Showsight December 2017

Purebreds in Peril BY DAN SAYERS continued

Purebred dogs could go the way of the dinosaurs if today’s fanciers can’t encourage the next generation of dog breeders. Courtesy Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists.

find little motivation to achieve milestones such as getting married or buying a house. Car and dog ownership can be likewise dubious. Without a car, most young people can’t get to work much less to a dog show. Consequently, Millennials have turned to the web in search of both job and dog only to discover that thousands of “rescue dogs” await. Perhaps this is why some consider purebreds to be passé and bourgeois. Maybe the Millennial generation more closely identifies with a hard luck story in the form of a mongrel produced for no other reason than to be “rescued” and loved. If this is the case, the future of pure- bred dogs may indeed be in peril. However, a preventive solution may exist through a clear message that a dog in need of work is every bit as valuable as a dog in need of rescuing and love. (This applies to Millennials too!) ■ Dan Sayers covers the dog sport with a particular interest in the peo- ple who’ve served to promote and preserve purebred dogs. His arti- cles feature breeders and exhibitors of the past as well as those who work tirelessly on behalf of the fancy today. A self-taught artist, Dan’s artwork is represented in collections worldwide and his illustrations appear in the award-winning Encyclopedia of K-9 Terminology by Ed and Pat Gilbert. Since 1981, Dan has exhibited primarily Sporting breeds and Hounds. He’s bred both Irish Water Spaniels and Rhodesian Ridgebacks and has judged a variety of match shows and sweepstakes, including the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America National Specialty twice.

they’re typically more peer-oriented than preceding gen- erations. Gen Xers' came of age during the technology boom and many successful start-ups can be attributed to their entrepreneurial spirit. This familiarity with — and dependency on — technology has forced changes in con- sumer behavior. Members of Generation X who are look- ing to find information on purebred dogs will begin their search online. Unfortunately for AKC Breeders of Merit, the distinction between a bona fide breeder and everyone else in cyber space is unclear. Web sites can be the great equalizer since every “breeding program” can appear legitimate online (thanks to images occasionally lifted from other web sites.) This can be of little consequence to a generation less rooted in the traditions of the past and more interested in what is new. Designer dogs, any- one? Millennials From the mid-1980s to early 2000s, a generation was born that has become expert in the fields of communications, media, and digital technologies. “Millennials” place an emphasis on creativity and meaningful work, and are less concerned with income and earnings than previous gen- erations. Because they entered the work force during the Great Recession of 2007-2012, they typically earn up to 20 percent less than their parents did. This financial con- dition has forced many Millennials to return home follow- ing college graduation. Saddled with student loans, many


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