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American Kennel Club facts for kids

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American Kennel Club
American Kennel Club Logo.svg
Abbreviation AKC
Formation 1884; 140 years ago (1884)
Type Kennel club
Headquarters New York City
Region served
United States
Official language

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. In addition to maintaining its pedigree registry, this kennel club also promotes and sanctions events for purebred dogs, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, an annual event which predates the official forming of the AKC, the National Dog Show and the AKC National Championship. The AKC is a non-member partner with the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. The AKC recognizes 200 dog breeds, as of 2022.


In the early 1800s, the English became concerned with the beauty of dogs as well as their function. This fad spread to North America, and in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show began. Soon after, the need for a regulating body became obvious. The National American Kennel Club, which had been founded in 1876, began to publish and make publicly available its studbook in 1879. This organization, however, had a more vested interest in field trials than in conformation shows, and eventually changed its name to the National Field Trial Association and stopped hosting conformation shows completely.

In 1884, a group of 13 breed clubs, 10 American clubs and three Canadian clubs founded the American Kennel Club. These 13 clubs pledged "to do everything to advance the study, breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of purity of thoroughbred dogs." The AKC differed from The Kennel Club in that individuals could not directly join the AKC; they became members of smaller, individual breed clubs, which were themselves members of the AKC. When arguments began to develop between the American and Canadian breed clubs in 1886, the Canadian clubs pulled out from the organization and established their own kennel club two years later, the Canadian Kennel Club.

In 1894, the American Kennel Club began to refuse to allow Canadian dogs without an American pedigree to participate in its shows, following the prevailing trends in American purebred cattle organizations. In 1906, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ruled that any dogs imported to America who were not registered with the AKC would have to pay a duty charge; this was later changed in 1911, allowing any dog registered with a kennel club in its home country duty-free entry into the country. Soon after the AKC, CKC, and KC produced agreements that made any dog eligible to be registered with the club in its home country, eligible for registration in the remaining two clubs as well. In 1909, the group moved to New York and became incorporated.

On July 1, 2012, the AKC began to recognize certain titles issued by the North American Flyball Association. These titles are Flyball Champion (FDCh), Flyball Master (FM), and the ONYX title.


Rottweiler Conformation Showing
Rottweiler breed competition at the Reliant Arena American Kennel Club World Series Dog Show July 23, 2006.

The AKC is the largest registry of purebred dogs in the U.S. and is the only not-for profit registry, as well as the most well-known and the most influential. For a purebred dog to be registered with the AKC, the dog's parents must be registered with the AKC as the same breed, and the litter in which the dog is born must be registered with the AKC. If the dog's parents are not registered with the AKC or the litter is not registered, an exception may be made if the AKC determines, through special registry research, that the dog is eligible for AKC registration. Once a determination of eligibility is met, either by litter application or registry research, the dog can be registered as purebred by the AKC. Registration indicates only that the dog's parents were registered as one recognized breed; it does not necessarily indicate that the dog comes from healthy or show-quality bloodlines, nor is registration necessarily a reflection on the quality of the breeder or how the puppy was raised.

Foundation Stock Service

The AKC's Foundation Stock Service is an optional breed registry service the club provides for new purebred dog breeds that have been introduced to the US and are yet to be recognized by the AKC.


PembrokeCorgiAgility wb
A Pembroke Welsh Corgi participating in dog agility. This particular dog is a multi-titled champion of agility, herding, and obedience.


The AKC sanctions events in which dogs and handlers can compete.

Conformation shows

In AKC conformation shows dogs compete in different classes based on breed and sex, with breeds divided into hound, terrier, working, herding, sporting, non-sporting, toy and miscellaneous groups. The AKC's premier conformation shows are the Westminster Dog Show and the AKC National Championship.

Dog agility

The AKC organises dog agility competitions open to all AKC registered dogs over 12-months age.

Obedience trials

The AKC organises obedience trials open to all AKC registered dogs over 6-months age.

Performance dog sports

The AKC organises a variety of field competitions they term performance dog sports, including herding and farm dog trials, scent work trials, earthdog trials, lure coursing trials and field trials for Bassets, Beagles, coonhounds, Dachshunds, pointing dogs, retrievers and spaniels.

Other programs

The AKC also offers the Canine Good Citizen program. This program tests dogs of any breed (including mixed breed) or type, registered or not, for basic behavior and temperament suitable for appearing in public and living at home.

Another AKC affiliate is AKC Reunite, formerly AKC Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR), founded in 1995, which is North America's largest not-for-profit pet ID and recovery service.

Another AKC affiliate is the AKC Humane Fund, which supports breed rescue activities, assists shelters that permit domestic violence victims to bring their pets and educates dog lovers about responsible dog ownership.

The AKC also provides titles for therapy dogs, after the dogs have been certified by AKC recognized therapy dog organizations and have performed a required number of visits.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: American Kennel Club para niños

  • List of dog breeds
  • List of kennel clubs
  • United Kennel Club
  • Dogs in the United States
  • Dogs portal
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