Let’s Keep America in AKC

I’d like to share an opinion that might be a bit controversial.  It is regarding AKC’s licensing with Jakks Toys for producing AKC branded agility equipment for children, to be sold in Toys R Us stores.  The last thing I want to do is criticize an organization that is not only doing so much for dogs, but also doing so much to keep the sport of agility the safe, organized, and popular sport that it is. I mean, my history of competing is in AKC, so who am I to complain?  But hopefully they are open to their own members sharing their opinions and letting it be known when they are not happy with choices they make. 

Which is why I want to share my recent disappointment when I saw this equipment being offered by the AKC for purposes of raising funds.  First, the equipment is being made overseas, in China, a nation known for cruelty to animals and human rights violations. It is well known that they sell dogs on the open market, both dead and alive, for food and fur. Now, this is controversial I know, and it is with much trepidation that I mention it because there are some things that I just have to buy from China because I either can’t afford the American version, or more often than not, I don’t even have an option.  This is life and it can’t be avoided.   It’s just that I think it would have been more fitting for the AKC, a company with “American” in its name, to try and raise funds by first trying to court an American company to manufacture their products.  Yes, those products might be more expensive, but they would be quality, and more in line with the standard industry pricing that is already out there for agility equipment.  For example, if you look around online, a comparable Competition Tire Jump can range anywhere from $95 to $150.  But when suddenly that item is manufactured in a foreign country and sold for $50 and marketed to large chain stores, a large majority of American agility manufacturers are affected.  Surely every company like mine wants to offer the cheapest price on an obstacle.  But I would lose some sleep if I knew that producing the most popular agility obstacles in a dog-hating country and drastically changing the industry standard for those items was hurting all my competitors. 

So while I am happy the AKC is making some extra money through their clever marketing and branding, and that their equipment is being marketed to kids, I just think that there are other ways to do this that could possibly be a better support to the nation of which they are so named.  That’s all.  Thoughts?  I am open to perpespectives that I haven’t considered.

13 Comments on “Let’s Keep America in AKC

  1. ZooGal

    Thanks for giving it a second look. I’ll certainly do the same. As I said it’s not a policy of “buy North American first” as that’s simply not feasible with the price points being what they are, but when POSSIBLE they prioritize for products made here.

    I speak of this from somewhat inside the organization … for a few years our household income came from the WM Corp and we are WM shareholders (full disclosure – but I believe that also gives us a perspective beyond what most folks typically hear).

    Our dogs eat Canadae or Fromm, so we spend many of our Doggie Dollars at a small shop not far from home. I get the need to support the small shop – I’m self employed, so I REALLY get it.

    This IS a very healthy discussion. I’m also thankful that we have the opportunity to have this conversation here. Thanks for the forum AA!

  2. As a dog breeder of Pomeranians and Toy Poodles, a Prof. Pet Groomer/State Licensed Instructor of Grooming for 20 years, Owner of a Grooming Salon and Founder of a horse and dog rescue; I refuse to paper my dogs with AKC for many years and here is now another reason to turn my back on this hypocritical club. AKC registered dogs are many times poor quality, physically defective and extremely overbred. The Rabbit/Cavy association and Donkey Association is more careful about what animals recieves registration papers then AKC. It is amazing that this kennel club does not even request pictures of the dogs/puppies they register. This alone would weed out thousands of dogs that would not meet the basic AKC standards of the breed by photos alone. Yet they just keep pumping out those registration papers as long as people pay the fee. Really sad if you think about it. Now they support a country by selling products made by China! China just killed hundreds of American pets and made our children sick with their heartless/careless acts in the manufacturing of toys and food!! China treats dogs like garbage! Leave it to AKC to not take this in conderation. All they care about is money making, not the dogs anymore. As a person in the pet industry for over 20 some years now, I am sick to my stomach that AKC would do this. But it really doesn’t surprise me as I have watched the path of this kennel club go into the pits for years now. Hopefully the American people will start to see the truth about AKC soon.

  3. I would just like to respond to AMBORguy. I know you may have been told it is a myth and I am currently not saying it is or isn’t but perhaps we need to look into this further. Last time I was there I didn’t see much of anything made in North America and I am a label hound 😉 I am in Canada so maybe it is different here but I can’t recall finding any North American labels on any of the products I have looked at (excluding food). Since I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt I will check again and get back to everyone and maybe someone in the US should do the same. I agree that untruthful media is a terrible thing so lets do our own hands on research 🙂

    I would also like to say I really think it is a good idea that you have made this site for your agility equipment as it gives us all a chance to get to know you. I love going to local stores (not Walmart size but the tiny stores on the block with owners that smile and know you by name)…I think it gives credibility to the things they sell as if it is garbage they know you will be back to complain and a relationship has been built. I find products and service everywhere are going down the drain and it is sad. As a dog trainer I try to “reward” those that go the extra mile by giving them my service, giving tips, smiles and compliments…the other places I either avoid or let them know what I dislike and why and if they don’t change I don’t come back. Remember whether it is a big store or small, local or far, we, the consumer are actually responsible for what they carry by the decisions we make.

