Report on the December 2022 AKC Delegates Meetings
To: Lara Hill, Peg Shaw, Kathy Nusz, Ginny Dorris, Gina Rector, Patricia Buckelew, Dr.
Sophia Kaluzniacki, Shelley Hennessy, Steve Kelly, and Liz Keimon
From: Neil H. Butterklee, Esq.
Date: January 16, 2023
- Executive Summary
As the American Chinese Crested Club’s (“ACCC”) delegate to the American Kennel
Club (“AKC”), I participated in the December 15 and 16, 2022 meetings of the AKC Delegates
in Orland, Florida. Committee meetings were held on Thursday, December 15th and the official
Delegates meeting was held on Friday, December 16
- This report is a summary of significant
events from those meetings.
At the Canine Health Committee meeting, on the first day, Dr. Charles Garven, Chair of
the Canine Health Foundation (“CHF”), explained that several milestones have been reached in
establishing the Purebred Preservation Bank (“PPB”). Specifically, he stated that the PPB will
start receiving frozen semen on in January 2023. While semen will be accepted starting in
January, the PPB will not be ready to distribute any semen until the end of next year or later.
The PPB is still working on the rules regarding the distribution and use of the frozen semen. As
part of its education efforts, the CHF is developing a webinar about the PPB. The Canine Health
Committee also stated that the AKC’s Vet Outreach Program conducted tours of 13 vet schools
At the Parent Club Committee meeting on the first day, AKC staff noted that the AKC
recently achieved a notable milestone in aiding dogs and families in need as AKC Reunite
recently donated its 100th trailer in Pike County Pa.
On the second day, the AKC Delegates approved two amendments to the AKC Bylaws:
the first brings it into alignment with the current practice for designating the Nominating
Committee for the Board of Directors; the second modifies it to reflect the current practice that
the CFO manages the day-to-day financial operations of the AKC.
Sheila Goffe, Vice President of AKC Government Relations, spoke about some of the
concerns with the Puppy Protection Act (“PPA”), which is currently before congress. She stated
that the AKC is actively lobbying to either keep the PPA from being enacted, modify the PPA, or
influence the PPA’s implementing regulations if it is passed.
The AKC Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) Ted Phillips reported the key performance
indicators and preliminary financial results for the nine-month period ending September 30,
- Of note, litter registrations for the first nine months of 2022 were 248,628 as compared to
245,718 for the same period in 2021 and dog registrations for the first nine months of 2022 were
563,978 for 2022 as compared to 619,685 for the same period in 2021. For the first nine months
of 2022, operating revenues were $80.4 million while operating expenses were $61.6 million.
- Highlights of the Individual Committee Meetings
On Monday, the following delegate committees met: Canine Health, Parent Club,
Bylaws, Dog Show Rules, Companion Events, All-Breed, Delegate Advocacy, Field Trial and
Hunting, Herding, Earthdog, and Coursing, and Coordinating Committee.
At the Canine Health Committee meeting, Dr. Charles Garven provided an update on
the status of the AKC’s PPB. He reported that several milestones have been achieved while a
few key ones still remain. The PPB held its first board meeting in conjunction with the last
Delegates Meeting, where it reviewed 127 pages of legal documents. The PPB adopted a
mission statement which provides, in relevant parts, that its mission is to “ensure the viability of
purebred dogs.” The mission statement further provides that this “valuable service is necessary
to salvage or restore endangered dog breeds now and in the future.”
The PPB hired a program manager (Monica Henderson). Dr. Garven stated that he
expects that the PPB will start receiving frozen semen on or about January 15. While semen will
be accepted starting in January, the PPB will not be ready to distribute any semen until the end of
next year or later. It is currently working with the Parent Club Committee on some parent club
surveys and the CHF is working developing a webinar. The SPB’s 501(c)3 filing is still awaiting
IRS approval. He also noted that the PPB’s website went live on December 14, 2022
In response to some questions, Dr. Garven stated that the transfer of semen can be done
without parent club approval. In other words, breeders wanting to submit semen do not need
parent club approval. The PPB will be wide open in accepting semen but more discerning for
giving out semen. But the PPB will only accept semen from AKC recognized breeds. Parent
clubs will be asked to help provide criteria. He also stated that the PPB will be able to accept
semen that is donated as part of a bequest. The PPB is in the process of developing a standard
form of a semen transfer agreement as well as a sample clause that can be included in wills. It
was brought up that the CHF should investigate accepting transfer of death documents. Also, all
semen transfers will be unconditional to comply with IRS rules (this is not like a donor advised
The Canine Health Committee noted that it is working with AKC Staff to plan the
upcoming Parent Club Health Conference, which is scheduled for August 11-13, 2023, in St.
