Dec 17, 2011

No point in going to the 2011 AKC Agility Invitational

Good news: Dolcenea qualified for the Invitational
Bad news: We're not going. There isn't any point when the AKC registers a mix breed dog as an ILP purebred to the detriment of the pedigreed dogs within that breed.

There's a person running in agility with a mix breed dog and registering him with the various agility venues as a purebred Akita. When you look up this dogs information through their websites, under the breed type it states Akita, it doesn’t state All American or Akita Mix or Shepkita. This person is giving the impression to people unfamiliar with the Akita standard that her dog is purebred which in my opinion is wrong! This person is not doing the Akita breed any favors in claiming her Akita mix to be purebred, when he is clearly in my opinion a German Shepherd/Malinois/Akita mix! This person is not an Akita breeder, this person does not promote the Akita breed in anyway, and this Akita mix is the only Akita type dog she owns. 

I know the various agility venues really don’t care if your dog is truly the breed you state on your registration form because they are not breed registry clubs. But when you consciously make the decision to obtain an ILP from the American Kennel Club so you can run your dog in AKC agility, your actions do indicate you’re stating your dog is purebred. Here is AKC’s description of the ILP program: The ILP program is designed to address the various reasons a purebred dog might not be eligible for registration: the dog may be from an unregistered litter or have unregistered parents; papers may have been withheld or lost by its owner; or the dog may have been surrendered, lost or abandoned, then adopted by a new owner. 

I’ve been involved in the Akita breed since 1996 and I’ve co-bred one litter after 15 years taking my time to make sure I knew what I was doing. I love my breed, I'm very passionate about my breed, I protect the reputation of my breed, I work VERY hard training my breed. I’m owned by the most titled Akita ever! I’m training the three puppies from my breeding to be Akita Agility stars. The only reason I attend the AKC Agility Invitational was for the honor of representing my breed, the purebred Akita, and to display how my girl represents our breed standard and to show my pedigreed Akita can compete with the "best of the best" in agility. Then to my surprise I get demoralized in this event by a dog that has been ILP’d by AKC into my beloved breed category to my detriment. This Akita mix definitely has additional advantages from two other breeds who excel in agility that my purebred Akita does not have. This is wrong!

How can someone ethically do this to another person, misrepresenting what breed their dog is just to get invited to the AKC Agility Invitational because the Akita is a non-traditional agility breed? I couldn't live with myself knowing I had intentionally over shadowed a purebred Akita at the Invitational with a mix breed dog and stole their thunder. This person clearly does not understand all of the hard work I have put into training a purebred Akita to compete in agility. This person has the advantages of working with a dog that wants to please and wants to work with their owner, which is NOT the mind set of a purebred Akita. I would love to see this person get a true purebred Akita and try to train them to succeed in agility. Yeah good luck!  

Another thing that upsets me that happened at the 2010 AKC Agility Invitational is this ILP’d Akita mix won the medallion sponsored by the Akita Club of America in honor of the purebred Akita. This means in my opinion the Akita Club of America condones this ILP’d Akita mix in representing the purebred Akita even though in reality he is a German Shepherd/Malinois/Akita mix. Truly sad for the betterment of our Akita breed; to succeed in running in Agility you have to breed your Akita to a GSD/Mal. Is this the future of the performance Akita? 

I’m curious how everyone in the Akita Club of America would feel if this ILP’d Akita mix entered a conformation event at their Nationals? Would the ACA support him then? I can see it now; you have the top winning conformation Akita in the country, you’re extremely excited to be invited to the most prestigious Dog Show giving you the honor of representing your breed and showing you are a perfect example of the Akita standard. You’ve trained very hard attending 90 shows to qualify for this prestigious event showcasing all of the purebred dogs around the country. You groom your Akita to perfection; you walk into the ring to see your competition… your jaw drops! You look across the ring to see a German Shepherd/Malinois/Akita mix ILP’d as a purebred Akita. Your heart sinks! You think to yourself there isn’t anyway a judge would put up this Akita mix over your top winning purebred Akita, so you continue showing. You stack your dog for the judge, you do your down and back, the judge directs you to complete your final movement around the ring. As you’re stopping in front of the stewards table completing your circle, you watch in horror as the judge steps up to your competition the German Shepherd/Malinois/Akita mix and hands him “your” first place ribbon! 

I know the above scenario is a little over the top because ILP'd dogs can't compete in conformation, but for my current situation this scenario is accurate. Now you know how I felt at the 2010 AKC Agility Invitational. And what will the ACA do when AKC decides they want more entry fee money and they start allowing ILP'd dogs to show in conformation? What then?

To say I’m upset by this ILP’d Akita mix misrepresenting my breed as purebred is an understatement at best, but what bothers me the most is why I'm being put into this horrible situation by the AKC! What amazes me is this ILP’d Akita mix has been running in AKC agility events obtaining agility titles through Masters level and none of these agility judges have made the conscience decision to bring to light this error fostered by the AKC.  

Ever since I left the 2010 Invitational I've been bothered by this situation. So I've done some research on the internet and I’ve found this same problem with several other breeds, so I’ve posted one of the more recent incidences here.

