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BTN 282AKbuildingWhen I was living at home (many years ago), I remember mom so happy, they had just purchased a pair of "AKC papered" toy poodles.  Yes they paid a lot of money for them. The reasoning was that by buying from a breeder whose dogs where registered with the AKC, they were being assured that these were "purebred" and would be healthy living long lives, have great looks and personality... Well that was the myth I grew up with, and my mother believed. But that was not our experience even 30 years ago.   Thinking back on those days, and being interested in finding out just what the AKC really does, and why the negative comments I have recently read, I decided to see what I could find.  Reading from the AKC web site and its published history, I took the opportunity to study the purposes and value of the organization, in the context of the average dog owner.

The AKC is an organization which is “dedicated to upholding the integrity of its Registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function." They have affiliated organizations consisting of Dog Show Clubs. They definite the acceptable standards for breeding exhibiting of purebred dogs. Nothing wrong with that.
Founded in 1884 they have evolved into a well-organized institution. They have created and taken the lead in controlling, the keeping the lid on just what is a purebred dog breed, what standards will be kept for breeding show dogs, how the shows will be ran and tight hold of its registry of individual registered AKC bred dogs.   Along the way they provide support in advocating purebred dogs as family companion, advancing canine health and work to protect the rights of dog owners. But the bottom line from my point of view is they are a tight knit group that works to keep the monetary value of purebred dogs. For breeders, and those involved, the registry and dog shows, equals quite a large money making project.


They are allowed by most states "to adopt and enforce uniform rules regulating and governing dog shows  and field  trials, to  regulateBTN 282AKCregistration the  conduct of persons  interested in exhibiting, running, breeding, registering, purchasing and selling dogs, to detect, prevent, and punish  frauds in connection therewith, to protect the interests of its members, to maintain  and publish an official stud book and an official kennel gazette, and generally to do everything to advance the study, breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of the purity of thoroughbred dogs."

However, from the average dog owner looking for a companion pet, you just have to ask yourself, “What is the value to the average dog owner who wants to have a purebred, who is attracted to the characteristics of a particular breed?  From my point of view, "not much, if anything." One has to ask… “Does having a registered dog guarantee a certain personality? No  Does having a papered registered dog guaranteed a clean bill of health?   No…. So what does paying the going rate for a AKC registered purebred dog get you?  
BTN 282AKCwinnerWell IF I was a breeder, it would mean everything. It would mean I could get a "decent" price for the litters produced. It would mean getting respect inside the exhibiting (show) halls. If you have ever looked at what a professional breeder does to ensure a profitable lineage, that includes show quality and possible winning dogs, you know this is not something for the feint at heart. The selection, testing, and breeding process is not cheap. And the disastrous loss of litters, or the Dam (mother of puppies) or a Sire (male stud), can be a  heartbreaking setback. For many breeders this is a serious income producing business, where the health and breeding of the dog is a huge part of their reputation. Owing a winning Sire (Stud) dog, with a champion pedigree, is another large cost. I am not saying that the breeders don’t love and respect their dogs, but it is only one part of the picture.



A  dog registry keeps records on dogs. Registries will, for a fee ($10-$80), record and maintain information such as the dog’s name, breed, color, parents, and who owns him. Papers do not guarantee the health, quality or temperament of a puppy. A pedigree isBTN 282bestinhowCgart a record of a dog's ancestors, not that the dog is purebred. Many hybrids - also called 'designer' dogs - come with "pedigree papers" but it means only that each parent may be a purebred. Neither will a "paper" ensure the dog will fit nicely into your life style, no matter how many “champions” are in the dog’s background.

What else does the AKC do?
The AKC sanctions dog shows and performance events. They record the results of these events and issue Certificates to the dog owners when the requirements for a title are met. i.e. Best of Show.

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 AKC's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program is one of the programs sponsored by the American Kennel Club. There are many applications of this entry level program that go beyond the testing and certifying of dogs. Some therapy dog groups use the CGC as a partial screening tool, and some 4-H groups around the country have been using the CGC as a beginning dog training program for children. There are many training programs to assist and educated the public with the ownership, training and health of the dogs.



The AKC contributes to health research. They have established the Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF), which issues grants for research to benefit dogs. The funds for these grants come from individuals, clubs, and corporations, as well as the AKC.

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Then there is The Westminster dog show and The Dog Museum of America, was established in June 1980, and formally opened in September, 1982 at 51 Madison Avenue. Five years later, it moved to its present location in St. Louis, Missouri and subsequently changed its name to The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog.





