CherLyn Shepherds



Dog Clubs – Why should I join a dog club?

Okay, so you bought yourself a German Shepherd Dog , now what do you plan on doing with it for the next 10 to 13 years? You haven’t thought that far ahead? Then here’s a suggestion for you, join a dog club. What’s a dog club? What do they offer and why would you want to?  Read on for a description of various clubs, what is the purpose of that type of club, what you can learn and more.

Why do people join clubs? Most people join a club that hosts a common interest such as, car clubs, motorcycle clubs, sports clubs, academic clubs, home and garden clubs and whatever else you can think of. They go there to meet others with the same interest, talk about their interest, share ideas and tips about their interest, hold events that deal with their interest and basically try to promote their interest to anyone that is interested!

Dog clubs are no different! You have a gathering of people that have a common interest, “The Dog”. They love to talk about their dog, they love to show you their dog and they will hold events that will help to promote “The Dog.”

There are many types of dog clubs, such as “All Breed Clubs”, “Specialty Clubs”, “Obedience Clubs” and “Schutzhund Clubs”. There are also many others that get into specific areas such as “Search and Rescue”, “Tracking”, “Herding” and whatever else you can think of, there is probably a club for it!

Many of these clubs are sanctioned by the American Kennel Club (AKC) which means that they must abide by rules and regulations set up for that type of club.

All-breed clubs welcome purebred dog owners of every breed registered by the AKC, and hold dog shows evaluating a dog’s conformation to its particular breed standard. All-breed clubs may also be eligible to hold obedience trials, tracking tests, agility trials, herding events, lure coursing events and hunting tests.

 Specialty clubs serve the interests of a single breed on a local level. These clubs may be eligible to hold shows, obedience trials, tracking tests, and performance events approved for their breed.

Obedience clubs are open to owners of all breeds. Members demonstrate the usefulness of purebred dogs as a companion of man and the ability to follow specified routines. In addition to obedience trials, obedience clubs offer classes and clinics on training. Many obedience clubs also offer agility and tracking.

 National specialty clubs (also called parent clubs) represent fanciers of a single breed. These clubs primarily hold dog shows, but many national specialty clubs also hold obedience trials, tracking tests and other performance events approved for their particular breed. The AKC approves only one national club for each breed. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) is the Parent Club for the breed of

Schutzhund Clubs The German Shepherd Dog Club of America-Working Dog Association, Inc. (GSDCA-WDA) is dedicated to the welfare and betterment of the German Shepherd Dog. As a member of the WUSV, the World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs, through its affiliation with the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, the WDA provides enthusiasts a framework for activities in the United States patterned after those available to the world-wide GSD community.

WDA Member Clubs host schutzhund trials, conformation shows and breed surveys in keeping with the Total Dog Concept. This concept supports a dog that conforms to the breed standard and is also proficient in working skills, such as herding, tracking, obedience, or protection. Since the German Shepherd Dog was intended to be a working dog, our club activities are designed to preserve the necessary genetic vigor and characteristics of the breed.

So there’s a brief description of several types of clubs. Now for some other info that may not be documented on a website.

How do I Join? All clubs have a simple Membership Application that needs to be filled out, sent to the appropriate person along with the membership fee. Fees are usually under $50 annually for the All Breed Clubs, Specialty Clubs and Obedience Clubs. Parent Clubs and Shutzhunds Clubs are higher and can vary depending on what is offered for the membership fee. Once your application (which indicates your desire to join) is reviewed by a committee and approved (which can take about a month) you should then be notified of acceptance. Some clubs may require your attendance at a meeting or two prior to your acceptance to the club. This is a way that membership can be screened it will also give you an insight to the club. Some clubs will require sponsorship. If you don’t already know someone in this club, then you will need to attend meetings so that you can meet others.

What is included with my Membership Fee? Besides the acceptance to membership, the right to participate in meetings, the right to vote, the right to be heard and the right to representation as a member, some clubs will offer discounted fees for activities they may hold or sponsor. Most clubs have monthly meeting notices, news- letters or (at a higher level club) a Club magazine.

Membership Accepted – Now what?  Congratulations! You are now a part of the world of pure-bred dogs or German Shepherd Dogs or whatever type of dog club you joined. You can attend their meetings (usually held monthly), volunteer your time and expertise by; becoming part of a committee, working towards a future event or working at the event. Make suggestions. Ask questions. Get involved!

Why do I have to get involved? You don’t, but if you want to learn and meet new friends that can help you with your concerns and interests, it’s the quickest and easiest way unless you decide to do all the research yourself in which case, why waste your money by joining a club.

What are the other members like? This is a tough question but here goes… All clubs have members that have been there for many years (20 to 30 or more), there are members that are just like you, novice (under 5 years) and then there are members in between.  You will also find those that are “Breeders”, those that don’t breed but own several dogs and those that may own only one dog. Depending on the type of club, (All Breed and Specialty Clubs) you will find members that show only in conformation, members that show only in obedience or a similar type sport, members that may show in both areas and members that do not show at all. There are members that attend most of all the meetings and functions, members that drop in on occasion and those that just like to see their name on a club’s roster.

As with everything else, you will also find various types of personalities, attitudes, convictions and just plain human nature. Right or wrong you will find cliques and prejudice attitudes concerning “The Dog” and the areas you choose to show your dog in.

But Dog Clubs are no different than any other club because “people” by nature tend to be competitive, not all are open-minded. However, if you can survive those imperfections of mankind, you can learn a tremendous amount of knowledge concerning Your Dog, Your breed and the Sport in which You choose to “play” in.

I have been a member in various clubs for 30 consecutive years. In my opinion, clubs that are run by a Board that is open-minded and accepts the thoughts and suggestions of their members and keeps The Dog as the focal point will continue to grow. However, those clubs that are “controlled” by a Board that only services a portion of the membership will eventually suffocate the life-line of the club. Prejudice and insecurity go hand in hand to the death of a club.


Created March 2009
Updated  August 28, 2010

Copyright © 2009