American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club (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 Fédération Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Organization).
Dog registration 
The AKC is not the only registry of purebred dogs in the U.S., but it is the only non-profit registry and the one with which most Americans are familiar. Founded in 1884, the AKC is the largest purebred dog registry in the world. Along with its nearly 5,000 licensed and member clubs and affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion and works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. An example of dogs registered elsewhere in the U.S. is the National Greyhound Association which registers racing greyhounds (which are legally not considered "pets").
For a purebred 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. If the dog's parents are not registered with the AKC or the litter is not registered, an exception may be made if the AKC determines, through special registry research, that the dog is eligible for AKC registration. Once a determination of eligibility is met, either by litter application or registry research, the dog can be registered as purebred by the AKC.
2010 Most Popular Dogs in the U.S.:
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Golden Retriever
- Shih Tzu
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. 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 and health 
The AKC supports some canine health research, and has run advertising campaigns implying that the AKC is committed to healthy dogs, but the AKC's role in furthering dog health is controversial. Temple Grandin maintains that the AKC's standards only regulate physical appearance, not emotional or behavioral health. The AKC itself states that "There is a widely held belief that "AKC" or "AKC papers" guarantee the quality of a dog. This is not the case. AKC is a registry body. A registration certificate... in no way indicates the quality or state of health of the dog."
The AKC has no health standards for breeding; the only breeding restriction is age (a dog can be no younger than 8 months). Though the majority of the 170 breed-specific parent clubs have a health committee devoted to their breed's specific concerns, the AKC prohibits clubs from imposing stricter regulations since the AKC Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline apply to all breed clubs and do not provide an option for breed clubs to extend or override them. Thus, an AKC breed club cannot require a higher breeding age, hip dysplasia ratings, genetic tests for heritable diseases, or any other restrictions. Parent clubs have the power to define the looks of the breed, or breed standard and may also restrict participation in non-regular events or classes such as Futurities or Maturities to only those dogs meeting their defined criteria. These non-regular events can require health testing, DNA sampling, instinct/ability testing, and other outlined requirements as established by the hosting club.
In summary, attention to health among breeders is voluntary and not mandated. 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. 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. By comparison, the Swiss Bernese Mountain Dog Club introduced mandatory hip X-rays in 1971.
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. Concern surrounding the A.K.C.’s connections to low-quality breeders has resulted in some dog owners seeking to distance themselves from the organization. In October 2012, Hailey Parker, a longtime Coton de Tulear breeder, filed a lawsuit against the A.K.C. and cited the A.K.C.’s connections with high-volume breeders among the reasons. The Coton’s “reputation and business model is based on a disassociation from ‘puppy mills’ and similar commercial breeding operations,” according to the complaint.
The Club has also been criticized for courting large scale commercial breeders and for lax enforcement of breeding regulations. The AKC employs just 9 field inspectors and critics argue that its inspections are ineffective. For example, the owner of a Montana malamute kennel approved by AKC inpectors in 2008 and 2009 was sentenced to five years in prison for animal cruelty in operating that kennel. Similarly, an A.K.C. inspector found a North Carolina kennel “in compliance with A.K.C.’s Care Conditions Policy” three months before county officers raided the facility and found the dogs in “poor” condition, suffering from illnesses, injuries and living in “unhealthy conditions,” according to court documents. A veterinarian told the court that the rescued dogs had ailments that ranged “from serious to severe” and that “most of the injuries appeared to be chronic, having been in existence for a substantial period of time.”
Similarly, the Humane Society of the United States criticized the AKC for not taking a stand against puppy mills. According to the Humane Society's report, "over the past five years, AKC has opposed more than 80 different state bills and local ordinances designed to provide stronger protections for dogs in puppy mills".
The AKC does support several health research initiatives. The AKC Canine Health Foundation funded research that lead to the mapping of the canine genome (DNA sequence) with grants totaling more than $2 million. Sequencing of the dog genome began in June 2003, funded in large part by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and finished the completed sequence of the entire dog genome at MIT’s Broad Institute in 2005. Because people inherit many of the same diseases as dogs, humans can also benefit from health research funded for dogs.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the AKC Canine Health Foundation have established the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) to encourage health testing by breeders and provide breeders and researchers with information to improve breeding programs. More than 135 different breeds have specific health testing pre-requisites required by their parent breed club.
