Don James, AKC Delegate
Leonberger Club of America

So, on March 11th, the day prior to the meetings. I’m sitting in the restaurant at the Hotel talking with some of my Delegate friends. Over comes John Ronald, the Delegate for the Samoyed Club. John was selected to moderate the Board Candidate’s Forum that I was privileged to conduct last year. As you may know, when we were back there for this meeting, the East Coast was experiencing the 3rd of what would become 4 straight weeks of Nor ’Wester storms. John had to get ready for a dog show and was concerned about the weather enough that he wanted to leave early. So, he approached me about taking over for him at the Candidate’s Forum. I was more than happy to oblige, so I got in my 2nd straight year of moderating this forum. I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity.

At the December meeting, AKC provided clubs a compilation of statistics covering 9 years of breed specific numbers of litters, registrations and show entries (2008 through 2016). Statistics were also made available at a group level and also an All-Breed level. Those statistics have been posted on Member Clicks and will also be included in an upcoming issue of the Leo Letter. I wanted to also make everyone aware that, in the interim, a couple of other documents have been made available. The first is the same group of statistics for the 2017 calendar year. The other document is a breakdown of breed statistics based on the color of the offspring. I don’t think that has as much value for us as it might for a breed whose color might determine the class in which it will be shown (i.e. Cocker Spaniels), but we’ll publish it anyway. The 2017 statistics have been posted on Member Clicks and will also be included in the Leo Letter issue mentioned above. I do not have a release date for the color-coded breeding statistical breakdown, but my assumption is that it, too, will be included in that same issue of the Leo Letter.

The major function of the March meeting centers around the election of the next class (2022) of the AKC Board of Directors. I am very pleased to announce that the three candidates supported by the LCA were, in fact, the three candidates who were elected. It’s important to comment on those three folks because all three have never served on the AKC Board. I think that’s important. Ann Wallin was elected and she is not technically new as she was nominated to fill the unexpired term which was held by the late, and very much missed, Steve Gladstone. The other two successful candidates are Harold ‘Red’ Tatro who represents the Fort Worth Kennel Club and Chris Sweetwood from the Trap Fall Kennel Club, in Newton, Connecticut. I’m very excited about what these three folks can bring to the new Board.

AKC’s new website has now gone live. If you have not checked it out, you should. It’s a major improvement over the previous iteration. The LCA has been diligent in making sure that all portions of the new website which deal with the Leonberger are correct and up to date. We now have an accurate listing of the health test required by the LCA in order to breed as a member of our club. I continue to periodically check the Marketplace section of the website to make sure that all breeders listed in that section are accurate in their representation of their breeding program and their relationship with the LCA. I’ve been working on a small, but what I think, is a very important part of those breeder listings. Under the breeder profile, breeders can list their club affiliations, membership in All breed clubs etc. If breeders do not qualify in any of these areas, they are marked with a red ‘X’. If they are qualified in those areas, the mark is changed to a green check mark. I have asked AKC to change these to a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ to avoid any confusion among potential puppy buyers. I also very much dislike that breeders of a breed other than the Leonberger can announce themselves as a Breed of Merit in the Leonberger Marketplace space when they absolutely are not BOMs (or Bred with Heart) breeders of the Leonberger. Lastly, if they are a member of any AKC club (Parent or All Breed), they will be shown as a ‘club member’ even if they have no affiliation with the LCA.
The deficiencies of the Marketplace tool are the focus of myself and many of my fellow Delegates. We continue to work to make this portion of the website much more factual and trustworthy.

As a member of the LCA Board, I have the lead in an LCA project that is designed to create a digital archive from tangible sources currently owned by several of our original LCA members. The archive would be accessible online but the original source material must be placed in a safe, climate-controlled environment once that digitization has been completed. After many meetings of the LCA archive committee, we decided the safest and most accessible location to place hard copies of the archived material would be at AKC headquarters in New York City. Unfortunately, with AKC’s planned September relocation to a new building in the City, the space reserved for club archives has been significantly decreased. Steven Hamblin (Delegate for the Pekingese Club of America) and I have been working very closely with Brynn White, AKC’s Librarian and Archivist to try to mitigate this situation. As it now stands, most, if not all, of a club’s hard copy archives will be stored in a temperature-controlled location outside the city. This is, according to Brynn, a typical method used by many companies to house archival collections. This is not ideal because anyone needing access to these archives will have to place a request to AKC at least several weeks prior to the time they actually wish to begin their studies. Not ideal, but I’ll keep you posted as things progress.

That’s it for now. The day prior to the June meeting, AKC is hosting an educational summit the day prior to the scheduled Delegate’s meeting in Newark. I will be representing the AKC for the Leonberger club since I will be there for the meeting. I’ll report on what transpired in my June Delegate’s Corner report.

Thanks for reading.

Don James
AKC Delegate
Leonberger Club of America

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