"The Emperor's New Coonhound:Is Your Parent Club Safe?"

                                                  by Anne M. Hier

(The Dog Press, July 16, 2005 - Reprinted by permission of the Author)

Read this first so you understand the implications in the supporting letter below.

When a new breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club AKC, the stud book is supposed to be permanently closed to dogs from other domestic registries. (Single dog imports from recognized foreign registries are still permitted). More importantly, the breed parent club is designated the keeper of the breed standard. Any changes to that document must first be approved by the parent club. Additionally, the stud book cannot be reopened without specific parent club approval.

Shockingly, that inviolate parent club control is about to be permanently terminated. It appears that AKC is fully intent to completely disregard the decision of the American Black and Tan Coonhound Club to NOT reopen their stud book to Foundation Stock Service(FSS)Black and Tan Coonhounds. Of course, AKC should never have taken anything called a Black and Tan Coonhound into FSS in the first place. FSS is supposed to be for breeds not yet recognized by AKC. AKC has recognized Black and Tan Coonhounds since 1945.

But now, AKC has a big problem. The owners of the FSS Black and Tans were told they would be given full AKC recognition. To counteract the parent club refusal, AKC has come up with an extraordinarily novel solution. Simply change the name of the dog. Like the Emperor's New Clothes, we will be told that the FSS Black and Tan Coonhounds are really not Black and Tan Coonhounds, after all. In a letter dated July 1, 2005, and with apparent approval of AKC, owners of Black and Tan Coonhounds are being advised they can gain full AKC recognition of FSS registered Black and Tans under the newly christened name of "Black and Tan Trail and Tree Hound." (see Maeker letter). Additionally, a new parent club is being formed, and presumably, a new breed standard being written. This despite the fact that on its very own website AKC's lists the Black and Tan Coonhound breed standard as also applying to the FSS Black and Tan Coonhounds. They are, of course, the same breed - at least until the illusive name change.

This is a real triple-whammy for the American Black and Tan Coonhound Club. First, their position as the sole steward of their breed at AKC events is being eliminated. For example, the AKC Limited Registration is not recognized by other Coonhound registries. If Limited Registration is used by an AKC Black and Tan breeder that dog can still be fully registered at competing registries. Then, on the strength of the competing registry pedigree, this Black and Tan can return to AKC through the FSS back door. In other words, this Black and Tan of AKC descent could now not only be bred under AKC auspices, but fully registered by AKC to compete against the original Black and Tan breeder.

Second, after years of building up breed recognition at conformation shows, AKC Black and Tan exhibitors will now be faced with, for all intents and purposes, an identical Black and Tan in the Hound Group. One can only imagine the commentary at the big televised shows.

"Well, Ron, we've got a new breed in the Hound Group this year, the Black and Tan Trail and Tree Hound."

"Gosh, it looks just like the Black and Tan Coonhound. What's the difference?"

"Well, not much."

"What is it used for?"

"To hunt raccoons."

"Well, isn't that what the Black and Tan Coonhound does? Why aren't they called Coonhounds?"

"Its a long story. Next in line is the Bloodhound...."

And pity the poor Hound Group judge seeing both Black and Tans at an all-breed show that doesn't use name markers, especially if the handlers of both dogs wear the same armband number. Worse, what about the potential purchaser of a Black and Tan? If the judges will have a hard time discerning the fine points, one can be sure the novice puppy buyer won't be able to tell the difference on anything other than price. In other words, AKC will be sanctioning the cannibalizing of its own Black and Tan Coonhound registry base and undermining the AKC Black and Tan Coonhound Parent Club with each sale of the new so-called Black and Tan Trail and Tree Hound.

The third whammy is that fanciers of AKC Black and Tan Coonhounds (along with the rest of us) are being forced to subsidize this "new" breed's rise to recognition because these new Black and Tans don't pay any AKC registration fees. In its attempt to bolster sagging registration numbers, AKC made the decision to aggressively go after the significantly larger Coonhound base in two other domestic registries. To sweeten the pot and attempt to be competitive, no registration fees are being charged during the whole of 2005 for FSS Coonhounds. And if a free registration isn't enough, AKC is throwing in a free pedigree to boot! Additionally, AKC started charging all other AKC breeders in all other breeds a fee to list classified ads on the AKC website this year. Go to the AKC Coonhound website and you will discover that no fees are charged for any FSS Coonhound classified ads. Such a deal! The AKC Black and Tan folks are not only being hung by their own registry body, but must buy the rope, as well.

