a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Tuesday T-Shirt Tales: Mixed Breed Dog Club

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Tuesday T-Shirt Tales: Mixed Breed Dog Club

T-shirt tales? Because every t-shirt tells a story, don't it.
And I have so very many of them. Shirts. And stories. ---- Whaaaaat??

All T-Shirt Tales

SUMMARY: Back before agility and AKC both fixed and ruined it all.

Bought in 1998. Still wear it.

Even before I adopted Amber, my first dog, I knew that I wanted someday to train an Obedience Champion. But, in my naivité as a first-time dog owner back in the '70s,  I didn't know until a member of the local AKC dog training club told me: "If you wanted to compete, you should've gotten a purebred."  I felt insulted and angry. And that was that. I  washed my hands of AKC. 

That same year (1978), Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America was founded to allow AKC-rejected dogs of any kind to compete in Obedience and Conformation.
MBDCA was an instant hit: All that pent-up desire from owners of non-AKC breeds and mixed breeds and otherwise unpedigreed pups. Affiliates grew up across the country. 

I had no way of knowing about it and, in any case, the California affiliate (MBDC-CA) wouldn't exist for another 15 years--which happened to be the year Remington was born. How convenient!

Unaware, Remington and I started basic pet obedience classes, and then my instructor told me about MBDC-CA. So! Yay! We began training in earnest with a private instructor.  A possible Obedience Champion dream come true at last! We were [almost] good enough to start earning legs [qualifying scores towards specific titles].  

Most of ours scores were not nearly this good--I got a bit of a vibe of "how sweet that people are bringing out their mixed breeds" from this judge--but I wasn't going to turn down a close-to-perfect score! [We also started competing in agility in 1996]

Demonstrating tricks at the MBDC-CA picnic: 
Jake Shake
Tika "Bang!"

A bonus: The club hosted several events through the year, but in particular their annual picnic with a smorgasbord of fun and games, and of course too much wonderful food. Someone in the club demonstrated advanced tricks, which inspired me to push further into that fun activity with Rem.   Later, for a couple of years, Rem and I demonstrated our tricks repertoire to inspire others. 

The MBDC-CA cemented some of my nascent friendships, expanded my understanding of dog sports and organizations, and gave us a chance to just have fun with our dogs and friends in relaxed, dog-friendly camaraderie.  

Meanwhile, something else that I initially had no idea about had begun only 10 years before MBDC-CA's founding. It would, directly or indirectly, lead to the collapse of most of the MBDCs a mere 10 years after I started training Remington. Yes: dog agility (mid-1980s).  

Obedience was interesting but pretty low-key, and Remington wanted more more more! And so did I.  We tried tracking, too. And "Circus Dog" classes. And then my original obedience instructor told me about another thing -- dog agility. Went to a class, loved the look of it, was accepted for training, and ...  I had no idea what I was in for. Among other things--a rapidly growing collection of new friends with purebreds and mixes all with a common love of dogs and, now, agility.  Even though clearly Obedience would be my main thing.

A year after I started agility with Rem, Jake came home with me, so then I had two mixes with whom to have fun at the annual MBDC-CA picnic. One year, Jake won the hot-dog diving contest (bits of hot dog in a bowl of water) almost before the timer could start the stopwatch. The club's monthly newsletter reported everyone's titles and achievements and new puppies and the passing of old dear friends and activities. An eager, active, close-knit, and successful organization, with dogs earning obedience and conformation titles left and right.

Of course I have no photos of me in the MBDC-CA t-shirt at one of their events, but at agility competitions, we'd gather for photos anyway.
Here, four of us wore our MBDC-CA t-shirts. (Me with Tika and Jake.)
Arlene (to the left of the sign) and I became good friends outside the world of dogs.

But something was happening--I began to lose interest in competitive obedience, because: Agility. And other people began to lose interest in competitive obedience, because: Agility. People wanted demos of agility and articles about agility. evvvvvery body, it seemed, was doing agility. 

And then, the finishing touch: AKC, under pressure from a huge agility community and other growing dog sports (or possibly to tap into all that money that wasn't going their way), made it possible for mixed breeds to earn AKC obedience and agility titles. The purpose for MBDC had nearly vanished; only conformation remained as a unique draw. Fewer and fewer people came out for MBDC events. Fewer and fewer people had interest in doing the work to keep the club running.  In 2013, it folded completely, as did all but one affiliate across the country. Long after I had ceased interest in obedience.

I appreciate that it existed at all, at the time that I needed it.


References for fun:

So long, and thanks for all the fish

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