On September 1, Royal Canin pet food company and the American Kennel Club (AKC) purebred dog registry announced a multiyear agreement for Royal Canin to become the presenting sponsor of the AKC National Championship. The event will be renamed "The AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin.”

The AKC/Royal Canin event is the largest dog show in North America, according to AKC, offering the most prize money in the world of dog sports.

Transition from Eukanuba

As the National Championship transitions from its previous sponsor Eukanuba, the show will feature a new logo, highlighting the new name and new partnership. Attendees of the show will notice a change to the venue décor, which will now feature the Royal Canin signature red color with gold accents featuring red carpet in all of the show rings and the brand's black-and-white breed imagery throughout the venue.

“Our commitment to purebred dogs is perfectly aligned with the AKC's mission,” said Keith Levy, Royal Canin USA president, in a press release. “Royal Canin was founded by breeders and veterinarians..."

The 2016 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida from Dec. 17-18, 2016. The event will showcase more than 5,000 national and international dogs.

Nutrition for mutts

Many of the dog breeds that appear in the AKC show have specific nutritional needs. Specialized dog food recipes are marketed to their owners. For those dogs without the pedigree to appear in shows, genetic analysis can help veterinarians and pet owners to identify specific nutritional pet food needs or disease risks in mixed-breed dogs, said Angela Hughes, DVM, veterinary geneticist for Mars Veterinary. For pet food manufacturers, DNA analysis could build consumers’ awareness of the need for specialized, therapeutic or prescribed diets and pet treats for mixed breeds.

Purebred dogs’ nutritional needs and common ailments may be notorious, like hip dysplasia or obesity. However, pet owners may not realize that their mutts can suffer from the same genetic tendencies as the breeds that made up their ancestry. Also, when people adopt a mixed breed puppy, they may not have any idea how large it could grow, and therefor don’t know its nutritional requirements. Genetic testing can help owners know how much and what type of food will help their puppy grow best.