AKC Meet the Breeds RomeoIf your kids can’t walk past a dog or cat without stopping to pet it—then I have the event for you. The annual AKC Meet the Breeds show, hosted by the American Kennel Club® (AKC) and The International Cat Association (TICA), is held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City and is the world’s largest showcase of dogs and cats.

Imagine a giant convention center where your family can pet and play until their hearts content with literally thousands of dogs and cats, including some of the rarest breeds most people have only read about.

Speaking from a purely parental perspective, this is a wonderful family event that is filled with entertainment and educational opportunies.

If your family is thinking about getting a pet, then what better place to learn about the different types of breeds. See first hand how the breed you have always wanted interacts with children and mass crowds! Even if you intend on getting a rescue animal (many are pure breds), you can learn about what traits are dominant in the breeds you like most.

If you are already a pet owner, you and your family can bring home a present (because there are no pets allowed here) and peruse over 100 vendor booths that offer every imaginable product for pets and their owners.

But whether you are a pet owner or merely thinking about getting a cat or dog, this is a great educational experience for kids to learn about responsible pet ownership and how to decide what type of pet is right for your family. After all, getting a pet is big commitment and it is not a decision that should be made lightly.

AKC Meet the BreedsThe show also provides an opportunity for children to learn about different kinds of working dogs. It also features demonstration rings that exhibit grooming, agility, obedience and more.

What was really impressive about this event was the patience of all the animals and pet presenters. We thought the humans would get tired of answering the same questions (one guy had a sign, “yes, they do shed”) and dealing with excited children but overall everyone was enthusiastic about their breeds and happy to share facts and anecdotes. Some canine presenters even let children hold the dogs, which I found impressive since children are not always very coordinated with pets.

Each booth had several dogs or cats so they could take turns get a break from the masses and take a nap. The cats were fewer in number and, as you can imagine, were a little less enthusiastic due to the large canine contingent. Although many stayed in their carriers their handlers were gladly bring them out to say hello.

To quote my daughter. “Best day ever!”

Even if you have no intention of ever getting a dog or cat, your children will have a great day at Meet the Breeds. 

Practical Mom Matters

• Worried about germs?—no need. There was hand sanitizer everywhere you turned to prevent the spread of harmful animal and human germs.
• Upon entry, the event provided wrist bands for children with parental contact information in the likely event that they strayed from their parents.

If you missed the event this year, no worries, you can head down to the dog-only event that will be held later in the year in conjunction with AKC’s National Championship, in Orlando, FL, December 15th and 16th at the Orange County Convention Center.