Joining A Dog Club



1999 Westminster Kennel Club Dog clubs bring together people with a common interest in raising, training, breeding and competing with purebred dogs. Clubs are a popular place to socialize and exchange information with seasoned dog show folks.

Newcomers to the sport may be surprised by the number and variety of clubs. All told, nearly 5,000 clubs around the country currently hold AKC-licensed or sanctioned events each year. (The difference between licensed and sanctioned events is that points or legs toward a title are only offered at license events.) Some clubs, such as specialty clubs or national parent club, are devoted to the promotion of a single breed. In contrast, all-breed clubs welcome enthusiasts of every kind of registered purebred dog. Still other clubs are dedicated to the pursuit of a particular dog sport, such as obedience, tracking, field trials, hunting tests, herding, lure coursing, or agility (the fastest growing AKC event).

Joining a dog club is a relatively simple process. some offer educational programs on topics such as grooming, breeding or handling for the show ring. Once or twice each year they put on shows, trials and/or AKC-sanctioned matches. Local clubs often participate in community activities to demonstrate responsible dog ownership to the general public. Parent clubs have Public Education Coordinators who provide education materials, and a list of responsible breeders and local specialty clubs in various parts of the country.

Each breed has a national parent club that is responsible for the important job of drafting and revising the breed standard, the document that describes the ideal dog of their breed. Parent clubs also hold specialty shows (shows at which only one breed is judged) and support the organization of independent specialty clubs throughout the country.

"Many obedience clubs offer basic obedience classes that welcome members and nonmembers. They also organize obedience trials where dogs can ear AKC titles. Similarly, field trial clubs hold events at which dogs can compete for prizes and points toward field championships. Trials are available for pointing breeds, retrievers, spaniels and three hound breeds: Basset Hounds, Beagles and Dachshunds. Field trial clubs may also hold noncompetitive AKC hunting tests to evaluate the pointing breeds, retrievers and spaniels against written hunting standards under simulated hunting conditions.

Joining a dog club (or joining several) adds an extra dimension to owning any breed. It is highly recommended for anyone seeking a deeper involvement in the world of purebred dogs.

Club Search and Directory
The AKC Club Search function allows you to find a club based on the type of training, services, and competition the club provides.

The above is an excerpt from The American Kennel Club publication The Complete Dog Book, 19th Edition, Revised.

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