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American Kennel Club


The American Kennel Club, founded in 1884, is the largest purebred dog registry in the U.S.A. Currently it recognises 154 breeds in its main registry. In 2005 it registered 920,804 individual dogs (and 421,128 litters), down from 958,641 in 2004. A.K.C. has been largely a dog show organisation from the outset, although it also keeps records and provides rules for obedience trials and field trials.

A.K.C.'s Foundation Stock Service, providing pedigree record keeping services for breeds not in the Club's main registry, has grown startlingly since its inception, now recognising 52 minority and foreign breeds. A.K.C. insists that it is not a registry although it keeps the same kind of records to the same standard as the main registry. It encourages breeds to progress into the A.K.C. Miscellaneous Class and thence eventually into the main registry. F.S.S. has acquired a dubious ethical reputation. Breeders, breed clubs and small one-breed registry organisations claim that A.K.C. is only too willing to recognise splinter groups of dissidents and thus to bring breeds into F.S.S. against the will of the majority.

Critics of A.K.C. have become more numerous, vocal and insistent recently. They claim that the organisation caters to and favours puppy-mill breeders, that its lax administration of its registry lends itself to pedigree fraud, that although it receives a tax exemption it has never had an outside audit, and that basically the Club is in the business of selling meaningless pieces of paper. Certainly its "Breeders' Classifieds" pages warn that the Club "makes no warranty or guarantee as to the health, quality, parentage or any value of any dogs" and thus will not warrant its own pedigrees and registrations. Breeders of working or utilitarian dog breeds assert that the Club's standards and stud books are structured so that they do considerable harm to working breeds.

In recent years A.K.C. registrations are in a downward trend and the increase in dissident or alternative registries has been very visible. It may be that this umbrella "all-breed" registry is in a serious decline.



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