AKC Breeder

Summer 2005

Take a Few Minutes to Prevent an Identity Crisis

By Stacy Mason, AKC Investigations Executive Field Agent, longtime Italian Greyhound breeder and approved AKC conformation judge

Preparing a new litter for AKC registration is a simple process breeders can follow that, when done accurately and effectively, will ensure the integrity of their breeding programs in perpetuity. An effective record-keeping and identification system should be set up so anyone, whether an AKC inspector or an estate executor, could look at a breeder’s records and — without any help – correctly match each dog to its AKC papers and breeding history.

What if your records aren’t clear or accurate? Here’s a scenario to consider: What would happen to your dogs and/or your breeding program if you suddenly became sick or died? Occasionally the AKC may receive a call that goes something like this: My loved one is a breeder who can no longer take care of her dogs. How do I tell which dog is which? Does it matter which AKC paper goes with which dog? How do I know which puppy goes with which sire and dam?

Using different colored ribbons to identify similar-looking puppies can make record keeping easier. Labrador Retrievers.
Credit: Christine Weisse
Often the person taking over a breeder’s affairs doesn’t know which dog is which and may play multiple guess when matching dogs with AKC papers. If you buy a dog from someone you trust, but they got this very dog or its sire from the family that guessed at this dog’s identity, you’ve just bought or bred to a DNA mistake. Your entire breeding program could be ruined. Fortunately, you can prevent your program or someone else’s breeding program from being ruined by keeping the required AKC records.

“It takes about five minutes to set up a dog record,” said AKC Director of Inspections and Investigations Steve Robinson. “Accurate record keeping ensures the integrity of your breeding program and helps ensure that your dogs are eligible for AKC registration.”

“When puppies are born, have a 3-by-5-inch card ready for each puppy, and broken down the litter by sex, color, etc.,” Robinson said. “In the case where puppies look very similar to each other, you may want to use other identifiers, such as different colored ribbons to distinguish one puppy from another.”

Easy methods of keeping AKC records include putting records in a three-ring binder, file cabinet or file box. Many breeders find it helpful to tab each record and separate them by dog, sex and/or breed. If you own one or more dogs registered or registrable with the AKC that you breed, sell, transfer or give away, you must keep the following records complete, accurate and up-to-date for five years after the final disposition of each dog.

For each AKC-registered or -registrable dog you own or co-own, you must set up an Ownership/Breeding record for that dog that includes the following information. Recording this information on your ownership record and your AKC papers could protect and ensure your entire breeding program!

  • Breed
  • Registered name and number (or litter number if not registered)
  • Sex, color and markings
  • Date of birth
  • Names and AKC registration numbers of the dog’s sire and dam
  • Name of the dog’s breeder
  • Name and address of person from whom you got the dog (Put “raised” if you are the breeder of this dog)
  • Date you got this dog (If you raised this dog you may leave this area blank)
  • Should the dog be sold, given away or die, list the date this occurred (If the dog dies, it is helpful to write this across the AKC papers to prevent future DNA mistakes. Also move this record to another folder for your deceased dogs.)
  • Name and address of person to whom this dog is sold, given away or delivered
  • Kind of papers and date supplied
  • DNA profile number, if known
  • Dog identification tag number or description, tattoo or microchip number. (Be sure to identify dogs over six months of age with a collar tag, tattoo or microchip. The identification number must be recorded on the dog’s record. If the dog has a DNA Profile Number, this information should also be recorded.)

Set up the ownership record as soon as you acquire a new dog or decide to keep a puppy. The second part of this record is the breeding record. This part of the record must include:
  • Date and place of mating
  • Name(s) of person(s) handling the mating
  • Registered name and number of dog to which it was mated (must be recorded on both the sire’s and dam’s breeding record.)
  • Name and address of the owner of the dog with which your dog was mated. (Additional information or notes may be added in this section, i.e., number of puppies, and any health issues of the resulting litter.)

When any AKC-registrable litter arrives, you must make a “Puppy Card” for the litter. This record must include:
  • Sire and dam of the litter
  • Date of birth
  • Number of male and female puppies. (If a puppy is sold or dies, mark it off the puppy card.)

This record must stay with the litter until they are all sold or individually identified. When your puppies leave home, you must completely and accurately fill in all sections of the Litter Record. You receive this record with your AKC dog’s registration application (puppy papers). This record must include:
  • New owner’s full name, address, and telephone number. (This information can be especially helpful if you need to follow up on any future health, genetic or DNA issues.)
  • Date puppy was sold and type of papers given
  • The dog’s sex, color and marking. Be sure to note the correct corresponding puppy number with the proper litter paper.
The AKC offers an easy-to-use, step-by-step guide called A User’s Guide to the AKC Rules for Record Keeping and Identification (part number PRWKBK). This booklet clearly explains the rules for dog owners, breeders – anyone who owns one or more dogs that they breed, sell, transfer or give away. Contact AKC Customer Service (919) 233-9767, info@akc.org, to order a copy of the booklet or reference the rules and regulations and applicable forms on the AKC web site.

  Ronald N. Rella, director, Breeder Services
Theresa Shea, editor | Email: AKCbreeder@akc.org | Joanne Beacon, designer
Customer Service | Phone: 919-233-9767 | Email: info@akc.org

© The American Kennel Club 2005