American Kennel Club

American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club (or AKC) is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. Beyond maintaining its pedigree registry, this kennel club also promotes and sanctions events for purebred dogs, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, an annual event which predates the official forming of the AKC, the National Dog Show, and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Unlike most other country's kennels clubs, the AKC is not part of the International Canine Organisation, Fédération Cynologique Internationale.

Dog registration

The AKC is not the only registry of purebred dogs, but it is the one with which most Americans are familiar [citeweb|url=,9171,163404,00.html|title=A Terrible Beauty|author= Michael D. Lemonick|accessdate=2007-10-04] . For a dog to be registered with the AKC, the dog's parents must be registered with the AKC as the same breed, and the litter in which the dog is born must be registered with the AKC. Once these criteria are met, the dog can be registered as purebred by the AKC.The top 5 dogs registered for 2007 are the same as 2006: [ [ AKC Dog Registration Statistics ] ]
*Labrador Retriever
*Yorkshire Terrier
*German Shepherd
*Golden Retriever

Registration indicates only that the dog's parents were registered as one recognized breed; it does not necessarily indicate that the dog comes from healthy or show-quality blood lines. Nor is registration necessarily a reflection on the quality of the breeder or how the puppy was raised. In 2006, the Board of Directors of the AKC signed a contract with Petland pet stores to facilitate the registration of dogs sold by Petland and bred by the Hunte Corporation, the largest commercial dog breeder (sometimes referred to as a puppy mill) in the U.S. After a brief flurry of controversy, the AKC rescinded the Petland contract, but as AKC Chairman Ron Menaker notes, the AKC has "been registering AKC eligible puppies from Petland, and every other company selling AKC registrable puppies" "for the past 122 years." [ [ Sep2006_DelMinsWeb.qxd ] ]

Registration is necessary only for breeders (so they can sell registered puppies) or for purebred conformation show or purebred dog sports participation. Registration can be obtained by mail or online at their website.

(AKC), national organization in the United States devoted to the advancement and welfare of pure-bred dogs. It is comprised of approximately 500 autonomous clubs. A delegate represents each club in the AKC's legislative body, which votes on the rules and regulations that govern dog shows and obedience and field trials. The AKC keeps a registry of recognized breeds and records the ancestry of registered pure-bred dogs in its stud book. It also provides educational materials for dog owners and sponsors rescue groups for each breed.See the official publications of the American Kennel Club, including The Complete Dog Book (18th ed. 1992).

AKC and health

Even though the AKC supports some canine health research and has recently been running advertising campaigns implying that the AKC is committed to healthy dogs, the AKC's role in furthering dog health is controversial. The AKC has no health standards for breeding. The only breeding restriction is age (a dog can be no younger than 8 months [ [ Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline ] ] ). Furthermore, the AKC prohibits member clubs from imposing stricter regulations, that is, an AKC breed club cannot require a higher breeding age, hip dysplasia ratings, genetic tests for inheritable diseases, or any other restrictions. (Member clubs do have the power to define the looks of the breed, or breed standard.)

As a result, attention to health among breeders is purely voluntary. By contrast, many dog clubs outside the US do require health tests of breeding dogs. The [ German Shepherd Club of Germany] , for example, requires hip and elbow X-rays in addition to other tests before a dog can be bred. [ [ Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV) e.V.: Bekämpfung von HD + ED ] ] Such breeding restrictions are not allowed in AKC member clubs. As a result, some US breeders have established parallel registries or health databases outside of the AKC; for example, the [ Berner Garde] established such a database in 1995 after genetic diseases reduced the average lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog to 7 years. The Swiss Bernese Mountain Dog club introduced mandatory hip X-rays in 1971. [ [ KBS - 2. Massnahmen ] ]

For these, and other reasons, a small number of breed clubs have not yet joined the AKC so they can maintain stringent health standards, but, in general, the breeders' desire to show their dogs at AKC shows such as the Westminster Dog Show has won out over these concerns.

Contrary to most western nations organized under the International Kennel Federation (of which the AKC is not a member), the AKC does not discourage docked tails and cropped ears in its standards [citeweb|url=|title=AKC Canine Legislation Position Statements|accessdate=2007-10-10] , a practice most countries now condemn outright.

Indefinite Listing Privilege Program / Purebred Alternative Listing Program

The Indefinite Listing Privilege Program (ILP) is an AKC program that provides purebred dogs who may not have been eligible for registration a chance to register "indefinitely". There are various reasons why a purebred dog might not be eligible for registration; for example, the dog may be the product of an unregistered litter, or have unregistered parents. Many dogs enrolled in the ILP program were adopted from animal shelters or rescue groups, in which case the status of the dog's parents is unknown. Dogs enrolled in ILP may participate in AKC companion and performance activities, but not conformation.

As of February 1, 2008, the name of the program will be changed to the Purebred Alternative Listing Program. Enrolees of the program will receive various new benefits, including a subscription to "Family Dog" Magazine, a certificate for their dog's place in the PAL, and information about AKC Pet Healthcare and microchipping. Dogs currently in the ILP Program will keep their original numbers.