I’ve been reading with empathy the posts about Lord Fenwick of Christenson aka Fenwick. Apparently the handler ILP’d this dog as a Boston Terrier and a complaint was made before the 2009 AKC Invitational.  
Here is his web page: .

I find it interesting the handler will have to have him evaluated by three Boston conformation judges to have Fenwick reinstated back into AKC. Why wasn't this a requirement BEFORE he was given his ILP? Why is this a requirement AFTER the fact AKC? 

Here is a link to the petition/complaint about Willow:

Here is a link to the website showing peoples opinion's of Willow winning the 12" class at the Invitational (go to the bottom of the page):

Here is a link to a thread conversation covering my concerns:

Here is a link discussing the ethics of the ILP program:,2,3,4,9&Board=agility&Number=352225&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=9&o=&fpart=all

Here is a link covering concerns about Willow and AKC's ILP program:

Here is a post pulled from about Fenwick which describes how I feel about this ILP’d Akita mix:

2009-08-07 04:23 am
I want to play devil's advocate here. Let's pretend I'm a Boston terrier fan and own one or several of them. They're my breed, and I'm passionate about them. I spend good money to get the best Bostons I can find, and then I train and show them to the best of my ability, and I am pretty good at it. I love Boston terriers, I live for Boston terriers, I work to get money to spend on my Boston terriers.

I've got a good Boston that I am currently showing AKC agility. Because a) the total Boston is my passion; and b) I realize other breeds are more naturally suited to agility, I put my sights on going to the AKC Invitational because to me, the Invitational is showcasing the BREEDs, not the dogs. I already know that I will never have the best agility dog in the world because I am limiting myself to Bostons. I just want to have the best agility Boston.

The Invitations come out for the Invitational, and I look to see what Bostons are on the list. I see a name I don't recognize, Lord Fenwick of Christenson, so I google him to see what he looks like and what his breeding is. I find several websites where his very own owner/handler has posted things that indicate she thinks he is something other than a Boston terrier. And certainly by his pictures, he doesn't look like a Boston terrier. Yes, I'm going to complain.

I don't really care why his owner is running him as a Boston. From my Boston-centered viewpoint, someone who freely admits her dog is not a Boston should not be running him as a Boston. To turn one comment above on its side, as a Boston person, I don't see how someone can sleep at night knowing that they deprived an actual Boston terrier of an invitation to a breed-centric event just so they could compete in AKC agility with their non-breed dog.

Back to the real me, who doesn't really give a hoot about Boston terriers -- they're not a breed that particularly interests me. I love Fenwick, and I love Heather. I'm sorry there are not more agility trials formatted to their taste locally. But from my POV, ILPing Fenwick in order to do AKC was a gamble from the start. They got to play for a year and a half or so, and then the cards turned against them. I think AKC was stupid to accept Fenwick's ILP application in the first place, but I don't think they're wrong to act on the complaint now.

It's not much different from the Willow situation. Both dogs bear only token resemblance to the breed they're ILPed as. Both dogs are registered in different organizations as something other than their ILP breed. Both are in a position to give a false impression nationally of what their ILP breed looks like. The only breed guardians who have no right to complain are the ones who signed off on the ILP applications.

That said, yes, I still love Fenwick and want to take him home. But running AKC isn't important to me as evidenced by my purchasing a dog I knew damn well I couldn't enter in AKC events as long as she has her ovaries.

Flame suit is on!

2009-08-07 12:13 pm
The post by "minnathered" was one of the most eloquent that I've read, and I couldn't agree more. AKC should not have issued Fenwick an ILP. Any AKC judge can question a dog's ILP status if they feel that dog isn't a representative of the breed (read the ILP, now PAL, rules folks, it's right in there). Shame on AKC for originally issuing the ILP and shame on all the judges for turning a blind eye to this situation when it came to their attention well over a dozen times (every time that Fenwick competed). Yes, it's just "a game", but not many games do people kick out over $100/weekend to compete in. Games have RULES that need to be followed and when they are not followed there are implications.

I think that Fenwick is a very talented dog, and I do not want to take away from this at all. I also think that Heather is a talented handler. However, I DO choose to compete in agility with a Boston, simply because I wanted to try to excel with a tougher breed. Yes, my border collies are much faster, but I get more of a sense of accomplishment running a non-traditional breed. Will we ever get an invite to nationals? Probably not, although my dog is only three. However, as a Boston owner/competitor and lover, yes, I do want to see the best of the best representing MY breed. And, like "minnathered" posted, if she were to see another Willow sized dog running in the NW, she'd do some digging and report it if she thought there was other than aussie in the dog's background. Sorry to say, if I saw Fenwick competing in an AKC trial that I was attending, I'd have a real problem also. I daresay that if some 12" border collie appeared on the scene or something that looked like a lab mix, was posted on other sites as BEING a lab mix, and then was invited to nationals to represent border collies as a smooth coat many border collie owners AND breeders would have a true problem with that.

Just my two cents worth.