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AKC’s Latest Controversy
Competitors were reaching for sandbags not glory at Agility Invitational

Every year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) Agility Invitational puts the spotlight on the top five dogs of every AKC-recognized breed, which gives less traditional agility breeds a chance to come out and shine. It's held in Long Grove, Calif., in conjunction with the creme de la creme of conformation and the top obedience teams. You might have seen highlights from years past on Animal Planet. Unfortunately, this video demonstrates how this year’s event went awry. No person and no dog--be it a champion purebred or nontitled mixed breed--should have to endure such disgusting conditions. Doesn’t an “invitational” imply that invitees are to be treated as guests? AKC really disappointed as host of the “party.”


Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.

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Submitted by Dianne | December 17 2009 |

Let me say up front that I am NOT a fan of the AKC. Therefore I am not surprised that the agility dogs and their people, even though champions, were treated so poorly. The AKC follows the money. There is no money in agility. There IS money in conformation trials because people will spend tons of money to buy a particlar line of a particular breed which is AKC registered. For conformation and breed purposes this MAY be justified. However, carry AKC papers one step farther, when litters are AKC registerd just for the dollars they generate. Unfortunately, the "status" associated with AKC papers misleads many people into thinking that the AKC and associated AKC papers actually MEAN something. When in reality, those papers only mean that the dogs listed are the parents of the pup. Those magic papers are no guarantee of anything. But they DO generate lots of money due to their PERCEPTION of significance. For years, puppy mills have been breeding thousands of AKC REGISTERED pups (and generating lots of $$ for the AKC). The uninformed and uneducated purchase these pups thinking they are buying "quality". Nope, chances are the average consumer has been duped. Those papers only mean (if they are filled out correctly at all) that the dogs listed are the pups parents. Fancy names and papers from the AKC do not necessarily go hand in hand with soundness of health and temperament. The AKC and its elitism are highly over-rated. Money is the name of the game. This was clearly demonstrated by the BBC documentary on Pedigree Dogs in the UK.

Submitted by Rex | December 17 2009 |

It's pretty hard to argue with this video. Wow. I wonder about the second-class status and think the comment from Dianna offers a pretty good case. Thanks for sharing the video.

Submitted by Anonymous | December 18 2009 |

Wow! I would have been so disapointed and mad if I was there. AKC is just digging themselves in deeper and deeper. What a sad excuse for a kennel club.

Submitted by Anonymous | December 18 2009 |

I was there... and I had a MUCH different experience than this person.

Divide and conquer... that is what the animal rights nuts are waiting for. This video was more damaging to pure bred dogs, and dog ownership in general, than the person intended. I know I sound crazy- like a conspiracy theorist- but I have been watching our dog rights slowly erode away over the years. As a Rottweiler owner, I watch legislation very carefully... we need to stand together... or at least not air our dirty laundry all over the internet.

We used to be dog owners... then we were purebred & mutt owners... then we were AKC purebred dog owners, UKC (and other) dog owners, mutt owners, designer dog owners, and rescue dog owners... now we are AKC purebred confirmation dog owners, AKC purebred obedience dog owners, AKC purebred agility dog owners, UKC (and other) dog owners, mutt owners, designer dog owners, and rescue dog owners (then rescue is broken down to shelters, private rescue groups, purebred rescue groups, etc)... the division will continue until we are so diverse that as individual groups our numbers are so small that we cannot make a difference. There WILL be a day when we can no longer own dogs the way we want to. (Don't for a minute think that PETA wouldn't use that video to show how WE treat our agility dogs!)... See More

'I am a dog owner and I vote'- will mean nothing any more.

Submitted by Carolyn | December 18 2009 |

Clearly, AKC values beauty over ability. Seems the American Kennel Club needs a complete overhaul. AKC's support for puppy mills, as pointed out by the previous poster, is shameful.

Submitted by the dogfather | December 18 2009 |

Does anybody take AKC seriously? They've long since lost all credibility with the overwhelming majority of dog people. Follow the money, indeed.

Donald McCaig's "The Dog Wars" does a good job describing that organization as being for the old-money daft, in the context of their ambition to assimilate and ruin his beloved working stockdog breed.

As a BC partisan myself, I hafta say that I have never seen a collie in one of their shows, like Westminster, who looked like it was enjoying itself. For what it may be worth, I'd wager that my BCs would have much preferred being outside, romping and channeling Scotland, than inside with all those crusty uppers.

Submitted by Animal Wise Radio | December 19 2009 |

This is really disgusting, though, as others have posted, not a huge surprise. Any entity that would support puppy mills, as AKC has done pretty aggressively, has little or no care for animals.

For more on the question about AKC's support of puppy mills, listen to the AKC Communications Director on an interview on Animal Wise Radio suggesting that animals are "property" and puppy mills should be able to do with them as they choose.

The interview is posted here:


Submitted by Anonymous | December 20 2009 |

OK, just one question for the agility folks? Why didn't you just simply pack up and leave instead of allowing your dogs to suffer through the consquences of staying? Would it be for the same reason that the show dog people were there warm and dry? In pursuit of a silly ribbon/title/championship that is so easily acheived it means nothing at all? Uh, yes, I think that would be the reason. In addition to placing shame on the evil empire, I mean the AKC for causing the suffering, shame on you for staying in it with no other motivation than your own greed, ignorance, ego and selfishness. It would be a cold, cold day in hell before I would subject my dogs to what I saw on this video, but then I don't need a meaningless ribbon/title/championship to be able to love them. What did you expect? The AKC has been causing dogs to suffer for decades through arbitrary breed standards that have nothing to do with health or function in dogs and by using puppy mills as a business model. Did you see the crest on the AKC president's jacket? How many puppy mill dogs have to suffer to pay for that ridiculous get up?

Submitted by Anonymous | December 22 2009 |

Although I have enjoyed training in agility, and in the past I have competed in AKC obedience, I totally agree with the points raised by Anonymous on Dec. 20. After reading about the AKC's efforts to thwart any legislation that might restrict breeding, I refuse to compete in any AKC competition. I don't want any of my dollars going toward continuing outrageous outdated breeding practices.
If more of the sport competition people would boycott the AKC, maybe the organization would start really caring about dogs.

Submitted by Crystal | December 21 2009 |

Though I think if I saw the conditions, I would just leave rather then allow my dog to stay there, this is BS. The treatment of the agility compared to the show dogs and handlers are disgusting. They should have had better and safer accommodations or cancel it all together. Then again, they would lose money.

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