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Investigations and Inspections

AKC works to Preserve the Welfare of Purebred Dogs and the Integrity of the Registry

The American Kennel Club does a great deal more than register dogs. The AKC is the only purebred dog registry in the United States that maintains a systematic and sustained investigation and inspection effort to ensure compliance with standards that support the health, safety and welfare of dogs and the environment in which they are maintained.

The AKC Investigations and Inspections Department routinely conducts inspections of breeders that use the AKC registry. Any AKC customer (breeder, retail pet shop, or broker) that breeds 7 or more litters per year or has 25 or more registration transactions per year is added to the list for inspection. Inspections are also scheduled based on written complaints.

The fourteen Executive Field Staff inspectors perform approximately 4000 inspections annually, and the goal is to significantly increase these numbers. During inspections, the inspector assists the customer in understanding the rules and regulations regarding record keeping, identification, and maintaining proper care and conditions of their dogs and kennel. In addition, the inspectors collect DNA samples to verify the parentage of AKC registrable litters.

Deficiencies in the health and welfare of the dogs or the environment they live in, or problems with record keeping and identification, or incorrect parentage of litters discovered through DNA testing result in a graduated array of penalties and fines, from letters of reprimand to ten-year suspensions coupled with $2,000 fines. Investigators also work with local authorities to assure proper care of dogs. Fines and suspensions are published monthly in the AKC Gazette and on the AKC website. Any person convicted of animal cruelty involving dogs is suspended from all AKC privileges and their name is also published in the Gazette. The Field Staff tries to educate AKC customers to improve compliance, but AKC privileges are revoked when the deficiencies are serious. Customers who have major deficiencies can pay a fee to be reinspected so they can keep their registry privileges if they have corrected the problems and can pass reinspection.

The AKC's active role through its Inspections and Investigations Department is helping to improve and ensure the welfare of our wonderful breeds.