Regional Club Formation

Planning for...
Regional Bernese Mountain Dog Club Formation


One of the objectives stated in the Constitution of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America is "To encourage the organization of independent local Bernese Mountain Dog Specialty Clubs where sufficient fanciers of the breed exist to meet American Kennel Club requirements." While AKC does not recognize statewide specialty clubs or those lacking a nucleus for representation, the BMDCA has been encouraged to establish its own criteria for recognition of clubs whose membership may initially be more regional than local in nature, provided there are sufficient members in reasonable proximity to be able to hold meetings. Wherever possible the BMDCA utilizes the same criteria as established by the AKC for the formation of dog clubs. Whether a club wishes to pursue recognition by AKC as a local specialty is subject entirely to the wishes of its membership. However, recognition by the BMDCA alone does not guarantee rights to an area. Clubs which have functioned for a long period of time that have not sought accreditation b AKC do not appear to demonstrate existence pursuant to one of the objects given in the AKC sample constitution for a local specialty club, "to conduct sanctioned and licensed specialty shows and obedience trials under the rules of The American Kennel Club." The BMDCA, as a parent club and member of The American Kennel Club, acknowledges that in all instances AKC accreditation/licensing takes precedence over BMDCA recognition of a regional club.

The BMDCA encourages the fraternalism which comes through a regional club and urges members of regional clubs to work harmoniously within their club's framework to promote the best interests of Bernese Mountain Dogs at the local level. The quality of a club's fulfilling these requirements is of the utmost importance.

The BMDCA will not encourage "new" clubs that have been formed to serve the sport in the area of an established club. Dissatisfaction with an existing club should not be the reason to form a similar club. However, regional clubs serving a state or large geographic region may anticipate that when numbers of members increase, there may be a need for an additional club(s) to serve local members in a given area.

Application Requirements

  • 1.   Have an Acceptable Name. A club's name should identify its geographic center of activity, that is, the area from which the club's membership is drawn. It should be readily recognizable to someone in another part of the country. Before a club incorporates, it should receive written approval of the name from the Club Relations Department of the AKC.
  • 2.   Submit an Acceptable Constitution and Bylaws. The club must be governed by a constitution and bylaws that provide for the democratic functioning of the club in all of its activities. The constitution and bylaws are to be modeled after the AKC's model for a local specialty club. These should be submitted to the Bylaw Chair of the BMDCA for suggestions prior to being submitted to the membership of the new club for a vote. This way, the new club has an opportunity to make changes BEFORE the constitution and bylaws are adopted. When the new club has made the suggested changes, the proposed constitution and Bylaws should be voted on by its membership. Once accepted, a copy should placed on file with the Bylaw Chair of the BMDCA.
  • 3.   Function as a Club Over a Period of Time. New groups must be in existence for an extended period of time, during which regular meetings, elections, and activities must have take place for a period of three years after which time they are eligible for BMDCA recognition. Exemption from three years of functioning as a club will be granted if accreditation by AKC has been given and the club has held a successful "B" match. Documentation is to be provided. All other application requirements are to be fulfilled as outlined.
  • 4.   Have Held Fun Matches. A record of these, including a brief summary of the events, as well as problems and difficulties encountered, should be kept. The records should include the number of entries.
  • 5.   Have a Rescue Program. The BMDCA requires that there is a plan of action which can be put into operation as needed.
  • 6.   Submit a Membership List. Clubs should keep accurate and up-to-date membership lists. When submitting the list to the BMDCA, it should include names and complete addresses of members in alphabetical order, as well as the letter designation "B" (Breeder - someone who has registered a litter within the past three years); "E" (Exhibitor - someone who has entered an AKC licensed event within the past two years); "DO" ) (interested Dog Owner - someone who, although not actively breeding or exhibiting, is a dog owner and active in the club); or "J" (AKC-licensed judge). [Since AKC will require for accreditation the year in which each person joined the club be included this information should be maintained for future reference.] The BMDCA will consider members of the same household as one membership unit, and as such should be listed jointly rather than separately. In those situations where a new club has formed near and already existing club, the BMDCA will take into careful consideration membership duplications between the two clubs. While such may occur, it will use AKC's "Sample Constitution and Bylaws for Local Specialty, Field Trial and Hunting Clubs" as its criteria. Article I. Membership, Section 1. Eligibility states, "While membership is to be unrestricted as to residence, the club's primary purpose is to be representative of the breeders and exhibitors in its immediate area."
  • The BMDCA has a high regard for the longevity of regional clubs and is emphatic in its support of existing BMDCA recognized clubs. "New" clubs that form near an existing, recognized club should be keenly aware that the BMDCA will expect a high percentage of their membership to dwell within a relatively small geographic area.

  • 7.   Submit the Name of the Club's Newsletter. The name should be unique to that regional club to avoid duplication of names. Contact the Regional Club Council Chairperson for a list of regional clubs and the names of their newsletters.
  • 8.   Provide a Record of the Club's Development. This record should briefly outline the club's history (including the events leading to formation), activities, meetings, rescue program, community events, and social events. In those instances where a club is forming near an existing club, the BMDCA will closely examine the events leading to formation and carefully consider the manner in which the "new" club was formed.

members at 07 show