How to Earn the Title: Qualifications

To earn the AKC Therapy Dog™ title, you and your dog must meet the following criteria:

  1. Certified/registered by an AKC recognized therapy dog organization.
  2. Perform a minimum of 50 visits.
  3. The dog must be registered or listed with AKC.

All dogs are eligible to earn the AKC Therapy Dog title, including purebreds and mixed breeds. To earn the AKC Therapy Dog title, dogs must be registered or listed with AKC and have a number in order to earn a title. This includes any one of these three options:

  1. AKC registration number – used by purebred dogs.
  2. Enrolled in AKC's PAL Program.
    • PAL is Purebred Alternative Listing. PAL (formerly called ILP) is a program that allows unregistered dogs of registerable breeds to compete in AKC Performance and Companion Events. PAL dogs include the many wonderful purebred dogs who may have come from shelters or rescue without AKC registration.
  3. Enrollment in AKC Canine Partners Program – used by mixed breed dogs.
    • A special Canine Partners enrollment form is available for mixed breed Therapy Dogs — AKC Therapy Dog Enrollment Application. This form must be submitted along with the Therapy Dog title application form.