Louis. Notice of the conference will be on the AKC website in January or Feb.
It was also mentioned that the CHF was going to host its annual Canines and Cocktails
charity function on Thursday evening. This function raised money to benefit the work that the
CHF does on behalf of purebred dogs.
AKC staff discussed its National Institute of Health funded dog aging project, which
currently has approximately 35,000 dogs enrolled as part of the study. The study group is
looking for more intact dogs.
The Committee discussed its Parent Club Memorandums of Understanding (“MOUs”),
which present an opportunity for breed clubs to do research through the CHF. The foundation is
willing to evaluate research proposals from breed specific issues. Clubs can open discussion with
the CHF about proposals and then the CHF helps find a researcher. Currently, they have
awarded 54 awarded studies at $3.4 million in grants. Some of the research grants that were
awarded during 2022 include funding to study the following purebred dog health issues:
congestive heart failure; epilepsy; computer models that can predict the performance and health
traits of working dogs, hypothermia, and gastroenterology disease in dogs.
The Committee presented an update on the work being done by the Orthopedic
Foundation for Animals (“OFA”). Currently, there are 33,000 samples in the bank. Over 1,500
new samples this year. Light year for new requests and they were unable to fill/match any of the
few requests. One of the conditions being studies is Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway
Syndrome (“BOAS”), which is a chronic conformation-related respiratory disorder, which is
linked to the severity of the chronic upper airway resistance present. There have been a
significant number of negative actions being taken in Europe seeking to restrict the breeding of
dogs likely to have BOAS (e.g., Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs). BOAS is graded on a 0
to 3 scale where 0 is normal, 1 is mild (and is also considered normal), and grades 2 and 3 are
considered symptomatic and dogs at that level are diagnosed as having BOAS. The study
consists of a physical exam, a written survey about the dog’s condition, and a three-minute
period of exercise. Because of the BOAS study evidence presented on Bulldogs, Norway has
lifted its ban on breeding Bulldogs in its country.
The committee also provided an update on the AKC’s Vet Outreach Program. The AKC
vet school outreach effort consists of several different programs. First, there were 13 AKC
outreach tours of vet schools during 2022. Many of these tours are a partnership between the
AKC staff, CHF staff and local parent clubs. Second, vet students are also invited to local dog
shows so that they can see what different purebred dogs are supposed to look like. As part of a
dog show visit, the AKC and CHF does a virtual presentation for the students telling them about
what they are going to see. Penn had 43 students and Cornell had 37 students that participated in
the program at these schools. Third, the programs hosts Meet the AKC events at the various vet
schools. Fourth, there are $65,000 of vet school scholarships that will be awarded next year.
Finally, there is a pilot program at a couple schools for students to get 1 credit hour where a
student is matched with a local breeder to assist in the breeding, delivering, and whelping a litter.
Among other things, this effort helps to improve the image of pure-bred dogs and breeding in the
eyes of new vets.
Several people complained about statements made by Embark’s CEO stating that mixed
breeds live longer and are healthier than pure breeds. AKC staff expressed concern about the
quality of the data of the data cited by Embark, the cherry picking of data, and the misleading
nature of Embark’s statements. For example, according to AKC Staff, Embark did not address
data that supports the idea that dog show owners are more conscientious about taking their dogs
to vets more often than owners of mixed breed dogs. There also was a fair amount of
complaining about Embark being a for-profit company that focuses on marketing.
Dr. Claire Wiley from AKC Staff stated that AKC was moving towards being able
perform DNA health testing for pure-bred dogs that will compete with Embark. The main test
that AKC is developing is a cost-effective test to prove that a pure-bred dog is a pure-bred dog.
Starting in the March April timeframe, kits available to breeders that will test for what parent
clubs are requiring for breeder of merit awards, what the parent club is recommending, and for
DNA. Staff indicated that there will be Chinese Crested specific tests. More details will be
available when the testing goes live. The new tests will be around $120 and will include DNA
and health testing. The AKC is also starting a genetic diversity research project. AKC Staff
indicated that breeders who agree to donate DNA for the diversity research project during the
National Championship Show will receive a free DNA and health testing kit.