AKC National Championship

The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship is an annual event held in both Tampa, FL, and Long Beach, CA. The show is by invitation only. The dogs invited to the show have either finished their championship from the bred-by-exhibitor class or ranked in the Top 25 of their breed. Can often be seen on major t.v. stations when occurring. [citeweb|url=|title=AKC/Eukanuba National Championship|accessdate=2007-10-04]

Open foundation stock

The Foundation Stock Service (FSS) is an AKC program for breeds not yet accepted by the AKC for full recognition, and not yet in the AKC's Miscellaneous class. [ [ Foundation Stock Service® Program ] ] The AKC FSS requires that at least the parents of the registered animal are known. The AKC will not grant championship points to dogs in these breeds until the stud book is closed and the breed is granted full recognition.


The AKC sanctions events in which dogs and handlers can compete. These are divided into three areas:
*Conformation shows
**Junior Showmanship
*Companion events, in which all registered and ILP dogs can compete. These include:
**Obedience trials
**Tracking trials
**Dog agility
**Rally obedience

*Performance events, which are limited to certain entrants; ILP dogs of the correct breed are usually eligible:
**Coonhound events (coonhounds; no ILP dogs)
**Field trials (hounds)
**Earthdog trials (small terriers and Dachshunds)
**Sheepdog trials (herding tests) (herding breeds, Rottweilers, and Samoyeds)
**Hunt tests (most dogs in the Sporting Groups and Standard Poodles)
**Lure coursing (sighthounds only)
**Working Dog Sport (obedience, tracking, protection) German Shepherd Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, Bouvier des Flandres

AKC policy toward working dog sport events that include protection phases, such as Schutzhund, has changed according to prevailing public sentiment in the United States. In 1990, as well-publicized dog attacks were driving public fear against many breeds, the AKC issued a ban on protection sports for all of its member clubs. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, Americans began to take a more positive attitude toward well-trained protection dogs, and in July 2003 the AKC decided to allow member clubs to hold a limited number of protection events with prior written permission. [ [|AKC Board Policy Manual, Performance Events, web page accessed July 30, 2007] ] In 2006 the AKC released rules [ American Kennel Club, Working Dog Sport Regulations, Effective August 2006 [] ] for its own Working Dog Sport events, very similar to Schutzhund.

In 2007, the American Kennel Club accepted an invitation from the Mexican Kennel Club to participate in the Fédération Cynologique Internationale World Dog Show in Mexico City. [ [ Mexico World Dog Show 2007, including pictures] ]

Recognized breeds

As of April 2007, the AKC fully recognizes 157 breeds with 4 additional breeds granted partial status in the Miscellaneous class. Another 58 rare breeds can be registered in its Foundation Stock Service.

The AKC divides dog breeds into seven "groups", one "class", and the Foundation Stock Service, consisting of the following (as of April 2007):

*Sporting Group: 26 breeds [ [ AKC Breeds by Group - Sporting Group ] ] developed as bird dogs. Includes Pointers, Retrievers, Setters, and Spaniels.

*Hound Group: 23 breeds [ [ AKC Breeds by Group - Hound Group ] ] developed to hunt using sight (sighthounds) or scent (scent hounds). Includes Greyhounds and Beagles.

*Working Group: 25 large breeds [ [ AKC Breeds by Group - Working Group ] ] developed for a variety of jobs, including guarding property, guarding livestock, or pulling carts. Includes Siberian Huskies and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

*Terrier Group: 27 feisty breeds [ [ AKC Breeds by Group - Terrier Group ] ] some of which were developed to hunt vermin and to dig them from their burrows or lairs. Size ranges from the tiny Cairn Terrier to the large Airedale Terrier.

*Toy Group: 21 small companion breeds [ [ AKC Breeds by Group - Toy Group ] ] Includes Toy Poodles and Pekineses.

*Non-Sporting Group: 17 breeds [ [ AKC Breeds by Group - Non-Sporting Group ] ] that do not fit into any of the preceding categories, usually larger than Toy dogs. Includes Bichon Frises and Miniature Poodles.

*Herding Group: 20 breeds [ [ AKC Breeds by Group - Herding Group ] ] developed to herd livestock. Includes Rough Collies and Belgian Shepherds.

*Best in Show:over 150 breeds All Breeds

*Miscellaneous Class: 5 breeds [ [ AKC Breeds by Group - Miscellaneous Class ] ] that have advanced from FSS but that are not yet fully recognized. After a period of time that ensures that good breeding practices are in effect and that the gene pool for the breed is ample, the breed is moved to one of the seven preceding groups.

*Foundation Stock Service (FSS) Program: 57 breeds. [ [ American Kennel Club - List of FSS Breeds ] ] This is a breed registry in which breeders of rare breeds can record the birth and parentage of a breed that they are trying to establish in the United States; these dogs provide the "foundation stock" from which eventually a fully recognized breed might result. These breeds cannot participate in AKC events until at least 150 individual dogs are registered; thereafter, competition in various events is then provisional.

Other AKC programs

The AKC also offers the Canine Good Citizen program. This program tests dogs of any breed (including mixed breed) or type, registered or not, for basic behavior and temperament suitable for appearing in public and living at home.

The AKC also supports Canine Health with the Canine Health Foundation

AKC and legislation

The AKC tracks all dog related legislation in the United States, lobbies lawmakers and issues legislative alerts on the internet asking for citizens to contact public officials. They are particularly active in combating breed-specific legislation such as bans on certain breeds considered dangerous.


ee also

*List of dog breeds
*United Kennel Club

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ 2007 Registration Data]

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