31 May 2008

AKC also stands for A Killer Casserole.

Maybe I am just a reactionary, uppity, over-reactor. But I have this thing about the AKC. American Kennel Club, my not a dog person friends. Oh wait. I scared you off long ago. Never mind. I used to not really think much about it. AKC, lots of people do agility at all the lots of AKC trials in our area. My dogs, not very AKC looking so never really pursued. Won't be going for a MACH and DQ's any time soon. A MACH is your warp speed award, non agility friends, and you need the DQ's for your warp speed. You can run a Non Purebred dog in the AKC, but you get it a special Indefinite Listing Privilege, which grants you the privilege to run in AKC agility, just as long as you are not trying to pass your dog off as for-sure purebred. It's for pretty-much-sure purebreds. I Love Purebreds, other way to sound out that acronym of ILP. All fine. My dogs aren't purebreds, maybe someday I would get a dog exactly customized for me by a breeder, but not really a big deal for me who happy to have an Otterpop found in the street. Most of my agility friends compete in the AKC as well as in USDAA. I like USDAA. I like CPE. All good.

Then a few months ago, AKC ran a survey to see what people thought about allowing Non Purebred dogs to compete in the AKC. But not exactly AGAINST the real AKC dogs. In a special subset, sort of removed, back of the bus, not such a nice neighborhood as regular AKC. So I would be able to actually do AKC agility, but not be allowed to do stuff like go to the Nationals, or compete against all the same dogs I compete against in the USDAA. I'd just be in there, competing against dogs that were a little bit less pure for a different set of prizes. I would be privileged in some ways, but not all the ways. A decidedly lower class of competitor.

I get the whole thing of having standards for purebred dogs. I do. Gives us healthy hips and healthy dogs, right? Not German Shepherds with weirdo backends and fatty labs. AKC, you wouldn't allow that, right? I get it that the AKC provides useful information for dog owners about how maybe a purebred border collie not the dog for you and the purebred yorkie is. I sort of don't get the whole confirmation dog show world, but I know some of you don't get the whole dog agility dog show world. And I am happy to stay out of that world, and you are probably happy to stay out of mine. But when my dog show world is based on training and dogs learning skills and running and not having anything to do with breeds and standards, but not letting all the dogs compete based on that, creepy.

And I couldn't get it out of my craw that what if people did that with say, kids' swimming or baseball? And maybe just started a group for kids of a race that was more pure and less melting pot? Even though there were lots of kids out there that tried just as hard in swimming or baseball, but were different or didn't have the papers? So they could do swimming in a different pool or baseball in a different league. No one was saying don't swim or don't play baseball, but just saying don't play with us. You go swim over there, away from us. And then, when the biggest swimming or baseball league FINALLY said they could compete with them, it would be in a sort of separate and not quite as equal league. Like am I the only person that thinks that is a little creepy? Am I too anthropomorphy with my dog beliefs here? Isn't equality sort of an important belief, like the whole civil rights deal of the 20th century? Like FINALLY our state said a-ok to gay marriage. Just give everyone the same rights?

The dog club I teach agility for holds AKC trials. They said hey, why dontcha come over and help us since you don't do the whole AKC deal. I like the dog club and I like all the people in it. I'm not a member, because it's very AKC and very obedience in orientation, and I am so not. But they are a great community resource, teaching obedience and agility classes to anyone that wants to try. I'm just the fringe teacher way over here, doing the silly wacky running stuff on Wednesday nights. And Rob teaches there and I take his class at the end of the night. But just didn't seem right to me, to go and volunteer to help fund an organization that holds beliefs that give me the heeby jeebies to think about. Maybe I'm just over-reacting and I'm a big fat meanie. It's just dogs, right? Right?


Lisa B. said...

If you're over-reacting and a big fat meanie then so am I. I'm a mutt girl myself, so AKC is of no use to me whatsoever. So why would I care to be any use to them? Their whole reason in possibly allowing mixed-breeds is because they really need the money ... I'd rather just let them go bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

Another possible big fat meanie here as well. I have a mutt that people keep telling me to ILP so we can participate in AKC trials. I have yet to do so for the exact reasons you pointed out.

