Household Pet Opportunity or Threat
Empty show halls, declining entries and soaring costs, we have to ask ourselves are we loosing out on an opportunity by embracing a new way of thinking.
So many of our organizations AKC, CKC and the FCI were created to perpetuate the advancement of purebred dogs, but now we’re confronted by the difficult task of asking ourselves do we need to refocus our direction and embrace a new way of thinking for the betterment of all dogs.
If we’re going to be sustainable moving forward we need to create new revenue generating sources for our shows and organizations as we’re loosing out on opportunity. The Cat Fanciers Association along with other registering body’s for purebred cats have embraced the household pet category for sometime now. I have had the opportunity on many occasion to sit back and watch this class being judged, yes judged. The most interesting fact about the household pet category is it always seems to be the group at the show that are the most enthusiastic, cats are acknowledged by their names. The judges critique are a summary of childhood or fond memories recognizing a specific coat pattern, color or characteristic that sets it apart from the rest of the class. The class is documented and awards can be earned over the course of the show season. Interesting fact at some point research had indicated that 60% of the people involved in the household pet category take interest in a purebred animal.
My previous post indicated that we had to create new ways to get people into our show halls to make new impressions, again I ask you are we loosing out on opportunity.
Let’s look at logistics if we offered 3 categories: up to 15 inches, 15-22 inches and over 22 inches, we have to create a way that this competition is safe as we will be dealing with novices. Handlers should be a minimum of 8 years old, if a family has younger children than this perhaps we can create an opportunity for juniors. In Canada we offer a Pee Wee class this is not normal for other organizations but again we’re creating opportunities for the whole family to be involved. The family enters with the understanding dog must be clean, nails done, and current on vaccinations we’ve now created residual income for local business in addition to the show giving club and potentially the governing body i.e.. AKC, CKC, etc… as an event # would be necessary if the family were to enter on going events. The class could be judge by aspiring judges as sanction matches seem to be a thing of a past, a potential new component. An ambassador for the show giving club could do an orientation 30 minutes prior the judging welcoming the new participants and giving them an overview of what to expect. Fancy rosettes for 1-4 and there hooked.
Entry fee $30 let’s just say 50pp showed once over the weekend that’s $1500 of new revenue 50 new people to our show halls we haven’t seen before and potentially new people to the fancy. I can tell you from watching these competitions at CFA shows the camaraderie, sportsmanship and excitement are what we’ve lost in our sport.
Last component the pet industry Purina, Eukanuba, Royal Canin, National Box Stores, Vets, and Groomers make successful margins from the pet industry. The reality is we in purebred dogs make up less than 20% of the pie. So when we reach out to these organizations we get 20% of the big picture for funding and sponsorship. If we as an organization embraced a new way of the thinking we would be aligning ourselves with the possibilities of greater sponsorship, as we would be putting ourselves in the face of the audience these companies are trying to capture.
So I ask you for the perpetuation of purebred dogs, or the evaluation of all dogs. As Sam Cooke sang “A Change is Gonna Come”.
Written by: Shawn Nichols, British Columbia, Breeder/Exhibitor/Judge