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If you do join a breed club there are several different benefits that you and your dog can take advantage of. These benefits will vary from location to location as well as from club to club so it may be a good idea to shop around and find out what is available in your area. You may also want to decide if you want to be in a breed club that is more geared towards promoting a breed or breeding to specific physical standards or a breed club that focuses more on developing the dog's abilities or specialized skills for the specific type of dog.
A good example of this type of diversity is found in many of the hunting dog breeds. Several of the breed clubs focus on either or both showing or hunting, with different breeding lines and even slightly different standards used between the two. Talking to a member of the club and finding out the different programs offered by the club can be both informative and helpful. It is important to keep in mind that most clubs are going to be very versatile in what they offer and typically there will be enough members to ensure you can find information, support and encouragement no matter which area you are most interested in.
Breed clubs that are really active and have substantial memberships often become involved in hosting shows, events and even camps and training workshops or seminars. Some breed clubs even bring in well-known or famous handlers, trainers, breeders, groomers, vets or other animal related professionals to club meetings or for special events. Typically members have the option to volunteer their time for the event and therefore get a reduced rate or even the conference or workshop at no charge, or pay a much lower members only fee for these events.
Some of the more popular speakers at most breed club meetings, workshops or events are dog show or event judges. Having the ability to meet with the judges face to face with other interested owners helps you find out exactly what they are looking for in the ring or during the event. Remember there are really very few judges in most areas that will be adjudicating your dog, so getting to know their preferences is important. It is also as important to hear what they don't want to see or what they are considering faults or point reductions in various events or competitions. While judging is based on criteria, each judge may have a slightly different interpretation of the standard, especially in skill and ability type events.
Since the breed club is only catering to one type or breed of dog, it is much more likely that the professionals that are brought are going to really zero in on concerns or issues for that particular breed. This high level of specialization can help your breeding program, your understanding of your dog or even how to manage any potential health issues that are found within the breed. You may also find that you become much more aware of health issues inclucing current treatment and research. All this additional information and chances to speak to leading experts on your breed will only enhance your knowledge as well as your experience with your dog.
Joining a breed club will definitely help if you are planning on showing your dog or entering them in any type of competition or judged event. This is because you will have the opportunity to network and meet with other owners, breeders, handlers and trainers that have experience in showing or competing with your specific breed. This background information and wealth of actual experience will only help you avoid pitfalls and potential problems. You will also gain a better understanding of how to work with a specific breed of dog, which can be a great asset if you are new to the breed or a first time dog owner.
Joining a breed club also allows you to advertise yourself or your kennel as being a member in good standing. Those owners that join a breed club have to agree to follow the guidelines that are set forth in the group or clubs by-laws. Typically these guidelines or by-laws include a range of expectations starting with treatment of dogs and going all the way through to selecting breeding dogs and even how puppies can be sold. After all it is important for breed clubs to hold their members to the highest possible standards since they are there to preserve and enhance the breed both now and into the future.
The larger and more active a breed club is the more options you will have as a member of things to do and get involved in. Many breed clubs participate in various charity events including charity dog walks, community awareness campaigns, managing and running shelters and rescues and even providing foster homes for pets in times of crisis or emergencies. Since this type of positive exposure and activity helps to enhance the overall image of both the breed as well as dog owners in general, it is definitely a huge benefit to joining a club.
Last but not least is the ability to get to know other, established breeders and possibly work with their breeding programs to either enhance your own kennel or breedings stock. While this is not the primary reason most individuals join a breed club it can be a very important consideration if you decide to breed and show. Since established breeders typically don't sell to people they don't know and don't market their puppies, without being a member of the breed club you may have very little chance of obtaining a puppy from these kennels. When established breeders with championship lines come to know you and understand that you are a conscientious and caring dog owner they are much more likely to sell to you or work with you in breeding programs.
Your dog will also benefit from you joining a breed club. He or she will have an owner that is much more aware and attuned to the unique characteristics of the breed. Your dog can also benefit from attending different breed club activities and events that allow for training, socialization and just some good old doggy fun.
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