Thursday, April 1, 2010


Coming up with articles to write about day after day, for five days a week for my blog can prove very challenging. Being a writer, that’s what we do. We look to write about interesting articles that will make people want to read them. Not every subject we write about may be interesting to everyone, but we do try to attract as many people as we can. There may be some days that I just don’t feel like writing, but anyone that writes can tell you the more you do it, well….the more you do it. Many days I don’t have a clue about what I’m going to write until I sit down at the computer and let my fingers touch the keyboard. Oh I have a long list of articles that I want to write about, but some days they don’t look as interesting or exciting as when I first wrote them down.

And what makes a dog breed magazine a good dog breed magazine? No scratch that……what makes a dog breed magazine a GREAT dog magazine? There are many different dog breed magazines on the market right now. Some are dedicated to all breeds and then there are those that are dedicated to a specific breed of dog. Like you, I have seen many of the all breed magazines on the magazine racks in the stores. Some of them I’ve seen on the internet. The ones that I’ve seen on the internet are gorgeous. It’s like looking at a hard copy of the magazine without holding it. With modern technology what it is, many of these internet magazines are set up so you can turn each page individually just like you would if you held it in your hands.

The two breed magazines that come to mind for the German Shepherd Dog are, “The German Shepherd Dog Review” which is the official breed magazine of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. The other one is “The German Shepherd Dog Quarterly.” I’ve written several articles for “The German Shepherd Dog Quarterly.” This magazine continues to be an excellent resource for its many interesting articles on the German Shepherd Dog. The Review used to be the premiere magazine for advertisers to showcase their top winning dogs or to advertise a new litter. Month after month, page after page this magazine was brimming with gorgeous pictures of our breed and you could literally get lost in its pages for hours. It was also a great reference magazine to refer to time and time again. This magazine was an award winning magazine and rightfully so. In recent years the magazine has shrunk in size and some people blame the fallen economy for the lack of advertising in the magazine. Let’s face it, advertising and especially if you are doing it in color is very expensive. I wonder then why more people are not advertising in black and white as the Review used to be when it was overflowing with ads. One would think that this is a more reasonable way to advertise.

I must give credit here to those who have helped the editor put the ads together and to those few who have contributed articles for the reader’s enjoyment and education. But still something is missing. I’ve researched on the web to look at what other breed magazines look like. Many of them have an e-magazine that would rival the best hard copy magazines out there. Some offer their membership both. Does the German Shepherd Dog Club of America need to step up to the computer age and publish its magazine on the web? Some people fear that they will lose the hard copy magazine if they go the route of the web. Some don’t have a computer. Some have it and don’t know too much about using it.

A good dog breed magazine brings the best of the conformation dog and obedience dog together showcasing the best attributes of their breed. The aim of the magazine should be to attract as many advertisers as possible to make picking up that magazine an enjoyable experience for the reader. Foremost, the reader is looking to see page after page of beautiful dogs. He’s looking to see which stud dogs are producing, which litters are available, who won at which show and many times something to refer to again and again when considering future breeding partners.

A good dog breed magazine offers its readers the most up to date, informative articles on all things related to that breed. There is a tremendous wealth of information that some writers share with the readership of a magazine. Again, these articles can be referred to time and time again. Many people save their magazines that go back for decades. They truly have a visual reference on the history of the breed.

If people are pointing the finger at the economy for taking away a lot of the advertisers for the magazine, I can agree with this. However, even before the economy gave many of us indigestion, The German Shepherd Dog Review was stumbling. Unfortunately we had an editor who had brought this wonderful magazine to its award winning status become ill. Those things unfortunately happen. However with that said, the magazine continues to suffer for lack of ads and contributions related to informative articles. What’s the answer?

The German Shepherd Dog Club of America is one of the largest breed clubs. After all it represents one of the most popular breeds on earth. Right now according to the AKC, the German Shepherd Dog is the number two dog in the country. This club is responsible for putting on one of the best National Specialty shows year after year with its conformation show and obedience trials. People count down the days until the National arrives once again. Some plan their one vacation week around this most prestigious of shows. Normally you can pick up your copy of The German Shepherd Dog Review at the National. It’s funny, the month before this National show, the Review is overflowing with ads showcasing people’s beautiful animals. This is the month that the Review looks like the old Review did so many years ago.

This is a passionate breed and so too are the owners that chose to share their lives with the German Shepherd Dog. Unfortunately, in this writers’ opinion, I haven’t seen that same passion extend to this breeds official magazine. Things are not like they used to be. I find that one has to go after what they want even more so than they did before. I feel that in order for this wonderful magazine to be returned to its glory that we need to all put on our thinking caps and perhaps market the magazine better than it is now. If other breed magazines are thriving, then why isn’t ours? It’s being done very successfully with other breeds and they are living in the same economy as we are. I feel we need to light a fire under the membership. Give them what they want and ask for. Some have suggested that the advertising rates be lowered or that those who advertise a lot give them an advertising courtesy rate. We need to try new things. If it isn’t working the way it is now, try something new until you find something that does work.

Years ago this magazine had no competition when it came to advertisers. This was the place to be if you wanted your dog showcased and your kennel one that people talked about. Now advertisers have many different avenues to “show you what they got!” And many times those places to advertise are FREE! There are a gazillion e-mail lists that accepts pictures. There are another gazillion people that own their own websites. There is the extremely popular social network known as “Facebook” that attracts millions of people everyday. There are many members that use this for advertising their dogs. So if they can do this for free, why spend lots of money in a magazine? The difference is…….although modern technology gives one instant gratification, there are still many, many people that want a hard cover magazine that they can relax with and read at their own pace. It may be old fashioned, but it’s still favored by many.

If the magazine is to show a profit, then it needs its advertisers. Advertisers look to see that a magazine is thriving. When you are asking for a company to advertise their products in your magazine, they have to know that their advertising dollars are well spent. When you ask for a breeder to advertise his stud dog or a litter, he has to know that people are picking up the magazine and looking at his ad. If you only have one or two ads in a magazine, most people never pick it up again after looking at it one time. So those one or two advertisers are really never realizing the full potential that their ad could have if more people were looking at the magazine.

I believe that those responsible for putting a magazine together need to be responsible to help fill it up with enthusiastic advertisers. Things are not what they used to be. You can’t expect the phone to be ringing off the hook with advertisers. The economy doesn’t allow it. However, it is proven by the content of other breed magazines that the advertisers are out there. Give them a reason to advertise in your magazine and they will come. No time is it more important than now to keep open communication with the magazine and its potential advertisers. In my opinion, I feel the magazine needs to come to the people and the people will come back to the magazine. How do we do that? There are many German Shepherd Dog lists. Come on the lists. Announce what you plan to do. Announce special issues. Offer better advertising rates. More ads at a cheaper price are better than one or two ads at an expensive price. Keep enthusiastic. Keep informed and keep the magazine one that advertisers want to advertise in.

The advertisers are out there. As I said earlier, look at the huge amount of advertisers that rush to get a good placement in the magazine the month before the National Specialty Show. Give them a reason to spend their advertising dollars and you’ll see them do just that even in this depressed economy.

My rating: "Whole Dog Journal" magazine: (4), breed magazines that inform and educate: (4)

From the dog magazine: "WHOLE DOG JOURNAL".....Provides dog owners with well-researched, in-depth articles about all aspects of natural dog care and training. Whole Dog Journal features unbiased test reports of food, treats, toys and training aids.

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