American Kennel Club (AKC): Everything You Need to Know

American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the largest, most popular, and most influential registry of purebred dogs in the United States.

It is also the only non-profit pedigree registry in the United States.

They also organize, promote, and sanction events where dogs and handlers engage in friendly competitions, which most are annual events.

These events are divided into three areas: conformation shows, companion events, and performance events.

Dogs have been man’s best friend ever since their domestication, but since the early 1800s, English people became particularly interested in them.

Dogs were seen as lovely creatures, and soon this fad spread across North America.

In 1884, ten American clubs and three Canadian clubs founded the American Kennel Club (AKC) to advance the study, exhibit, and maintain the purebred dogs.

However, in 1886, the Canadian breed clubs pulled out of AKC because of conflicts between the Canadian and American clubs and formed the Canadian Kennel Club in 1888.

The National American Kennel Club was founded in 1876, and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show, an annual event, started in 1877.

In 1909, AKC became incorporated after they had situated in New York.

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The Process of Registration

For a pure breed dog to be eligible to get registered with the American Kennel Club, the dog’s parents must be registered as the same breed.

This is to ensure that the dog’s parents are actually of the recognized breed. Also, this helps to determine the health and the quality of their bloodlines.

However, an exception can be made for a dog to be eligible to be registered with AKC. Yet, if the club sees it fit, the dog can be registered through special registry research.

Anyways, once the eligibility is attained, the dog can be registered as a pure breed with the AKC through litter application or registry research.

However, this kind of registration only records that the dog’s parents are of a recognized breed and nothing more. The quality of their bloodlines, as well as their health, cannot be ascertained.

The Programs of American Kennel Club

AKC is a popular registry but is loved because of its events. More to the shows they sanction, they also set up the following program:

Canine Good Citizen Program

This program involves testing dogs of any type or breed (both pure and mixed breed – whether registered or not) for basic behavior and temperament.

This is to ensure that they are suitable for appearing in public and having homes.

Therapy dogs

The club provides titles for therapy dogs. AKC therapy dog organizations have visited homes with dogs certified by AKC as therapy dogs to ensure they are therapy dogs.

AKC Humane Fund

An AKC affiliate called AKC Humane Fund helps provide support for charity activities such as breed rescue activities.

They also help shelters that allow victims of domestic violence to bring their pets, educating them and other dog lovers on how to be a responsible dog owner.

AKC Reunite

An AKC affiliate program is AKC Reunite, initially called AKC Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR), founded in 1995. This helps provide recovery services and pet ID.


The American Kennel Club, although the most prominent and most influential registry, has also suffered a lot of criticisms in the past, they are still in business.

They are still faced with many controversies and criticisms.

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