.
‘Massive, unnecessary, cruel, and at times indiscriminate culling of strays, in response to rabies epidemics, is much too common. These issues pose a serious impediment to the development of our sport and our registry. Most Chinese and foreign dog owners are simply too scared to register their dogs with anyone.
‘We urgently need to address these issues. Our canine and animal friends do not get much respect here from our authorities or the general public. It is primarily a cultural and educational issue that will take time and serious commitment by our government, domestic and international private enterprises and NGOs.’
‘Compounding the situation, we are now facing new problems within the sport and our membership. Parentage verifications, only recently possible through our mandatory DNA and microchip registrations, have forced many irresponsible and high-volume breeders out of our system, and they represent the majority of breeders. Many honest breeders and exhibitors simply cannot afford the high cost of our registration and are questioning the value of our registrations, as we have not yet been recognized by any other registry abroad. Many more simply do not realize the importance of a verifiable registry. They can all very easily obtain registrations from our competition, a soon to be recognized FCI contracted club, at half the price, since they do not have the DNA requirement. We are anxiously awaiting recognition from world-respected organizations, if we are to succeed as China’s independent, credible and verifiable national registry. No legitimate national kennel club can survive for long in such an environment.
‘In its first six months with AKC-GS, NGKC has made impressive progress with registrations and club-membership, and alone has been carrying the load in promoting the fancy, its registry and its member clubs, putting tremendous pressure on its resources. It will be very difficult for us to maintain growth much longer without our government’s commitment in an effective dog population management program, and without more support and recognition from our overseas colleagues and partners.
‘The much bigger issues require the expertise and direct participation of our government and world respected animal welfare and protection organizations. China itself and its animal issues are just too big to be tackled by any single organization. Some of the programs we are considering through the AKC, such as the Canine Good Citizen and Companion Animal Recovery, could help with strays, provided these programs are affordable to us and to the public, and we would still have to first resolve the breed/dog size restrictions imposed by the authorities, for these to succeed.
‘If China’s dog fancy is allowed to develop in an irresponsible and uncontrollable manner the consequences will be catastrophic to our fancy and society, worldwide.
‘We are organizing a Global Canine Welfare Responsibility Forum to be held this November 27, in conjunction with our National Dog Show, November 28-29, in Tianjin, and we have received encouraging response and tremendous support from international organizations. We have made it very clear in the past that NGKC will always take an engagement rather than a confrontation approach with all of its relationships.
‘Putting aside ideological and political issues, we are working together in making this forum successful. There is a lot of common ground here for breed-clubs/registries and animal protection organizations. Breed specific issues have no place here and will not be even discussed in this forum. We also hope that this forum will signal the beginning of global cooperation between all parties, and make it an annual event for China, Asia and the world.
‘Our forum will provide the authorities with proven methods, working guides and documents, training support and guidance in implementing a humane dog population management system, all of which have been successfully used in other large developing countries. The government and the authorities of the city and municipality of Tianjin have been very responsive in our efforts. We have targeted the city of Tianjin for a pilot program, and this is the primary goal of the forum. We are very confident of its success, and its eventual implementation throughout China.
‘International animal protection organizations have demonstrated a serious commitment and support to our needs, with real tangible benefits to our society. They have offered manpower in specialized training programs, some funding, and actual working materials and documents, all so desperately needed by our authorities and by us.
‘It would be in the best interest to all of us in the fancy, and to all canine/animal welfare organizations, in taking advantage of this opportunity and make a serious contribution in helping our beloved canine friends, leading to a more harmonious world society.’
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