Friday, February 4, 2011


Some people like to use a famous quote when talking about joining a breed club………it goes something like this: Ask not what your club can do for you, but what you can do for your club! Something along those lines.

Do you belong to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America or a local Specialty or All Breed club? Why did you decide to join? Oh I know the most popular reason is that we did it for the love of the breed. Would you love the breed any less if you didn’t belong to a club? I think not. Your love for the breed has nothing to do with whether you belong to a club or not. You’ll love the breed one way or another with or without membership in a club. So why is it that some people choose to join a dog club anyway?

Here are some reasons some people may choose to join a club.

EDUCATION: Where better place to learn than from other people that share the love of the German Shepherd Dog? At any given club there can be a wealth of information sitting among the membership on any given club meeting. Many people look forward to guest speakers, video presentations, book discussions on the breed, etc. This is a place to develop new skills and challenges and a place to learn new things like handling and showing a dog or preparing it for the obedience ring. This is the place that you will find breeders discussing bloodlines and their breeding programs. Wouldn’t you think that education should be one of the primary reasons for joining a breed club?

COMMITMENT TO A CAUSE: Whether you want to learn more about showing dogs or training dogs, one would think that belonging to a club would help you in these areas. This is where people come to vote on judges for conformation and obedience trials. You vote for those that you think will do the best job of choosing dogs according to the breed standard.

SENSE OF BELONGING: People join clubs because they want to feel that they fit in with other people of “like minds” and interests. They want to have a place where they are accepted and can voice their opinions and hear what others have to say about a certain topic. They feel they have a purpose when they belong to a club.

FRIENDSHIP: Many feel that belonging to a club means that they are liked and accepted. Belonging to a club brings people of all different backgrounds together that share the same interest and love for the German Shepherd Dog.

RECOGNITION: This is a place that acknowledges those for their hard work and dedication to the breed. This is a place that many feel that they get approval and respect from their peers. Everyone loves a pat on the back once in awhile for a job well done.

SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY: Belonging to a club, one senses that they can make things happen and influence decisions by having a certain amount of control about what goes on in their club and the breed.

FUN: Belonging to a club should be fun. It should not be all work and no play. Some clubs put on Holiday parties and award presentations at the end of the year. Others do summer picnics or get together at members homes.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Some people join a club to make a difference in their chosen hobby. These people enjoy being involved in their breed. They want to help promote the breed. They’re not content sitting back and letting others do all the work all the time. They jump right in knowing that nothing changes unless they are a part of that change.

On the other side of the coin, there are reasons people don’t join a club or leave a club after they’ve joined one.

LACK OF GOOD WILL AND CHEER: When a person no longer feels like they are appreciated or wanted, they leave. If they don’t feel like they “belong” sooner or later they won’t return. Whether they love the breed or not, people are foremost aware of how they are made to feel when they are around other people. If they are met with disdain and they feel like they don’t matter, it is the foolish man that returns to that type of environment.

LACK OF EDUCATION: If a club provides little more than a stale doughnut and watered down coffee once a month at their meetings, some people will wonder why they left the comforts of their homes.

SAME OLD, SAME OLD: If the same people are doing all the work all the time, after a while this becomes old and they may get tired of it and decide there are better ways of spending they time.

DUES, DUES AND MORE DUES: If you pay your dues every year and you get absolutely nothing for it, you may start to wonder why you’re throwing your money away. I don’t care how many times someone tells you that you are doing it for the love of the breed……… (If I cursed this is where I would do it)………..EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE SOMETHING FOR THEIR MONEY. This could mean a newsletter, magazine (on the Parent Club level), training classes, educational meetings, rescues, videos, etc. In other words, don’t just keep asking your members for their money and their time and they are left to wonder why????

I don’t think anyone should be made to feel guilty if they don’t feel like supporting a club or clubs that do nothing more than fight, point fingers, or that are of the belief “I’ve been in the breed longer, so therefore, I know more” attitudes. Having healthy discussions about the breed is, well……healthy and productive. Having a general disrespect for one another while proclaiming a love for a breed that is perhaps the most noble of all breeds is contradictory and counter productive.

We shouldn't hide behind this most wonderful of breeds and say that we're doing it all for the love of the German Shepherd Dog. Let the truth remain the truth and admit it’s more about some people’s egos needing to be stroked than anything else. Loving the German Shepherd Dog is about promoting HIM to be recognized as the greatest breed on earth. It’s about making the general public be aware of the many attributes of this breed. It’s about educating and putting the focus on the breed and not one’s self. Let the focus always remain on the German Shepherd Dog. This is what a good breed club does. It promotes, it educates and invites all who enter a rewarding experience for having owned and loved this breed. We should hope to be every bit as noble as the breed we choose to love.

From the book: "HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE" - From an era when 'self-help' books had genuine depth, Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" has influenced the world. No book in the self-help category matters more than this one.

Learning to relate to people in the ways Carnegie instructs will help you personally as well as professionally.

This book is a classic because Carnegie teaches timeless truths in timeless ways.

My rating: Belonging to breed clubs: (1 - 4)


  1. Could it be that clubs have become less about the breed/dog and more about ego's?

  2. Unfortunately, many times it is Bruce!