I will probably never have a pure-bred dog as both of mine are rescues and I don't necessarily go looking for a specific breed. My other dog could easily be ILP'd but why should I support AKC, when they can't support my other dog?

It is, as lisa b said, a pure money grab.

Go TSD and Go Mutts!

Anonymous said...

I'm also a big meanie head. No AKC for us because of discrimination against our Nub JRT(oh, Parson Russell Terrier UGH!) with nubby legs and our Beep with many herding breeds in him that make him a super crazed agility dog. Our all rescue crew of seven will be giving our $$ to USDAA and CPE. We may start playing ASCA because there are many trials five miles from our house and price of gas makes that a good option!

Anonymous said...

Your beliefs are just that: your beliefs and I respect you for standing by them. Problem is, I also respect "them" (c'mon, are we really going to lump thousands of individuals together as "them") and their beliefs.

Maybe their beliefs are wrong, maybe they're not. I don't think I'm qualified to be the judge and jury on an issue like this.

I personally believe that there are a lot of really cool people in the agility program of the AKC. People who have slowly but surely made the program much better than when it started. People who love their dogs just as much as we love ours.

I happen to have several beefs with USDAA but I still play Ken's game because there are a lot of great people involved and because it's a lot of fun and very challenging. Does that make me a traitor to my beliefs? I dunno, maybe it does.

Um, sorry, it's just that I don't like to denounce an entire organization because I don't agree with some of their policies.

Elayne said...

I would never volunteer at an AKC trial, wouldn't even cross my mind. Why should I spend my precious free time and gas money supporting an organization that discriminates against me? Nope, not gonna happen. I have issues with their other politics as well so it's not just that they discriminate against mixes & non-AKC breeds. I filled out the form to ILP Lola but when it came to writing out the check to the AKC I couldn't do it.

I don't belong to an agility club but if I did I'd join the one around here that doesn't put on AKC trials. They have something in their charter that says they won't put on trials unless all their members can participate and I think that's a great policy. Asking people to put in hard work for a trial then not allowing them to play is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Wow I wouldn't have thought you to be AKC or any other venue bashing.

There are venues that I won't play in because I can't stand them for whatever reasons. I doubt the venue organizations really care. BUT, I will go and help out a club by working a venue that I hate because it helps the club. It helps the people that I like and the games they like to play. I've been chief ring steward before and know how hard it is to get people to help out at trials. It's a real treasure when someone can donate a good portion of their day and not have any conflicts with running dogs.

Karen said...

I own purebred dogs, but also won't compete in the AKC because I just can't get past the whole "purebred dogs only" thing. I respect that AKC is all about promoting the purebred dog...which works when it comes to conformation...but when it comes to the performance sports, I don't get it. I do agree that the main reason for "allowing" mixes in agility is for $$ only. Since they aren't able to compete against their purebred counterparts, what else COULD the motive be??

As for working at an AKC trial, I've only been to one and I did sit in as a pole setter when someone had to take a break, but otherwise I'm too busy either training my dogs for USDAA or playing with my girls (as in human).

Anonymous said...

Dear Team Small Dog,

I agree with your conclusion that separate-but-equal [sic] AKC agility trials is creepy, but for a different reason: the illogic of it.

IF AKC ran its agility trials by *breed* class (rather than height class) e.g., run all the Boxers against Boxers, the Poodles against Poodles, the All-Americans against All-Americans (boy would team small dog have to get its little legs going to keep up with the bigger AA's!) the segregation would make perfect sense. Agility competition under this setup would encourage breeders of a particular breed of dog to breed for agility traits in its dogs to the highest standards in open competition within a select market. Nothing wrong with that.

Since, however, the AKC runs its agility trials by height, to my mind, it should *welcome* competing against All Americans in the same height class because it would encourage breeders (of any individual breed whose standard values agility-related traits) to breed for agility performance traits to the highest standard: that set by open market competition.

The current AKC setup just seems illogical to me.

Anonymous said...

