Friday, August 28, 2009
By Ruthie Bently
Have you ever been to a dog show? When I was in grade school I went to my first dog show, which was held right down the road from where I lived on an estate called “Tara” (really, I’m not making this up). At first glance, it seemed as if we had walked into a three ring circus. There were dogs running around in several rings with their handlers, dogs in crates in other areas, and there was one main ring with a red carpet laid down in it, without the dogs. Since I had grown up with Boxer dogs, the area where they were kenneled was the area I gravitated to. I met a very kind woman who explained what the show was all about, and she told me about the local breed club as well. This was where I learned about breed clubs for the first time.
There are breed clubs for most of the AKC recognized dogs, and even clubs for some of the rare breeds as well. The purpose of a breed club is to promote their given breed, along with educating anyone interested in their breed. They can also be instrumental in giving you information about the breed you may be considering purchasing or adopting. The breed club is usually also a good place to find out information about rescued dogs of the club’s breed.
Breed club members are people who are dedicated to the preservation of the breed, as it was meant to be used. They also want to preserve the breed’s standard. The breed club members are also careful to ensure that any breeding that takes place between dogs are for the betterment of the breed itself and not the individual breeder. Most breed clubs have a code of ethics that their dog breeders must follow to be a member of the club. The code of ethics for each breed club usually has to do with maintaining the standards of the breed as a whole, and members who do not adhere to them can be evicted from the club. It also helps ensure that anyone getting a new puppy will get a quality puppy – one that is free of health issues and conforms to the standards of the breed.
Breed clubs often hold their own dog shows, and these can be a confirmation show, or a working trial. For example, a Labrador Retriever breed club may host a tracking trial or hunting events for their given breed. The parent club of the breed is responsible for writing the standards that all dogs of that breed are judged by. Any dog that is allowed to be shown at a breed club show must meet the breed standards or be disqualified from competing.
Breed clubs are wonderful places for someone looking for a puppy of a specific breed. They can point a new dog owner in the direction of a breeder who adheres to the code of ethics of the club and who may breed dogs for confirmation or working, and sometimes even for just a great family companion dog. So the next time you want a certain dog, or even a dog to help you around the farm, consider contacting the breed club of the dog you are seeking.
Read more articles by Ruthie Bently