While there isBTN 282AKCInspectedkennel much good done with this organization, perhaps one of the main failures, is the so called breeder certification program established for breeding programs that have turned out to certify some of the most offensive large commercial breeding enterprises.    They simply insure the pedigree, or verify that the dog is purebred. There are no health or breeding practice guarantees. Although the AKC has  kennel inspectors, they only visit breeders who register seven or more litters per year -- basically exempting backyard breeders.

It's not a foolproof system; It is my understanding, and it is acknowledged, that people have and do lie to the AKC. Many puppy mill owners routinely lie about the parentage of their puppies: a pedigreed puppy is worth several times the price of a "mutt".  At about $15 per dog, the AKC makes a lot of money from breeders, including those some would consider puppy mills, who register with the AKC.  People think they're helping the puppy by rescuing it from reckless breeders, But what they are really doing is perpetuating the female (mother) to a life of hell and torment.  Unfortunately, partially due to the AKC's stated mission, purpose, reputation, and what this means to the public, this registration is horribly misused and there are many reported and documented commercial "puppy mills" padding their wallets, at the expense of the AKC's reputation and detriment of the lives of the dogs that live their lives as "breeding machines" in horrible conditions.


 What does the AKC  not do?

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The AKC does not register or certify breeders. Anyone, who owns an AKC registered bitch and breeds it to an AKC registered dog, can register the litter with the AKC. The AKC does, however, reserve the right to suspend a breeder’s registration privileges, either temporarily or indefinitely. These suspensions are levied on breeders who do not maintain the accurate paperwork, falsify paperwork, refuse to allow the AKC to perform an inspection, or those that have been convicted in Court of animal cruelty or animal abuse.





 The AKC does not have any legal authority to take possession of dogs, prevent someone from breeding dogs, or take any legal action for a breeder’s failure to abide by their regulations. The only authority they have is to revoke a breeder’s registration privileges, meaning that dogs owned by that person are not eligible for registration with the AKC. The AKC will also impose fines and/or suspend individuals for improper conduct at sanctioned events.


 The AKC does not guarantee the accuracy of the information on a dog’s "blue slip". The breeder, on the honor system, supplies this information to the AKC. The AKC is currently using DNA testing during it’s inspections to verify the parentage of dogs on the premises, but this is only done on a very small percentage of breeders. Breeders can have a DNA profile performed on their dogs and have this information included in the AKC database, but this is not an AKC requirement.


The AKC does not guarantee the quality of any dog. When a dog is eligible for AKC registration, all that means is that the breeder is in good standing with the AKC and both the sire and the dam (as recorded by the breeder) are registered with the AKC. Blind dogs, deaf dogs, and dogs with physical deformities are every bit as eligible for registration as top show dogs.

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Final thoughts

This organization (and others) are dog registries. One big difference between  other pet registries and the AKC, is that pet registries have “voluntary compliance” with breeding standards. DNA testing is not required, so a breeder can mate a female with several males but list only one sire. In fact, the breeder can list any male dog, even if he was not mated to the female because there’s no proof required. Lax rules and lack of accountability can lead to poor quality dogs, congenital defects and dogs that are not in fact purebreds.


Many of the so-called “designer dogs” such as Labradoodles (Labrador/poodle crosses) and Puggles (Pug/Beagle crosses) can be registered with the pet registries. These dogs cannot be registered with the AKC because they are not purebred breeds.

Pet registries are referred to as “breeder friendly” because of the lack of accountability required. Hobby breeders, backyard breeders and puppy mills, use pet registries and sometimes register the same dog under different names with different registries.


Reputable breeders who truly care about breed standards and healthy dogs with good temperaments will register their dogs with the AKC. The AKC will not allow multiple registrations.


Unfortunately in the US most of the general public do not understand “papers”. CKC, APRI, AKC, UABR are all just kennel clubs in the US that have databases of purebred dog parents. You can take a dog with APRI registration papers and a 5 generation pedigree and ask AKC to register the dog. MOST of the time they will. As long as there are sufficient dogs in the pedigree that are already registered with AKC that they have record of already.


However, AKC is just another kennel club in the US, with a large database showing purebred dog parentage. A lot of breeders choose to use other kennel clubs for their dog papers because for one reason or another they get angry at AKC.


AKC is the best know kennel club in the US because they are the largest and have a huge marketing campaign. And it works……

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