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If you live in an area that doesn't have a breed club for your particular breed of dog you always have the option of starting your own. Basically there are two different types of breed clubs, those that are associated with a specific national breed club or registry or those clubs that are completely independent. If you are starting an independent breed club you will have the option to set your own bylaws and develop your own membership requirements. You will not, however, be recognized by the national breed club and you may be restricted as to what you can call your club.
Many of the independent breed clubs are formed because either there is no official breed club or the dogs are not a recognized breed. This is often true for the hybrid breeds that are less common or for dogs that are not considered to be actual breeds by the various kennel clubs and registries. Some of the all breed registries or those registries that will allow mixed breed dogs in the registry may offer options for starting independent clubs while still falling under their general program. This can provide your club with options for advertising and marketing through that registries website and membership.
Some of these types of independent or atypical breed clubs may be all breed clubs or may provide membership for dogs within a specific group. For example you may be able to start a Hunting Breed Club or a Herding Breed Club rather than a club just for Irish Setters or for Australian Shepherds. This is a great way to build membership and host a variety of events and activities that appeal to a wide range of dog owners. In smaller communities or areas where there isn't a large enough population of one breed of dog or where a specific breed isn't popular this may also be a way to allow other breed owners to get a chance to see different dogs, possibly increasing interest.
Generally these independent dog clubs are not sanctioned to host events that will count in point totals, championship scores or awards or in any type of competitive event that the registry or national breed club approves. Again, this is typically not a concern as long as all members are aware that your club is not associated with the national or state breed club and that the awards or points earned through events in your club will not be recognized by the other organizations. For many owners this won't be an issue since they are not generally involved in breeding or active competition or they would be in the recognized breed club.
Breed clubs that are recognized by a parent organization, usually a state, national or international registry, club or association, have much more stringent rules with regards to organizing local breed clubs. These governing bodies will set the standards for the breed, which each club must adhere to, in hosting events and awarding points for different activities within the club. This is designed to allow the points schedule and awards to be uniform for all dog owners in any location that are members of the local or parent breed club. A win in one state would be equally valuable in another state or even in another county, which is one of the reasons why these larger breed clubs are seen as more important to many breeders and owners.
Breed clubs that are recognized by a breed registry, Kennel Club or other type of national or international dog breed association will need to follow the guidelines and bylaws of the parent organization. Typically these will include the number of people and the positions that have to be filled on the Board of Directors, the rules by which decisions will be made for the club, as well as an agreement to follow through on all decisions made by the parent organization. The first step in this process is to contact the breed organization or club and get the documentation and paperwork necessary to understand what you need. In most cases you have to have a specific number of people prepared to commit to membership as well as meeting all criteria that is established by the parent club. Members will typically have to become members of both the national or international breed club as well as the local breed club for their membership to be counted.
With this type of agreement any events or functions that the breed club hosts or endorses will usually have to be approved by the parenting organization. This is also set up in the bylaws and typically approval for most events is sanctioned or approved by the parent association or club without any problems. The one regulation for most types of events is that they have to be judged by judges that have been approved and are recognized by the parent association or organization.
Starting a dog club also includes a lot of marketing and getting information about your club out to the public. This may include talking to local trainers, breeders, groomers, pet store owners, feed store managers and even kennels and pet sitting services. Talking about the benefits to joining your club as well as the opportunities you hope to offer for both dogs and their owners will help promote your organization and develop interest.
Setting up a website can also be a way to test your market and see how much interest there is in your community or area for a breed specific or all breed dog club. There are many different online web hosting services that offer very low cost web hosting and simple, easy to use and do it yourself web page development. If you aren't really into technology and computers, you may be able to find someone that is interested in your club and has just the skills you need. Working with a group or committee may be much easier than trying to do it all yourself.
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