This unilateral decision by AKC presents a serious threat to the integrity of all other breed parent clubs. If the Coonhound with the new name is recognized, AKC will no longer have to worry about seeking parent club permission to reopen a stud book in any breed. If the club declines the same dogs can be brought in under a new name. That leaves the specter of bringing in multiple identical breeds to compete not only against each other in the ring, but also for the limited public market for the same breed, based solely on whatever name can be invented to circumvent the parent club. If the Great Dane Club doesn't want to reopen their stud book to another registry's Great Danes, no problem. Just call them German Mastiffs. Any other parent club refusal could be met with a similar destructive response. Teckels against Dachshunds, Kleinspitz against Poms, Continental Toy Spaniels against Papillons, St. Hubert Hounds against Bloodhounds, and on and on.

AKC is supposedly a club of clubs. If Parent Clubs do not unite and take a stand against any attempts by AKC to redefine their breeds against their wishes, it won't be long before a closed stud book is meaningless. Or perhaps it is already too late.

by Anne Hier mailto:hiera@cooley.edu
author of: "Dog Shows Then and Now: An Annotated Anthology"



July 1, 2005
Luling, Texas

Dear Black and Tan Fancier:

The American Kennel Club has invited the Coonhound owners of other Kennel Club registries to register their hounds without cost until December 31, 2005 in the American Kennel Club. We, the Black and Tan owners, have a unique problem-The American Kennel Club has a Breed called the American Black and Tan Coonhound. In the past many Black and Tan owners have registered the hounds in the American Kennel Club's FSS program in hopes of getting the American Black and Tan Coonhound Kennel Club, the club recognized by the American Kennel Club, to accept the hounds into their registry but this has not happened.

I have been working with Mr. Steve Fielder since he has joined the American Kennel Club trying to have our hounds recognized by the American Kennel Club. The American Black and Tan Coonhound club, the club recognized by the American Kennel Club has repeatedly voted not to accept our Black and Tan in the their breed coming though the FSS program. What I and several other Black and Tan owners have suggested was to enter the American Kennel Club with our own breed. This would be made possible by changing the name of our hounds slightly. Mr. Fielder has taken this to the responsible people with the American Kennel Club and they have accepted this idea. In other words, ours would be a separate breed from the Black and Tan breed that is now recognized by the American Kennel Club. Our breed would be called the American Black and Tan Trail and Tree hound. We would have a short period of time before we would be fully recognized by the American Kennel Club but after that short period our breed would be able to participate in all American Kennel Club Hunts, Shows and any other events sponsored by the American Kennel Club. We would be able to immediately enter our hounds in any AKC recognized hunt and would be able to register our hounds at the hunts with a copy of a three (3) generation pedigree issued by the UKC or PKC. We can also register our hounds by mail. We would have to have a copy of a three (3) generation pedigree issued by the UKC or PKC with any registration application in order for the American Kennel Club to recognize the application. The American Kennel Club's registration forms are available on the Internet by looking under www.akc.org/index.cfm. You can also get information about the registration requirements at www.akccoonhounds.org

This opens our breed to the world. The American Kennel Club's shows are televised around the world. This recognition would increase our market base and increase the appreciation of our fine hound. Our breed can compete with any hound breed in the world in both performance and show events and would place high in both.

I am excited. We have an opportunity that we need to grasp. It will only cost us a little time and postage and the cost of joining the American Black and Tan Trail and Tree Hound Club. At the present time we have presented the American Kennel Club with a constitution for our club that would have to be approved by the membership of the American Black and Tan Trail and Tree Hound Club. We have also presented the American Kennel Club with breed standards that again would have to meet with the approval of the membership of the American Black and Tan Trail and Tree Hound Club. The membership would also have to add by-laws to the constitution-giving officers and directors responsibilities and would have to elect officers and directors. The membership fee is $10 per year. The fee should be sent to Mrs. Bonnie Casner of 3660 Vanatta Road, Centerbury, Ohio 43011.Information is also available by getting in touch with Mrs. Judi Doran of 171 Twp. Road 16, Centerburg, Ohio 43011. Both these ladies are available to answer any questions or help you with your registration applications. Mr. Steve Fielder, who is the Director of the coonhound division of the American Kennel Club is also available to answer any questions that you may have. At the present time part of the fees would be used to pay postage and paper expenses that is the result of trying to get the Club off the ground and running. A complete audit of all receipts and expenses will be made available to the membership at our annul membership meeting.

At the present time I am acting President for the American Black and Tan Trail and Tree Hound Club. We need to finish the business of getting established with the American Kennel Club, have a membership meeting and elect officers, directors and get our constitution and by-law approved.

If I can answer any question please feel free to call me at 512 585-8841 or fax me at 830 875-0048. My address is 708 South Walnut Avenue, Luling, Texas 78648 or you can reach me on the Internet at kmaeker@yahoo.com.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes, I remain,


Kenwood J. Maeker