JOINING A DOG 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 licensed events.) Some clubs, such as specialty clubs or national parent clubs, 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, Agility, or Rally.
Joining a dog club is a relatively simple process. In most cases, the prospective member needs to obtain two recommendations from current members in good standing. New members must agree to abide by the club’s constitution, bylaws, and code of ethics, as well as all AKC rules. The application procedure varies from club to club. To find a club that fits your interest in dogs, you may find a geographical list of clubs at akc.org.
Many local all-breed clubs meet monthly. 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, or AKC-sanctioned matches. Local clubs often participate in community activities to demonstrate responsible dog ownership to the general public. AKC all-breed clubs have Public Education Coordinators who provide educational material, and parent clubs can steer you toward responsible breeders and local specialty clubs in various parts of the country.
Each breed has a national parent club 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 clubs offer basic companion-event classes (obedience, tracking, agility, and rally) that welcome nonmembers. They also organize trials where dogs can earn AKC titles. Similarly, field trial clubs hold events at which dogs can compete for prizes and points toward field championships. 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 deeper involvement in the world of purebred dogs.