About the AKC Standards
What are the Standards?
The Standards are the "blueprints" of the breed. They describe the
physical appearance and other desired qualities of the breed. They
describe the breed's type, that is, what sets it apart from other
breeds and marks it as a good representive of the breed. Some
characteristics, such as body type and build, are often based on the
original (or current) function for the dog. Other characteristics
are more cosmetic; but taken together they help identify the dog's
They are frequently relatively short, as they describe an ideal
representive of the breed. No dog is perfect, but the Standard
describes an ideal to reach for. Traditionally, in the AKC, the
National Breed Club writes the Standard for its breed. All
organizations which recognize at least one breed generally has a
Standard for it. However, this discussion is focussed on the Standards
used by the AKC and AKC-affiliated clubs and individuals.
Who Owns the Standards?
It's a good question. Candidates include the AKC (which is the
governing body for these Breed club and which holds the copyright on
The Complete Dog Book, which contains a compilation of all the
Standards for AKC recognized breeds) and the national Breed Club which
prepared the Standard. Traditionally, within the AKC, the National
Breed Club holds the Copyright to the Standards.
So what is the story behind their removal from Breed FAQ's?
In August, I received information that the AKC did not want the
Standards to be distributed electronically. I had been trying
to contact Sam Perry (the lawyer for the AKC) and never had any
responses. So I went through and removed all the standards from
my website. Over time, as I have gotten additional information and
made educated guesses elswhere, this is what I believe to be
relevant at the moment:
- The AKC's lawyer, Sam Perry, has said that they will not
"pursue the matter" if an individual distributing a breed Standard
does so with the permission of the national Breed Club. Whether
this can be taken as meaningful or not is open to question -- but
he did go on record as making this statement.
- Compiling all the standards at one spot might be considered
a violation of the copyright on The Complete Dogbook on
the basis that a higher percentage of the book's contents
than is allowed by "fair use" is present at the site.
- email@example.com says that the AKC does NOT intend to limit
distribution of the Standards on the 'net.
So what is the policy regarding them?
Mostly because of point #2 above,
all the Breed FAQs maintained by Cindy Moore at her website
have had the (AKC) Standards removed from them. As she also is the
moderator of rec.pets.dogs.info and by extension, responsible for the items
posted to this newsgroup, no copy of an AKC Standard will be permitted
on the newsgroup. This means that such an article will either be
rejected, or if posted by the individual, cancelled by the moderator.
Given that the AKC and National Breed clubs and assorted
individuals are making the
Standards available at their sites, the FAQ's will simply begin
linking directly to these to make the information available. This seems
to be the best of both worlds -- avoiding any possible legal problem
with the AKC and yet giving everyone except the newsgroup readers
access to the Standards.
In the final analysis, I do not believe the FAQ's really need the
Standards. These documents are aimed at the person who is novice to the
breed and is most likely not yet ready for them. The FAQ's represent a
fine, informative body of work put together by dozens of volunteers and
nothing can diminish that effort.