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Veterinary Community Frequently Asked Questions

Bone Up

  • How does the AKC regulate and control its registry?

    The AKC is a not-for-profit organization established in 1884 to maintain a purebred dog registry, sanction dog events and promote responsible dog ownership. There is a widely held belief that "AKC" or "AKC papers" and quality are one and the same. This is not the case.

    The AKC is a registry body. AKC does not breed or sell dogs, it cannot guarantee the quality or health of dogs in its registry. A registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam born on a known date. The owners of registered dogs have access to numerous educational and informational services provided by AKC, as well as to various competitive events.

    When you buy a dog represented as AKC registered, you should receive an AKC dog Registration Application form properly filled out by the seller. When you complete your portion and submit it with the proper fee, this form will enable you to register the dog. When the application has been processed, you will receive an AKC Registration Certificate. AKC reserves the right to refuse or to rescind the registration of any dog for cause. The integrity of the AKC registry is the backbone of our organization. Benefits of registering with the AKC

  • How does the AKC use DNA?

    The AKC offers a comprehensive set of voluntary and mandatory programs to ensure the integrity of the AKC Registry: Voluntary DNA Certification; the Frequently Used Sires requirement; the Fresh-Extended/Frozen Semen requirement; the Multiple-Sired Litter Registration Policy; and the Kennel Inspections/Compliance Audit Program. The AKC has built the world's largest database of canine DNA profiles for parentage verification and genetic identity purposes.

    The Compliance Audit Program enters its fifth year showing marked improvement in the percentage of litters that are included from large commercial kennels. In the first year of the program, less that 90% of the litters tested were registered with the correct parentage. Today, that number is up to 93.5%, and after correcting litters, 95.6%. This program has had a real, measurable impact on the breeding practices in the large commercial kennels inspected on a regular basis by AKC Inspectors.

    The DNA Profile Program involves AKC customers collecting and submitting DNA samples to the AKC, whether on a voluntary or compulsory basis. The cost is $40 per sample, and the customer receives an AKC DNA Letter of Analysis for each dog, including the dog's actual genotype. Also, the dog's DNA Profile Number is added to the registration record, appearing on registration certificates and pedigrees.

    The Frequently Used Sires requirement: AKC DNA Certification is required for dogs that sire seven or more litters in a lifetime, or more than three in the calendar year. This guarantees that dogs having the greatest impact on the AKC Stud Book will have DNA profiles on record with the AKC.

    Frozen and Chilled Semen DNA Requirements: AKC DNA Certification is required for dogs whose semen is collected for fresh-extended or frozen use (semen that is shipped or stored) after October 1, 1998.

    Multiple-Sired Litter Registration: Litters with more than one sire that are whelped after September 1, 1998 are eligible for AKC registration provided that AKC DNA Certifications are submitted for the sires, dam, and all puppies. DNA testing is powerful enough to determine parentage even when the sires are related or are littermates. In some instances, particularly with line bred dogs, additional testing may be necessary to determine the sire. This additional testing is done at the owner’s expense.

    The AKC's DNA programs are being used to ensure the integrity of the AKC Stud Book in ways inconceivable five or ten years ago. They guarantee that ‘AKC Registered’ carries the highest level of trust and prestige.

  • What value do AKC registrations have?

    A registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam born on a known date and ensuring its addition to its family tree. The registration certificate documents your dog’s identity, providing recognition and official documentation of your dog’s place in breed history. The owners of registered dogs have access to numerous educational and informational services provided by AKC, as well as to various competitive events.

  • When you buy a dog represented as AKC registered, you should receive an AKC dog Registration Application form properly filled out by the seller. When you complete your portion and submit it with the proper fee, this form will enable you to register the dog. When the application has been processed, you will receive an AKC Registration Certificate. AKC reserves the right to refuse or to rescind the registration of any dog for cause. The integrity of the AKC registry is the backbone of our organization.

  • Why doesn't the AKC do more to stop puppy mills?

    The American Kennel Club believes that breeding programs should be undertaken responsibly for the purpose of preserving breed characteristics and producing healthy, well-socialized puppies. Responsible breeders are expected to give careful consideration to health issues, temperament, and genetic screening, as well as to the individual care and placement of puppies in responsible homes. AKC supports and promotes these and other responsible breeding practices through breeders' education programs, and commends those who offer similar guidance.

    The AKC strongly opposes the breeding of dogs by those who do so without regard for the dogs’ welfare. We support scrupulous enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and state and local regulations governing the humane care of animals. We further believe that USDA and other enforcement agencies should be given appropriate resources to ensure that regulations are met.

    In addition, the AKC Investigations and Inspections department conducts more than 4,000 kennel inspections each year. When AKC inspectors find kennels that do not meet our minimum care and conditions requirements, they educate and encourage those breeders to raise their standards or face suspension of their AKC registration privileges. Proper authorities are also alerted to any cases of animal neglect.

  • Purebred versus Mixed bred dogs?

    For thousands of years man has bred dogs with desired characteristics, abilities and instincts. Purebred dogs are an enhancement of these breeding programs and the offspring are predictable in appearance, temperament and instinct. Purebred dogs are true to type when mated.

    Neither the appearance nor the genetic characteristics of mixed-bred dogs are predictable or self-perpetuating. The choice of a purebred dog permits the prospective dog owner to select the desired size, appearance, disposition and instincts with assurance that a puppy purchased from a responsible breeder will possess those defined characteristics. The belief that mixed bred or mongrel dogs are more vigorous, healthy, or well adjusted than properly bred purebred dogs is a myth.

  • Spaying and Neutering?

    The American Kennel Club encourages pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs as a responsible means to prevent an accidental breeding resulting in unwanted puppies. The American Kennel Club encourages breeders to discuss spaying and neutering options with puppy buyers who do not wish to participate in conformation events.

    The AKC welcomes spayed and neutered dogs to participate in all phases of obedience, tracking, herding, lure coursing, earthdog, agility, Canine Good Citizenship Test and Junior Showmanship, as well as most field work.