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AKC welcomes mixed breeds

Great news for mixed breed dog owners. The American Kennel Club announced last week that they are now welcoming mixed breed dogs so they can participate in AKC performance events. The events will include obedience, rally and agility.

maya_tunnelThe plan has been under discussion for several years and the AKC’s board of directors voted unanimously to approve it recently.

According to AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung, “Our goal in creating a program specifically designed for mixed breeds is to share our passion for dogs and our sport. AKC will broaden its legislative influence by representing more dog owners and achieve greater exposure for our responsible dog ownership messaging. But ultimately, the positive developments that this program creates will benefit dogs the most, and this is what we value above all.”

The mixed breeds program will be implemented in three phases. As of October 1, 2009 owners can begin enrolling their pets and receive an AKC ID number. Then beginning April 1, 2010 enrolled dogs will be eligible to compete in mixed breed classes at stand-alone AKC Agility, Obedience and Rally events. Soon after they will have access to benefits such as discounted AKC Companion Animal Recovery Lost and Found service, a free AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate for dogs passing the CGC test, a free initial veterinary visit, a trial offer of pet health insurance and discounted coupons for dog supplies.

The third phase will offer a dedicated Web site where dog owners can interact via an online community with discussion forums and access dog care video downloads, advice from experts and the most up-to-date news on canine health and welfare. The site will be continually enhanced with new features and benefits in order to respond to the changing needs of pet owners.

This new AKC initiative is the first designed to specifically benefit mixed breed dogs and their dog owners, however the AKC has long included mixed breeds in programs such as AKC Canine Good Citizen®, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppysm, AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day and the AKC CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund’s disaster relief efforts. In addition, AKC has always actively advocated for the rights of all dog owners and the welfare of dogs through its Government Relations efforts and serves dog owners through its affiliate organizations such as the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation and AKC Companion Animal Recovery.

For more information about the AKC’s mixed breeds program, visit www.akc.org/mixedbreeds.

Of course, this new program has not been announced without some controversy. There are some AKC people who are a little stuffy about it. They say that the AKC is for purebreds and wonder why the organization wants to reach out to mixed breed dogs and their owners. But most people not only understand why it’s a great idea, they welcome mixed breeds and their people.

The fact is that the AKC is one of the oldest dog organizations in the United States. It began registering dogs in 1884. It’s the biggest dog organization, registering about a million dogs per year, and it’s the most respected. But even an organization like the AKC needs to keep up with the times and there are many people in the United States who love and own mixed breed dogs. The AKC has always been the leader in speaking for dogs and dog owners on crucial issues in the United States. If they are to continue to represent the interests of dogs then they need to be able to speak for all dogs and their owners, not just purebreds. That’s why it’s important that the AKC welcomes mixed breeds to enroll and participate in their events.

Contrary to popular belief, many people with purebred dogs also have mixed breeds. Many purebred dog people help with rescue. They may have purebreds and rescue dogs at home. They go to shows on the weekend and compete with their purebred dogs. Now they will be able to enter their mixed breed dogs in competitions at the same shows. Adding mixed breed events to AKC shows is really a win-win for everybody.

So, if you have a mixed breed dog you can now enroll him or her with the AKC if you’re interested, starting in October. You can start participating in events the following April. I think that welcoming mixed breed dogs and their owners into AKC clubs and events will bring in a lot of new life and vitality. I’m very excited about these developments.

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April 20, 2009 - Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , ,

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