|Conversation about the Breed Standard 11.02.08
There are a few things that I recently learned that you may all wish to know. Several have asked me these questions privately,
so I thought I'd be lazy and just answer it for everyone at once.
The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) is the international canine organization. It includes 84 members and contract
partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI makes sure that
the pedigrees and judges are mutually recognized by all the FCI members. It is an umbrella for most national kennel clubs in
the world. USA, Canada and England are notable exceptions.
Each country has a national kennel club. Ours is AKC and Iceland's is HRFI. HRFI was formed originally for the preservation of
the Iceland Dog and is now the national kennel club.
Each country also has a national breed club for each breed type. Ours is ISAA. Iceland's is DIF.
The ISIC (Icelandic Sheepdog International Cooperation) is the international association dedicated to the preservation of the
There is an international standard, called the FCI standard, used by all FCI countries. It is developed by the national kennel
club of the country of origin for the breed. Therefore, HRFI is responsible for the FCI standard for the ISD.
The ISD FCI standard is used by all ISIC countries (Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Holland, Germany and the
new club in Switzerland) with the exception of the U.S.A. Canada is an associate club and the standard used by the CISC is
pretty close to the FCI.
Americans, as usual, have to be different. The AKC does not go to the country of origin. Rather, they ask the parent club
(that's us) to develop the standard. This is very different from the other ISIC countries. A key difference is that they would never
think to question the country of origin's standard nor dream of changing one word. They all look at us sideways when we talk
about the "American Standard". If we want to work with, exchange bloodlines with, buy and sell puppies from and to, exchange
health and genetics information with, etc. these other FCI countries, we need to understand this key difference. They openly
discuss how breeds brought into the USA become the American this or that breed and not the breed as it is recognized in other
countries. I don't believe this is what any of us wants.
So, we are presented with a very important question. Do we want to be on the same page with the international community or
not? This is the question before us. They have opened all the doors for us and want us to participate fully in that community.
We are certainly grateful to those who have gotten us to this point with the draft standard we initially voted on. They did a great
job getting us here and laid a strong foundation. Now, it is time, and you have already begun the discussion about what our
next step will be.
I would personally like to walk through that door and Knox asked me to find a way to do just that one short year ago. We are at
the place now but it depends on your will, not ours. Should we modify our draft standard to be like the FCI standard?
I hope that this information is helpful and your BOD is listening to this conversation with great interest.
|AKC Standard Update - 11.3.08
|The BOD is happy to hear support for modifying our draft standard to become as close as possible to FCI and the country of
origin. There was some side discussion at ISIC about how Americans typically change breeds to American versions as they get
into AKC. I've also heard that discussed by this group and have seen it in other breeds. I don't know if that is done by other clubs
on purpose or just through misunderstanding and 'drift' from the original standard. I know our club has never intended to move
away from the FCI standard.
In the past, there seemed to be some sort of language or cultural barrier that prevented us from communicating clearly and
directly with Iceland and the other ISIC countries. I voted for our current draft standard as did many others, thinking it was as close
as we could get to the FCI standard.
This year, ISIC decided to conduct all business and seminars in English. That was a huge gift to us as we are the only country who
speaks English as the native language. It makes it easier for us and more difficult for all of the other countries. We have to move
slowly and carefully as it is easy to have misunderstandings due to language barriers. As Hans-Ake, one of the three recognized
experts on the ISD, says, "Each word in the standard has specific meaning."
During this process, we hired two AKC judges, one of whom has experience with the
ISD and one who specializes in structural evaluations as they relate to the breed standard. Our goal was to see if it was possible
to match our current draft more closely to the FCI standard in language and also be acceptable to the AKC. We have gotten a
preliminary 'thumbs up' from AKC, DIF, and HRFI, something we previously thought impossible. This was always Knox's goal and it
appears that it is now within reach.
Because we were unable to write a standard that satisfied AKC, the membership and
DIF/HRFI, we decided to take a different approach and leave the crafting and modifications of the standard to the "experts". We
left the specific wording to those experts who have direct experience with standards and got out of their way. This approach seems
to be working quite well and we are very close to a final draft. The modified "draft" has, of course, gone through several "takes"
between HRFI, the judges and AKC. Our goal is to get it as dialed in as possible before bringing it to you for approval.
Thank you again for your support and we look forward to hearing more of your comments.
Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In November of 2008, we sent what we hoped to be our final draft standard to the DIF for approval. We are pleased to
announce that we received that approval on January 25, 2009. There were no further substantive changes made to the draft
The final draft was sent to the AKC on January 26, 2009. When approval of the final draft is given, we will send the document to
you for vote.
It appears that we are on the verge of presenting you with a standard that DIF/HRFI and AKC agree on. We will inform you as
soon as we receive any further information. We welcome your comments and questions and are grateful for your support as we
get closer to our goal of having a standard that is supported by the country of origin, AKC and our membership.
If you are interested in more information and the history regarding this process, please read below.
ISAA Board of Directors
|Standard Update January 27, 2009
We fully believe that the final approval of the AKC will be received within the near future and in your hands allowing sufficient
time for its adoption by the membership and well before our National Show in October. After more than a year of cooperative
work between AKC and DIF/HRFI, we are very optimistic that the revised standard will be well received by the membership.
|Standard Update: April 14, 2009