AKK JOURNEY TO AKC
More Words from the Breed Founder
I’ve read that George Washington, given credit as the founder of the American foxhound, is also credited as being the first in America to keep written kennel records. Most kennel records were well recognized, although for those in that time period lacking formal education, lineage could still be traced for generations in people’s hearts and memories. Good breeders clearly understood how the past affects the future.
My own kennel records graduated from my memory to my kitchen calendar to my notebook and eventually to the computer. But how to eventually get everyone else on the same page with record keeping and quality control? Fast forward through 1985 when the first registry, the American Rare Breed Association, (ARBA), recognized the Alaskan Klee Kai. Fast forward again to 1997 when our furry friends were accepted by the United Kennel Club, (UKC). And now, 45 years since I began this journey, here we are with a foot in the door with the American Kennel Club, (AKC) just starting out on the lowest rung of their ladder, the Foundation Stock Service. Record keeping and quality control all in one! With our history in their records back to the early 1970’s and the breed standards on their website for the world to visualize perfection, the Alaskan Klee Kai should continue to improve if today’s kennel keepers are vigilant.
It was March of 1988 when I first wrote a letter to AKC asking how one goes about getting a new breed recognized. I say I wrote a letter because at that time I did not yet have a computer. Computers were not commonly available in people’s home and were mostly used by businesses. Since the IRS considered my business merely a hobby, meaning it didn’t make any money, a computer was pretty far out of my league.
I was almost surprised to promptly receive back a letter (snail mail of course) from a James Crowley, Director of Dog Events. He explained they must be ‘a pure-bred dog evidenced by existence as a distinct breed for a length of time of at least 30 to 40 years. They must be sufficiently populous in the United States and they must have owners in several different parts of the country.’ Of course there was more to the letter, but although my little breeding program in my backyard was coming along quite nicely, we obviously had quite a few years to go. But still, it helped me plan ahead, and now, finally, here we are.
As most of you know, it usually takes more than one try to get into the Foundation Stock Service, and it did us too. Then the club, as well as the breed, follow a well laid out plan from AKC in order to move up to the miscellaneous class and eventually to their final spot. On the AKKCOA.org website, the instructions sent by AKC are posted. In a nutshell, we need people to support the club as well as to show their dogs in conformation as well as in the dog sports that show off their brains as well as their beauty. Not every show will have classes available to dogs in the Foundation Stock Service and this can be disheartening to some. But if it were all too easy the world would be filled with an overabundance of new breeds every other week. AKC needs to know we are deserving of their full recognition; we need to earn it. Throughout the coming years, summer, winter, Covid, or not, there will be upcoming shows in various states in which the Alaskan Klee Kai will be represented. Will you be there? Full recognition with AKC depends on it.
Your participation matters. Are you ready?
Linda Spurlin, Alaskan Klee Kai Breed Developer
February 14, 2022