There were several presentations at the Parent Club Committee that were reprisals or
previews of presentations at other meetings. To start, Dr. Claire Wiley from AKC staff repeated
her discussion about the AKC’s DNA and Health testing from the Canine Health meeting and
Dr. Charles Garven reviewed his earlier presentation regarding the PPB. AKC Staff also led a
similar discussion as in the Canine Health Committee about AKC’s Vet outreach program. As
far as previews go, Shelia Goff, head of AKC Legislative Department, stated that the AKC is
actively lobbying the federal government about a proposed law that would require anyone that
breeds and sells one or more dogs to register with the FDA as a commercial breeder (please see
the discussion in the Legislative Forum section below).
AKC staff provided the committee with updates on several key initiatives. Staff noted
that AKC Reunite recently donated its 100th trailer in Pike County Pa. AKC is looking to have
clubs add a junior membership category in their Bylaws. AKC also wants each club to have a
position of junior coordinator. Staff noted that parent clubs will be sent a survey about the types
of databases they use.
The committee published its outlines of best practices for the various categories of best
practices that it has developed a webinar for. Webinars are planned for Tuesday evenings via
Zoom. Little activity has occurred on the specialty site survey. A new reminder of the survey
will be sent out by the AKC at some time in the future. The Committee reminded clubs to set up
legacy breeder interviews.
The Breeders Development Subcommittee reported that its mission is to work with parent
clubs to develop programs and resources to encourage the responsible breeding of dogs. AKC is
also looking for each club to have a breeder education coordinator position.
The committee is dropping the 5-year plan proposals as there is no interest from parent
clubs in this and it is a lot of work for clubs to do.
Finally, the Committee noted that in 2022 only three out of six scheduled Meet the
Breeds were held. The next one is NYC at the Javits Center on January 28 and 29, 2023.
Due to low attendance at the Bylaws Committee, most of the agenda topics were tabled
until the next meeting. The committee is planning to move a few amendments forward to align
the AKC’s Bylaws with the actual practices of the AKC.
At the All-Breeds Committee, Sheila Goeff presented a legislative update which was
also covered during the parent club meeting.
The Companion Events Committee debated whether to keep the Obedience and Rally
high jump at five feet or move it down to four feet. It was mentioned that the agility invitational
had 730 dogs entered in the National Championship Show.
The Dog Show Rules Committee word smithed some of the proposed rules that were to
be read at the officials Delegate Meeting. The changes will not be included in the read out
tomorrow but will be included in the final rules up for a vote in March. Also reviewed chapter 2
section 14 which is a long list of what every show committee is supposed to have at a dog show.
They are looking to make some changes to this list such as allowing for electronic copies (as
opposed to hard copies) of rule books.
The Delegate Advocacy Committee signed up 20 new delegates for the delegate
mentoring sub-committee. The “speed dating” introduction style of new delegates meeting
mentors and AKC staff was well received and will happen again next September. The
committee requested that if someone is starting a new topic on the Google Delegate list, that the
words “New Topic” are stated in the subject line.
During the Field Trial and Hunting Committee most of the meeting focused on the
political issues as outlined by Government Relations. Oregon and Washington State proposed
legislation that could limit the amount of field events that could occur in those states. The
Committee formed a best practices subcommittee to review the various best practices to see what
could apply to the field trial clubs.
The Herding, Earthdog, Coursing, and Scent Work Committee discussed not being
ready for prime time yet with respect to having new titles for herding dog competitions. The 30-
day restriction on judges accepting new assignments has been eliminated. The committee is
working on separating fast cat and lure coursing regulations.
The Coordinating Committee mentioned that the AKC’s Competition Management
System (“CMS”) is currently not working as it is supposed to. The AKC IT department is
working on this. Eventually, this will be a web-based product as opposed to being housed on the
AKC’s own computer servers.
III. Highlights of the Official AKC Delegate Meeting
- AKC Reports
Day 2 started with the Delegates Forum, which focused served as an introduction of the
four candidates running for the three open board positions for a term ending in 2027. The
Nominating Committee nominated the following delegates as candidates for the board position:
Dr. Charles Garven, Steven Hamblin, and Dan Smith, Esq. In addition, Eduardo Jurado received
the requisite number of delegate signatures to appear on the ballot. Each of the candidates
briefly addressed the Delegate body to explain why they should be elected. The official
Delegates meeting started once the Forum was completed.
Dr. Thomas Davis delivered the Chairman’s report. He highlighted that this is the 22nd
AKC National Championship sponsored by Royal Canin. Companion and sporting event entries
have continued to flourish and grow. He mentioned two of the AKC’s technical initiatives: first,
the AKC is undertaking a major update of its Competition Management System; second, the
AKC has a new digital library, which is an archive of the AKC’s documents.
