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AKC’s Change of Heart
An early valentine for mixed breeds
My mixed breed, Ginger Peach, has added AKC events to her sports calendar.

As I wrote in an earlier post, the American Kennel Club will allow mixed breed dogs to participate in events such as agility, obedience and Rally starting April 1, 2010. (Hope the April’s Fool date is not a joke!) The organization--whose new core values embraces all dogs--just announced that mixed breed dogs will no longer compete in a separate class or earn separate titles from purebred dogs. Instead, mutts will now go paw to paw with the pedigrees.

I’m thrilled that my young mixed breed dog can compete at the same shows as my rescue Dalmatians, earn the same titles and be included with the rest of the pedigreed pack. There are a lot of AKC trials in my area, which make them convenient. That said, I will continue to support agility venues like USDAA and NADAC and Rally venues like APDT and C-WAGS because they embraced mixed breeds from day one. We'll also continue to show in disc dog events through UFO and Skyhoundz--the only competitions I’ve experienced where mixed breeds and rescues outnumber the pedigreed purebreds. Participants are always friendly and supportive; it is my hope that long-time AKC competitors will foster that same community spirit.

Can mixed breed dog owners and purebred dog owners literally come together and respect each other’s choice of dog? Please share your thoughts.


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.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Anonymous | January 18 2010 |

I say, it's about time! We've always had purebred AND mixed breed dogs in our home. Dogs are dogs! I'm glad the AKC has finally learned what USDAA has known for a long while. I've competed in USDAA for a decade or more, but now will finally attend an AKC event. I've refused to compete in AKC until they allowed all dogs to play.

Amy Hanridge

Submitted by Anonymous | January 18 2010 |

Don't forget CPE -- they are a wonderful agility venue that has always welcomed all dogs.

Submitted by GRM | January 21 2010 |

I am very happy that the AKC is allowing mixed breeds as well. All dogs, regardless of whether they are pure-bred or mixed breed, have a tremendous amount of love in their hearts to share with us humans!

Submitted by JoAnna Lou | January 25 2010 |

I'm so glad that the AKC decided to change their silly segregation rule! My pups happen to be purebred, but it's important that my friends get to play with us too! Very excited that we'll be able to trial together... I might be adding more AKC to the calendar this year!

Submitted by RuthO | January 27 2010 |

As a long time competitor in both agility & obedience, I am glad to hear that AKC events will now be open to ALL dogs. I'm a bit skeptical about their motives though...I think they have seen the writing on the wall...it says something like "Agility is a big money maker and obedience entries are down, so if we let mixed breeds into these events then maybe...$$$$$ - Cha-Ching!" And besides, since many of the obedience & agility events are held separately from the conformation events, maybe people won't really see that mixed breeds are as good as the "real" dogs that the AKC promotes! It'll be great to have more and better competition at the AKC show, but I'm not convinced that they have a noble purpose behind all this...I think they just want the money! More power to the mixed breeds (and purebreds that don't meet the "standards")...let the best DOGS win!!

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | January 29 2010 |

This just in! According to an AKC newsletter sent to trial secretaries: "Additionally, effective for the events held in 2011, mixed breeds will be eligible to compete at AKC National Agility Championship, AKC Agility Invitational, and AKC National Obedience Invitational." There are already rumblings from some folks, particularly over the Invitationals which were originally created as a showcase for performance purebreds.

Submitted by Foster | February 1 2010 |

I too am glad that AKC has opened to mixed breeds; however, they have allowed non-papered pure breed look alikes to be registered in AKC and show in Agility, Obedience, Tracking, etc. for several years. If your dog was not papered and had the characteristics of a particular breed, then you could register them with a special registration and show in the above.

However, TDAA (Teacup Dogs Agility Association) culls none. If you meet the height requirements (17" and under at the withers), you don't have to even have papers to do agility. This is a relatively new organization geared strictly to the "little" dogs on smaller more compact equipment and a smaller course. We do everything like the big AKC Agility Shows, but in a smaller area and on smaller equipment, thereby saving our little dogs from the stress of the big AKC equipment. If you have a chance to go watch a show in your area, it is really fun and fast. If you don't, go to the TDAA website and look at some of the pictures and read about the organization. It is much less stress on you and your dog.

Submitted by Maura | February 2 2010 |

I have 2 little dogs that I would LOVE to do TDAA with but they are not in California yet:( I can't believe that such a popular agility state doesn't have any TDAA matches yet. We're working on it though in the Yahoo! groupd TDAA in CA... check it out!

Submitted by deb | February 4 2010 |

Can Mix-Breed dog owners come together with pure-bred dog owners and celebrate their dogness?????? Gosh I hope so. I own Italian greyhounds, and do IG rescue, but I love all dogs and enjoy them all-their unique personalities, traits and yes the things that they have in oommon. Where ever I go I keep an eye out for a person with their dog, I do not care WAHT type or breed it is, dogs are just great!!!!! If they compete in the same venue, I think that is even better.

Submitted by Anonymous | February 5 2010 |

Great! Now maybe AKC will seriously consider not providing registration to Puppy Mills! Those of us who have worked in animal protection can attest to the tragedy of canines produced by the standards of physical confirmation for profit. BARK should consider a peice on the overwhelming results of congential birthdefects due to confirmation. My mutts and I participate in agility for the fun of it.

Submitted by Beth | February 6 2010 |

Wouldn't say that puppy mills are trying to breed quality conformation dogs for show presentation... they breed anything to anything, charge hundreds or thousands for the pups and walk away happy.
Also - the puppy millers already figured out what to do when AKC started tightening down on registrations: They quit AKC and built their own 'CKC' NOT the Canadian KC, Continential Kennel Club.

Submitted by Eileen | February 5 2010 |

This may be great news to owners of mixed and purebred dogs, but isn't this just a great business move for the AKC? What happens to other organizations that originally had agility competitions open to all dogs? Do they suffer from this move?

Submitted by Ariel | February 10 2010 |

I am thrilled that the AKC has decided to allow mixed breeds to compete in companion events finally. However, my purebred Dalmatian that is DEAF is still banned from competing in any AKC event. And, he is registered with the AKC. We only have the DCA to thank for that one. The DCA still thinks ALL deaf dogs should be euthanized. Shame on them. They are still living in the stone age. Unfortunately, those board members on the AKC that are in favor of letting deaf dogs compete are being attacked now and there is a move by the DCA to have them ousted from the BOD for the AKC because they support deaf dogs competing. Why is it we are the ONLY country in the world that does not allow deaf dogs to compete and why is the DCA the only breed club that still MANDATES euthanization of deaf puppies. Shame on both the DCA and the AKC!

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | February 11 2010 |

Ariel, I'd like to learn more details. Please email me at spotonk9s@mac.com. Thanks!

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