Tuesday, May 18, 2010


We just received the following:

May 18, 2010

Today the American Kennel Club faces unprecedented financial challenges. These challenges not only impact us in the present, but also raise critical questions about our future.
There was a time when the American Kennel Club’s robust registration revenue provided the opportunity for the sport to flourish and the ability to do more for dogs grew unabated. However, the past few years have witnessed a marked downward spiral in registrations, leaving the memories of yesterday in the wake of the harsh realities of today. Therefore, it has been necessary to embark on a number of new initiatives in the quest for additional revenue. At the same time, there has been a constant tightening of all expenses in ways that, thus far, have not impacted our preeminent position in the world of dogs.
Our ability to maintain a reasonable operating budget has come from alternative revenue sources, as well as some previously enacted revenue initiatives that have required exhibitors, clubs, and registered handlers to accept increased or new fees. In addition, there have been significant staff and expense reductions at AKC. When revenues fell below projections, staff made the necessary cuts to avoid an operating loss. While purebred dog organizations in other countries face serious threats to their very existence, we have been able to maintain the high level of our services to the sport, launch new programs, continue our important philanthropic contributions, and protect a financial reserve that helps ensure our future. Yet the decline in revenue continues.

Our judges are crucial to our sport. They not only officiate at our events; they are thought leaders, mentors, and breed experts who help bring the next generation of the fancy to maturation. Now it is time for judges to join the other constituencies of the AKC - clubs, breeders, exhibitors, and registered handlers – to make a financial contribution to help maintain the quality of the sport we all love so much.

With this in mind, at its May 2010 meeting the AKC Board voted, without an opposing vote, to enact a fee for conformation judges. The need for that fee is undeniable. The feedback from the judging community on the necessity for the fee has been very supportive. However, the feedback on the methodology for application of the fee has met with universal disapproval. Healthy debate is critical to the viability of a strong and vibrant organization. The Board values the opinions of the judging community and appreciates the many constructive suggestions offered concerning the fee structure methodology.

With the input of the judging community in mind, the Board today has taken the following actions:
1.    The previously approved fee structure has been withdrawn by the Board and new fee structures will be considered. The concept of judges’ fees remains intact.
2.    The Board has instructed AKC staff to revisit the alternatives discussed over the past year in addition to the other suggestions made recently by several judges to arrive at several equitable methods for consideration.
3.    The Board has instructed AKC staff to meet again with representatives of judges organizations for input on these methodologies before any final decision is made.
It is imperative that all of us come together to face our challenges with the same passion, sportsmanship, and determination that is the hallmark of the great competitive spirit of the fancy. When we have come together in this manner in the past, we have accomplished great things. For the good of the sport we all love so much, we must now move forward together.

Ronald H. Menaker   
Chairman of the Board
We thank all those that stepped forward and contributed to a solution to this issue. We hope that all the stake holders continue a open and honest dialogue that puts the best interests of the pure bred dog first.


  1. So, even though they are rescinding the current proposed Judge Fees, they are still going to come up with a plan to charge them SOMETHING. Not much of a victory...just a delay of the inevitable?

  2. Maybe a pay cut would be in order!


  4. Agreed, doesn't sound much like a club but more like big business. They already charge $25 application fee for judges & HOW MUCH for each breed they are applying to judge--$25?? They are concerned that registrations are down, which will affect the budget. Kudos to responsible breeders for not having puppies in an economy that won't support it.

  5. Don't forget JUDGES work for you!!!!!!!!! I don't know of any other employer who charges their employees to work for them. I think it works the other way around!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. In various places I am seeing this same comment that the war has been won and that the AKC has rescinded this idea.

    Well THIS particular idea has been rescinded, BUT the concept of a judges' fee is STILL there.

    Keep in mind that letters such as this get reviewed by the AKC's legal department.

    Point #1. Last sentence.

    If someone can tell me how they interpret this to mean anything but the idea is still going through, I'd love to hear your logic.

  7. The victory here is that public opinion has influenced the process. I have every confidence that any decision on this matter will include input from all the stakeholders.

  8. I honestly think AKC is overlooking their nonprofit organization status and working the company as a big business when they are so concerned about where they can increase revenue, yet the heads of AKC are lining their pockets with exorbiant pay checks. The CEO's of most nonprofit organizations make an annual salary in the ballpark of $200,000 to $250,000, yet how can our akc head make over $650,000 a year plus other side incomes?!? Instead of working on creating more money with judging fees and creating Grand Championship awards in the hopes of increasing entries, why don't we start with the ones on top and work our way down? Their paychecks are ridiculous and while they want to charge judges, they have done nothing but line their own pockets. The organization is being operated like a corrupt big business, and somehow, someone needs to step up and answer for such questionable operations. Where does one turn to for investigations of misappropriation of funds in nonprofit organizations??
    A worried dog enthusiast

  9. Agreed, the AKC high acrchy has finally lisnted to the little people who support this sport week and week out. Now one question I have to the fancy is this. If we are hurting for money how come we still spend millions of dollars to keep our offices in NYC? We from what I have been told have a beautiful half empty building in Raleigh, NC. The higher archy of AKC needs to realize that we as exhibtors support them and this wonderful sport. Listen to us!

    I can only imagine that most in the sport would rather see our offices moved to cut back on spending than lose this sport once in for all. Just look north to the Candian Kennel Club as a good wake up call. They are about to go under and lose there Kennel Club for good.

    A concerned enthusiasts

  10. It does seem interesting for AKC to have a fee associated with being a judge. However, I did some research on the internet from other organizations who have annual fees (as well as annual test/exam fees) associated with their officials and judges - the point is it's NOT uncommon.

    For example:

    *Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Organization
    *Orange County Football Officials Association
    *USA Track & Field
    *Arizona Interscholastic Association
    *American Goat Society
    *Palomino House Association
    *National Association of Women's Gymnastics

    *Cat Fanciers Association

    So it sounds like all of these other organizations have had to look for other means of revenue as well - we're not the only ones...

    My Google searches were:
    "judges fees/dues"
    "officials fee/dues"

    if anyone cares to cross reference my searches.

  11. Most judges judge just for the money and status. It is a source of income. Most hide behind the ...."I care about the breed" BS. They are always judging for their next assignment. Why would an elderly judge travel each weekend on a plane to far off places and not be doing it for a living. I think they should donate an amount from each dog they judge back to AKC. JMHO