The mission of AKC’s Government Relations (GR) Department is to protect the rights of all dog owners, promote responsible dog ownership, and ensure that laws governing dog ownership and breeding are reasonable, enforceable, and nondiscriminatory. Through our constituent-empowerment advocacy model, AKC-GR addresses issues at every level of government and across all 50 states. While most non-profit organizations focus their government relations efforts around one or two issues, AKC goes above-and-beyond by promoting 23 different position statements and addressing each bill that pertains to them. All of this results in a staggering amount of work. For instance, AKC-GR’s staff of five has addressed over 1,200 legislative proposals in 2010 alone, far more than it ever did in a previous year (with the number of issues it addresses annually expected to grow). It may be surprising to learn that AKC doesn’t charge for these services—that’s right, AKC-GR’s services are FREE. Instead, they are a value-added service that is funded exclusively through AKC registrations, which have been declining.
The key to AKC’s continued legislative influence rests upon increasing registrations. Over the past 10 years, the AKC has done extensive research regarding our registration business and ways in which to reverse the decline. Efforts such as increasing the value of registration; tangible benefits like pet insurance, the AKC New Puppy Handbook, bundling registration with CAR Lost & Found enrollment; and an outreach program created and marketed by Proctor & Gamble have all helped to a certain extent. We have worked with different marketing firms in efforts to develop user-friendly dog-registration applications that encourage new puppy buyers to register, and also improved communications and relationships with breeders. We continue to introduce new services like our new Online Litter Records, which help make your job as responsible dog breeders and owners who promote AKC registrations easier; and our new Breeder of Merit program which honors your dedication to your breed and the sport.
Overcoming the challenge of declining registrations is important not only to AKC’s Government Relations Department, but also to the other value-added services funded through registrations. Canine health research, disaster preparedness and relief efforts, promoting responsible dog ownership, and other important programs are all provided for by registration dollars.
As AKC continues to develop ideas to increase registrations, you can do your part by ensuring that 100% of the puppies you produce are registered with AKC. By working together, we will be able to take the necessary steps to ensure AKC’s long and healthy future as the nation’s preeminent purebred dog registry while continuing all the good works we provide for you and all responsible dog breeders are owners.
For more information on AKC’s latest registration options, go to www.akc.org/breedersworkshop.