Dennis Sprung gave the President’s report. He mentioned that there are 9,395 entries in
this week’s AKC National Championship. He then introduced a presentation of AKC’s
Marketing Highlights presented by Kirsten Bahlke, Vice President of Marketing and Melissa
Olund, Director Digital Marketing. The goals of the AKC’s marketing program are:
- Registration – Increase preservation, ownership, and registration of pure-bred dogs.
- Sports and events – Increase awareness and participation in these events.
- Brand Health – Improve the dog lover’s perception of the AKC.
- Education – Be the number 1 source for dog information
- Revenue – Meet or exceed marketing budget goals.
One issue is how to enhance the value of registering a dog. The Marketing Department
conducted a survey so gain insights into this area. One question asked of dog owners is how
well the breeder explained the value of registering your dog. According to the survey, 41% of
the respondents said that their breeder did not or minimally explain this. When looking at the
type of information dog purchasers want, 51% said they want paper information (take home
information) about the value of registering their dog.
With respect to sports and events, the issue is how to convince sport viewers to become
participants in the sports. AKC created TikTok content to expose younger people to dog
sporting events. Because 60% of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24 and 80% are
between 16 and 34 years old, AKC’s Marketing Department created a very short TikTok clip
which received 475,000 clicks. AKC also created a TikTok moment from a bloodhound being
shown at Westminster with the sound of Christopher Guest talking about bloodhounds from the
movie Best in Show. This received 875,000 clicks. With respect to brand health, AKC is
working on strengthening its ties with younger, multi-cultural dog lovers.
Sheila Goffe presented the legislative update. She stated that the AKC is actively
lobbying the federal government about a proposed law, the Puppy Protection Act (“PPA”), that
would require anyone that breeds and sells one or more dogs to register with the Food and Drug
Administration as a commercial breeder. It would also require health tests on a dog before it is
bred. This was proposed to be included in the 2023 farm authorization bill. The farm
authorization bill comes up every five years. The AKC lobbyists believes that they can stop this
bill. They learned about this bill from staff members on the House Agricultural Committee who
they are friendly with. The Puppy Protection Act is being attached to the omnibus farm bill in
Congress. It would amend the Animal Welfare Act to establish additional requirements for
breeders and possibly classify some hobby breeders as commercial breeders.
Some of the concerns with this bill include a requirement that if a person maintains four
intact breeding females and sells or transfers one of its offspring sight unseen then this bill would
consider that person a commercial breeder (as opposed to a hobby breeder) and subject them to
regulation by the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”). AKC is actively working
to exclude the PPA from the farm bill, modify the language in the bill, or influence the governing
regulations. Some specific areas that the AKC can influence include the fact that there is a lot of
ambiguity in the definition of a breeding female, and the role (or lack thereof) of using an agent
to deliver or transport a dog.
Other laws that the AKC Government Relations Department is following include New
York State’s law that prohibits pet stores from selling dogs effective 2024. The sale of dogs at
pet stores has now been banned in both New York and California. All total, the AKC
Government Relations Department covers approximately 2,000 dog-related bills that are at the
Congressional and state level.
AKC CFO Ted Phillips reported the key performance indicators and preliminary
financial results for the nine-month period ending September 30, 2002. Litter registrations for
the first nine months of 2022 were 248,628 as compared to 245,718 for the same period in 2021.
Dog registrations for the first nine months of 2022 were 563,978 for 2022 as compared to
619,685 for the same period in 2021. There were 18,701 sports and events entries for the first
nine months of 2022 as compared to 15,780 for the same period in 2021.
For the first nine months of 2022, operating revenues were $80.4 million while operating
expenses were $61.6 million. As of September 30, 2022, the AKC’s balance sheet is comprised
of $235,886 million in net assets, $120,546 million in liabilities for a total of $115,340 in net
- Voting Items
The AKC Delegates approved two voting items during the meeting. The first item
amends the AKC Bylaws to bring it into alignment with the current practice for designating the
Nominating Committee for the Board of Directors. The second item amends the AKC Bylaws to
reflect the current practice that the CFO manages the day-to-day financial operations of the
The next meeting of the AKC Delegates will be on Monday, March 13th and Tuesday,
March 14th at the Doubletree Hotel in Newark, N.J.
This concludes my report.
Neil H. Butterklee