The other day, I received an email from the AKC Canine Partner program manager. She saw that Duncan and I had qualified for the National Agility Championships, and was collecting bios on the teams who are going. How very cool, I thought, always ready to brag on my boy, I sat down to describe our agility journey. And I got stuck.
You see, Duncan is registered in the AKC Canine Partners program. Since he’s a Mini Aussie, he was unable to play in AKC agility until 2010 when they opened performance events up to all dogs, in addition to breeds already recognized by the AKC.
Here’s the twist; about a year into our AKC journey, his breed parent club decided to become and was accepted as a new AKC recognized breed. Without going into a lot of extra political discussion, that breed needed a new name. So, the club voted, and Miniature American Shepherd was agreed upon. Okaay…
Being a believer in karma and good ju-ju and not wanting to mess up a nice run of good trials, I decided to keep Dunc in the Canine Partner program as we were already building MACH points and Double Q’s by this time. I didn’t want to take the smallest chance of losing our hard-earned points. And so, we qualified for Nationals. Whoo hoo!
But when I tried to describe him on our bio, what do I call him ? A Mini Aussie? Certainly he is, but that’s not an AKC breed, and I want to be respectful at an AKC event. Mini American? Technically, he could be, but I haven’t submitted the paperwork to change his registry, and I’m a technically correct kind of gal. All American or Mixed Breed? (as we are called on our handler stickers) That’s fine and dandy, but since he’s not (see above technical nerd reference) it sticks with me a little, just like being described as from Iowa, instead of Idaho. I find the whole situation pretty darned funny, since Duncan is still Duncan, and most people still refer to him as a Mini Aussie. Will I ever move Dunc to the Mini American registry? I may, or I may just let it be. As long as I get to play agility with my boys, I’m happy. And we will continue to confuse the gate stewards who are looking for that “All American” in the run order. FYI: in a 12″ class of almost 200 dogs at Nationals, he’ll be the only one.
And maybe Dunc will stay in the Partners program to keep Des company. Again, without getting into the breed politics too much, at the request of his breeder, Des will remain a Mini Aussie by registry, and will not be considered a Mini American.
In my mind and my heart, my boys are Mini Aussies, mostly because that’s how I identified with them first. And keeping in mind how I feel about my boys, perhaps that’s how I’ll write Duncan’s bio. He is my four-year old heart-dog, my first agility partner and teammate. Yes, I know I’m cheesy. I’m good with it.
But if AKC is looking for suggestions, I have one: please consider replacing the words “All American” or “Mixed Breed” on your entry forms, gate sheets and handler arm bands with your own officially designated name for the program: Canine Partner. And let us run with our partners, pure and simple, for the joy of it.
And lastly, Dunc had a lovely trial last weekend, earning another QQ. Des came with us, and was beautifully behaved crated next to his big (or should I say – older) brother.