AKC Parent Clubs 
AKC Parent Clubs form the nucleus of the American Kennel Club community as the guardians of their respective breeds and keepers of the breed standards. Parent Club activities include:
Purebred Alternative Listing Program / Indefinite Listing Privilege Program 
The Purebred Alternative Listing Program (PAL), formerly 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 "alternatively" (formerly "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 unregisterable litter, or have unregisterable parents. Many dogs enrolled in the PAL and ILP programs were adopted from animal shelters or rescue groups, in which case the status of the dog's parents is unknown. Dogs enrolled in PAL/ILP may participate in AKC companion and performance activities, but not conformation. Enrollees of the program receive various 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 that were registered under the ILP program keep their original numbers.
AKC Canine Partners 
The Canine Partners program presents an opportunity for owners of mixed breed dogs, dogs not eligible for AKC registration, and dogs in breeds not accepted by AKC to compete and participate in AKC. Wolf hybrids and unfixed dogs are not able to join Canine Partners. Dogs registered in Canine Partners are able to compete in Agility, Obedience, and AKC Rally, and can achieve the same titles as purebred dogs, along with receiving various AKC benefits. Registration is available for $35.
AKC/Eukanuba National Championship 
The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship is an annual event held in both Orlando, 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. The show can often be seen on major television stations.
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. 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
- Companion events, in which all registered and PAL/ILP dogs can compete. These include:
- Performance events, which are limited to certain entrants; PAL/ILP dogs of the correct breed are usually eligible:
Recognized breeds 
As of December 5, 2012, the AKC fully recognizes 175 breeds with 15 additional breeds granted partial status in the Miscellaneous class. Another 60 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 January 2011):
- Sporting Group: 28 breeds developed as bird dogs. Includes Pointers, Retrievers, Setters, and Spaniels.
- Hound Group: 26 breeds developed to hunt using sight (sighthounds) or scent (scent hounds). Includes Greyhounds and Beagles.
- Working Group: 28 large breeds developed for a variety of jobs, including guarding property, guarding livestock, or pulling carts. Includes Siberian Huskies and Bernese Mountain Dogs.
- Terrier Group: 28 feisty breeds 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.
- Non-Sporting Group: 19 breeds that do not fit into any of the preceding categories, usually larger than Toy dogs. Includes Bichon Frises and Miniature Poodles.
- Herding Group: 25 breeds developed to herd livestock. Includes Rough Collies and Belgian Shepherds.
- Miscellaneous Class: 15 breeds 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: 60 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.
Another AKC affiliate is AKC Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR), the nation's largest not-for-profit pet identification and 24/7 recovery service provider. AKC CAR is a leading distributor of pet microchips in the U.S. and a participant in AAHA's free Pet Microchip Lookup tool.
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. They also combat most legislation to protect animals such as breed-limit restrictions and anti-puppy mill legislation. While they argue that their motive is to protect legitimate breeders and the industry, many argue their incentive is purely financial.
See also 
- Fifteen and Send Time
- John Emms (artist)
- List of dog breeds
- List of Kennel Clubs by Country
- United Kennel Club
- Michael D. Lemonick (2001-06-24). "A Terrible Beauty". Time. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
- Ngaregyhounds.com, Retrieved January 29, 2010
- American Kennel Club, Dog Registration FAQ, AKC.org, Accessed 8 June 2009.
- Grandin, Temple; Johnson, Catherine (2005). Animals in Translation. New York, New York: Scribner. p. 82. ISBN 0-7432-4769-8.
- "About Registration". American Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline
- Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline
- Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV) e.V.: Bekämpfung von HD + ED
- KBS - 2. Massnahmen
- "Safety Concerns Stoke Criticism of Kennel Club". New York Times.
- http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/report_akc_breeders.pdf ]
- Caninehealthinfo.org, Canine Health Information Center, CHIC Breeds. Accessed 16 March 2011.
- AKC Canine Partners
- "AKC/Eukanuba National Championship". Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
- Foundation Stock Service Program
- AKC Breeds by Group - Sporting Group
- AKC Breeds by Group - Hound Group
- AKC Breeds by Group - Working Group
- AKC Breeds by Group - Terrier Group
- AKC Breeds by Group - Toy Group
- AKC Breeds by Group - Non-Sporting Group
- AKC Breeds by Group - Herding Group
- AKC Breeds by Group - Miscellaneous Class
- American Kennel Club - List of FSS Breeds
- Official website
- The Politics of Dogs: Criticism of Policies of AKC The Atlantic, 1990
- Digging into the AKC: Taking cash for tainted dogs The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1995