Good point about the heights vs. breed Mary. I hadn't really thought about it in that light.

The fact that it is being done for purely financial reasons is what bothers me the most. With the PetLand partnership squashed, then need to find another revenue stream.

Anonymous said...

I found myself quite irritated with AKC when I filled out their questionnaire concerning allowing "second class" mix breeds to compete.
Well, why would I want to trial with them if I'm not competing against ALL the dogs?? My entry fee would just be a donation to AKC who doesn't even think my dogs are good enough to compete with them anyway.
AKC top agility dogs have competed with only a select group of dogs....not all agility dogs. How is that possibly a title of being the best agility dog??
If AKC were dog advocates they wouldn't allow the breed standards of crippling German Shepherds, pork shaped Labs, cutting off body parts like tails and ears etc..
I'll stick with USDAA, CPE, ASCA.

Anonymous said...

If you don't find AKC's arbitrary discrimination against some dogs creepy enough (and make no mistake about it, it is arbitrary - many of the AKC "breeds" were created not so very long ago by people who mixed and matched dogs of many varieties to produce a certain look), perhaps AKC's financial dependence on the income from puppy mill litter registrations (AKC calls them "High Volume Breeders" and even gives them volume discounts) will make your skin crawl.

What's that you say? AKC events are being subsidized by puppy mill registrations? Oh boy, now I can't wait to get me one of those easier-to-obtain-every-year, revenue-source-for-the-AKC ILP numbers* so I can benefit from the misery of puppies less fortunate than my own little fuzzbutt.

*nonrefundable $35 ILP application fee

More info here for anyone who wants to investigate the above assertions - draw your own conclusions: http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2007/11/akc-depends-on-puppy-mills-to-subsidize.html

Elayne said...

"Wow I wouldn't have thought you to be AKC or any other venue bashing."

Isn't the venue bashing those of us with mixes/non-AKC breeds by not allowing us to compete? It's one thing to not care for a venue because of it's rules of competition yet still support the club but quite another to support a group that says sorry you can't play at all. I don't much care for NADAC anymore but I will and have volunteered at NADAC trials I'm not competing in because I could play if I wanted, it's my choice if I don't.

If a club chooses to put on trials that shut people out that's their choice but I don't see what's unreasonable about not wanting to support that. In fact I think it's unreasonable to say 'sorry you can't play but you can come work your butt off for us.'

Anonymous said...

"and make no mistake about it, it is arbitrary - many of the AKC "breeds" were created not so very long ago by people who mixed and matched dogs of many varieties to produce a certain look"

Yes, I know someone who has an American Water Spaniel. It's a VERY recent mix of Irish Water Spaniel and some other dog I can't remember. AKC recognized, but really just a MUTT!
I must say the "breeder" is making a WHOLE LOTTA money selling them!
Hmmmm, people think my mutts are cute. Hey maybe I should start breeding and selling them!!
Early retirement here I come!

Anonymous said...

"Isn't the venue bashing those of us with mixes/non-AKC breeds by not allowing us to compete? It's one thing to not care for a venue because of it's rules of competition yet still support the club but quite another to support a group that says sorry you can't play at all."

I can do that too:)

If one venue has the rule of you can't compete until the dog is 18 months old, isn't that discrimination against younger dogs? If that is the case, what difference does it make if the host venue limits to certain breeds or lack of breed history? All the current agility venues have their rules of who can or cannot play.(i.e. age limits, or collar restrictions if you want to get fussy)

None, in my opinion are really out to promote the sport of dog agility.

All are in the business to make money. All charge entry fees, etc....to make money. I'm not pro AKC, in fact the more I know them the less I like them. But I don't feel it's fair to bash them and not anyone else, as they all have their hang ups.

Anonymous said...

"If one venue has the rule of you can't compete until the dog is 18 months old, isn't that discrimination against younger dogs?"
"(i.e. age limits, or collar restrictions if you want to get fussy)"

These are rules about safety not discrimination/exclusion.

Lisa B. said...