    As for the AKC, some ideas could be: those with AKC dogs should voice their complaints, let your voice be heard and if need be buy a UKC or CKC dog next time or stop going to AKC trials or start a petition at the next dog show and trail under another organisation and let them know when you do so that they can see that you are serious. Get the snowball rolling 🙂

  4. Time for some mythbusting:

    I’d rather buy american, I will go to local store instead of for esample Wal Mart so I don’t have to buy “made in China”.

    Excuse me Sideway – where exactly is that WalMart store in YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD located? WalMart IS a local store … people are not flown in from foreign countries to work there, and the MAJORITY of the products in that store ARE made in the U.S.A. Yes, there are SOME imported but whenever possible it is their corporate policy to buy and stock American made products.

    FYI – Corporate Headquarters are in Arkansas. Still in the U.S. as far as I can tell. And the shareholders … the vast majority have U.S. addresses which is more than I can say for the bondholders of the United States (most of THEM are China!)

    I agree that the A.K.C. should be marketing American made products as well – there we share common ground. All I’m asking is that we not perpetuate untruthful political propaganda.

    Fair enough?


  5. Not too long ago we all discovered that our dog’s food that was processed in China had foreign garbage in it that could kill them. How long did it take us to catch China on that and learn to look for the manufactured in the U.S.A. label on our food? We are now also looking at where our dog’s toys are manufactured, too. If China is not concerned about what they put in the food, how concerned will they be about what they use in the production of their toys and this new agility equipment. My husband makes our single jumps to save us money. All the other equipment we have purchased from your company. We purchased it one item at a time over the period of 2 years.

  6. Not to mention that this product is being marketed for children, who probably won’t be as concerned with the safety of their 4-month-old puppy as you need to be. I can see a lot of puppies being played with on equipment with no routine adult supervision. I guess I say this because I can imagine myself at 10 or 12 getting something like this – it never would have occured to me that I might hurt my precious puppy (who I discovered could jump 20″ right from the first day and got up after falling off and went right back on), I would have been so excited about how well my pup did. I am not even sure which pieces of equipment are being offered but I’m sure that if a child thinks it is a toy they will be climbing on it themselves and that sounds dangerous on a less than quality piece of equipment.
    I also own many things that were made in China; but,I feel that this is more than an AKC issue. We all need to be concerned with the health and safety of our children and our pets.

  7. I agree even more!!!! IN fact this could be used against them in LA where they are trying to ban the breeding of all dogs….right now AKC dogs are allowed BUT their is a clause that they are trying to push now even as we speak for tougher guidelines that would push even AKC dogs out because they don’t monitor or live up to their standards. I lost the page that had all contact info for this on and I need to go but please look into it…talk to any bsl list in LA and I am sure someone will have info!
    I am also going to send a link to everyone of a very sad video so that everyone can do their part to buy local, support people that make quality items and learn to make right decisions. If people could send this link to the AKC board maybe they would think twice. Since I am Canadian I have none of that contact info. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqZMTY4V7Ts there is lots of controversy about this video but she makes many good points that are accurate…the controversy lies more in politics and silly arguments that are really pointless to the main problems and concerns. The most important thing is that we each support each other and our countries in any way we can we can and live by sound principles. For if you don’t have a foundation of solid principles you will eventually fall and end up dragging everyone else down with you be it your generation or the next.

  8. The AKC is supposed to be , amongst other things, promoting all aspects of the pure bred dog, their reputable breeding of, their well being etc. What does this say to the members and the organization as a whole if they purchase and market equipment from a dog eating, child labour force country???? Wake up AKC your reputation is at stake!!

  9. Totally agree. The first thing I look at when buying products (that are not necessities) is where it is made. I have to budget like most other people and if my choice is a made in China product or nothing, I choose nothing (which actually saves me the most money, go figure!).

  10. I totally agree with your opinions. We need more American made products so that we have a choice. Nothing irritates me more than to try and buy quality American products and not be abel to find any. Unless I really need a product and have no choice, I will not buy those made in China.

  11. there’s cheap equipment and there’s quality equipment. i want something that’s going to last, is safe for my dog and follows the akc guidelines (as far as standard heights, widths, etc) for competition. i, for one, will continue to buy my stuff from you guys.

  12. I agree with you completely, in this economy I know that people will want to buy the cheapest but me I’d rather buy american, I will go to local store instead of for esample Wal Mart so I don’t have to buy “made in China”. I bought my weave poles from you guys and even if I could have bought them made in china for half the price somewhere else I would not have done that. This is by the way the best weave poles I ever had. The AKC have always sold quality items but if they start selling agility equipment made in China I will never buy them…. but that’s just my opinion.