Well it’s about time! It only took, how many years? One hundred and twenty-five? Finally, the All American mixed breed dog can compete right alongside the purebred guys. Mixes, mutts, Heinz 57, All American – - call them what you will, they have sprung onto the American Kennel Club show scene.
While the AKC is known primarily for the registration of purebred dogs, the mixed breeds are now competing directly with the purebreds in the skills classes. The program, called Canine Partners, went into affect April this year. What are known as “conformation” classes are open only to purebreds as these classes involve comparing the contestant against what the breed standard holds as the perfect specimen. But they will be able to compete in AKC Agility, Rally and Obedience. And frankly, these classes are the fun ones.
There are a few restrictions:
- Dogs must be spayed or neutered
- Dogs cannot already be AKC registered
- Wolf hybrids are ineligible
How To Get Involved
Not every club has opted for opening these classes to the All American dogs. The first show to do so was in April of this year and had only two entries. But the trend is to open shows to mixed breeds and it seems likely that, given the economic advantage in doing so, more and more will open their doors to the mixed breeds. And the AKC has made it easy to search for these events on their website. And speaking of convenience, you can even enroll your one-of-a-kind online.
Aside from being able to compete in these skills classes there are other advantages to being a part of the Canine Partners program, but they are overshadowed by the one huge advantage of being able to compete in some very fun events.
Of course the AKC isn’t the only game in town but it is the oldest and most stable. There are some who feel that this step was taken by the AKC because of their declining financial outlook. May be. But for whatever reason, I think it is a step that will provide a convenient avenue in which to compete and will encourage the sort of bonding that we all want people to be able to experience with their dogs.
So, congratulations to the AKC! While it has taken the old and venerable AKC 125 years to come to this decision, regardless what prompted them to do so, it makes perfect sense. Anything that promotes teamwork and fun has got to be good for our relationship with our canine friend. Right?
How do those of you who have purebreds and compete feel about this decision? And are those of you with All Americans planning to compete?
Photo Credit: dj@oxherderarts on flickr