I think I should clarify that my thoughts about the AKC are not just limited to their agility program, therefore I don't consider it "venue bashing." Rather, I prefer to think of it as AKC-bashing, because even before I started doing agility I thought the AKC as an organization was rotten and stinky through-and-through. I made it clear to them in their recent mutt survey that I don't like them or their policies (see other commenters' remarks about puppy-mill blood money and see Terrierman's post about "Inbred Thinking": http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2006/05/inbred-thinking.html)
and I wouldn't pay to play with them even if they decided to allow my lowly mutts into their hallowed ring.

Does my unwillingness to help out in trials where I'm not allowed to compete make me unsupportive of my agility friends who do AKC? Hmmm ... I don't see all the non-NADAC competitors coming and helping with NADAC trials, so lets say it all evens out in the wash.

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

"If one venue has the rule of you can't compete until the dog is 18 months old, isn't that discrimination against younger dogs?"
"(i.e. age limits, or collar restrictions if you want to get fussy)"

Then should I start boycotting all agility organizations because all venues discriminate against my dog who doesn't always hit the dogwalk contact? I'm having serious issues with the 'logic' at hand here.

"None, in my opinion are really out to promote the sport of dog agility."

I'm inclined to agree, only because there is an ACD who trials in AKC/USDAA around here who went through a phase of leaping off the apex of the A-frame and landing about 4'-6' away from the bottom of the plank. I think that's pretty agile, yet the judges called it a non-qualifying run. So much for 'promoting agility'. Bias against springy dogs!

...seriously, folks.

I play in AKC only because I happen to have purebreds and it happens to be convienient for me to play it. If I had a mixed breed or non-ILP-able rescue I would not compete in AKC as much, if at all, because it's not worth my gas dollars to compete where not all of my dogs are welcome.

The seperate-but-equal bullcrap about mixed breeds is a shame and I don't think is helping AKC at all, not even a little. EVERY other venue (even UKC!) allows mutts to play on a level field.

Elf said...

I have very mixed feelings about AKC. I also have very mixed feelings about NADAC. I no longer play agility in the latter and I have never played in the former, even though now (with one dog only) I am eligible to do so.

I'll respond just to the agility portion of AKC, because I think that, for most people, the agility program is about the agility and the opportunity to do something with your dog.

*If* AKC allowed all dogs to play with equal standing, and *if* their entry fees were roughly equivalent to entry fees for USDAA, CPE, or ASCA trials, it's possible that I might compete in a local one if it were really convenient and I was feeling the need for a fun match. It's hard for me to take yet another venue seriously, as here in our part of California, we already have more agility than we know what to do with, within a couple of hours of my house.

However, that's the thing--IF AKC were to allow all dogs to compete equally, it might be a boon to non-AKC-purebred dog owners in many other places in the country who aren't as blessed as we are with all these other choices.

But meanwhile for me, AKC agility trials are just sort of a minor annoyance in the background because they take people away from the kinds of agility in which I am interested (USDAA, CPE, ASCA,...) and spread the resources thinner--weekends, workers, entry fees--.

I, here & now, certainly wouldn't go work at an AKC trial. I devote enough time to venues in which I and all my friends can compete. And I can enjoy my friends & their dogs at weekends in venues that I can and want to compete in.


Urban Smoothie Read said...

that's humiliating for mutts to be competiting in a different league...

fortunately all clubs over here don't discriminate the me mutt, ofcoz except the fancy dog show.

Gussie said...

In the UK pedigrees and non-pedigrees alike compete in the Kennel Club shows. Non-pedigrees (like our Jake) go on the activity register so we have the fun of choosing a fancy name ... and then we all compete in the same classes. As it's mostly border collies/working sheepdogs competing, I suspect a lot of agility dogs don't have formal "papers" anyway.

There are other agility organisations growing in the UK, but not active in our area, so I can't speak for them. I can't believe they'd segregate.

elizabeth said...

I don't compete with my dogs, but am curious. What does ILP mean? Say you have a purebred dog, but its a rescue and you don't have papers for it, can that dog compete in AKC agility, obedience, etc.?

elizabeth said...

Found the info on ILP,