The Fan Hitch Volume 3, Number 1, November 2000

Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

From the Editor
 
Featured Inuit Dog Owners:
Scott & Terry Miller
 
Nunavut Dogsledding Association
 
Update: No Resolution in Iqaluit
 
Season's Greetings from Toadhall
 
The Homecoming, Part II
 
The Russian Connection, Part II
 
Meeting Ken Pawson and Kevin Walton
 
Arctic Sojourn
 
The Ted Fox ISDI Foundation Fund
 
Book Review: 
Two Years in Antarctica
 
Janice Howls:
No Click and Treat for ISDs!
 
IMHO: 
All Breed Kennel Club Registry


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              Editor: Sue Hamilton
              Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch Website and Publications of the Inuit Sled Dog– the quarterly Journal (retired in 2018) and PostScript – are dedicated to the aboriginal landrace traditional Inuit Sled Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. 

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Young male, registered AKC Alaskan Malamute. Human identities concealed.

IMHO: All Breed Kennel Club Registry

by Mark Hamilton

The other day Sue read me a few paragraphs from a bulletin advertising an upcoming dog show. Initially I was amazed that we even still received these mailings. Given the 15+ year interval since we last entered a dog show it was a remarkable expression of persistence and faith. Then I was struck by the types of classes being offered for Alaskan Malamutes. In addition to the best of breed competition there were classes for veteran dogs and brood bitches, parade of champions, canine good citizenship testing, obedience trial, agility testing..... Sadly, nothing relating to the animals’ original function as a freighting sled dog. Actually, there wasn't anything that even related to dog sledding. I marveled at how far the Malamute had strayed from it's roots. Maybe that's as it should be. Today's Malamute is an AKC, CKC, UKC (excuse me, I'm stopping before this list gets totally out of hand) recognized breed used primarily as a companion animal and/or show dog. The Malamute truly has come a long way from its roots. 

My thoughts then went to assembling a list of benefits that all breed club registry has brought to the Alaskan Malamute. The clubs are the source of judges at all those dog shows.   The lack of sled dog specific activity at shows is understandable, as they are billed as "conformation (appearance and movement)" and "obedience (sit, stay, down, come, heel, fetch)" trials. Most of the judges have no idea of what a real freighting dog actually looks or moves like, or for that matter what their work is. In fact, if they have any experience with dog sledding at all it's most likely limited to a couple of quick runs down a trail as a passenger behind a sprint racing team. 

Another benefit these national all breed clubs (American Kennel Club, etc.) offer is to maintain a registry for the breed. That's nice of them. And given all the puppies they register, profitable too. Registering an animal with them results in  an attractive certificate, suitable for framing, appearing in your mail box. That's nice too, especially if your home is short on decorations. For some it may serve as the centerpiece of a little shrine. Of course, the information in the registry is only as accurate as what the breeders supply. There are far too many breeders for an all breed registry organization to actively police them all. As a buyer you need to take it as an article of faith that the breeder(s) were honest with you and the registering body. 

It seemed to me that I had assembled a rather short, and not particularly distinguished list of benefits. The one benefit I had not mentioned was to the breeders, not the breed. It is also something that all breed registry organizations vehemently deny is expressed in their registry..... registry serves as a sales tool when selling to companion dog buyers. Buyers think it is an expression of some additional value. Simply, its value is that the uninformed think it has value. 

Our efforts with the ISD will not be served by involvement with an all breed registry club. Our own, ever expanding network is a perfect resource for keeping our own registry. Increasingly we're all getting to know each other. Today's computers make maintaining a registry not just feasible but relatively simple. Since our dogs aren't appropriate for promotion as companion animals, the sales tool value of registry by a national all breed dog organization is meaningless to us. Furthermore, I can't imagine many mushers decorating their walls with registry certificates. I truly believe that we, more than any others, understand the real value of our dogs. 


Young female, registered AKC Alaskan Malamute. Human identities concealed to protect the innocent.

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