Register of Merit Program History:
Back in the early 1990s, I was thinking there needed to be some recognition of the sires and dams who produced our show dogs. Although there was already an award for Top Producer each year, there was no ongoing recognition of the dogs (and their families) who, year after year, produced these winners. In my own breeding program, I did purposely seek out these individuals, since I felt that a winning family is as important as the dog itself.
I started looking around at other breed clubs’ Register of Merit programs and tried to gather the parts which would be most valuable to the Dachshund breed. I sent my proposal to DCA and, as they always do on anything to promote our breed in a positive manner, they eagerly put it into motion with board member Bob Wlodkowski as my liaison. My original requirements were stricter, as I thought a bitch should have five champions and a dog should have twelve for the ROM/ROMX levels. For the ROMO, my original proposal wanted ten champions for a bitch and twenty-five for a dog. The Board felt that the current requirements were more in keeping with miniature production as well as standard. I administered the ROM program for years until time constraints precluded me from doing it any longer. I thank Bob and Ann Wlodkowski and Joyce Warren for taking over and keeping this worthwhile program going.
I am a strong believer in that there are champions and there are CHAMPIONS, so that is why I added the different qualitative requirements for the ROMX and ROMO. I believe, as breeders, we should recognize the dogs who produce “Specials” (Group, Specialty and DCA winners) not just finishable champions. I then made the qualitative requirements for dogs who were successful in the Group and Specialty ring. The only qualitative requirement a class dog or bitch can attain is at DCA weekend, where the best of the best are competing. Personally, in retrospect, I would probably add Westminster BV and BOS to those qualifiers, as well as class wins on Mini Roundup weekend at AKC events.
I am really proud of this Register of Merit program and feel that it is a very useful tool in determining which dogs and lines really produce the “Best of the Best.” Study the generations after generations which are producing the dogs who win the “Big Ones’ and your breeding program will be better for it. See which dogs produce special after special and which ones produce champions that are never heard from again. A few of us are currently going back and adding some of the great old dogs to this list and it carries true back then: the BEST produce the BEST!!
-Dan Harrison, December 2011