AKC Titles: Your Dog May Already be a Winner

The AKC broadened the field to include an eclectic lineup of new titles, of both the competitive and service-oriented kind. Never before have so many activities been recognized with AKC titles.

Canine Good Citizen

AKC Canine Good Citizen is certainly nothing new. Since 1989, more than 600,000 dogs have passed the 10-step test of canine social skills. Owners of Canine Good Citizens have the option of adding the CGC suffix title to their dog’s official name and including it on their dog’s title record. (Previously, CGC was considered an award, not a title.)
If your dog has passed the CGC test anytime since 2001, he’s already fully eligible. 

 Wilderness Search and Rescue

The SAR-W title acknowledges the work of wilderness search-and-rescue dogs (dogs who use air-scenting or tracking abilities to locate missing persons in a non-urban setting).
To be eligible for the SAR-W, a dog must have been deployed on at least five missions, be certified by an AKC-recognized organization, and have an AKC number. The handler is required to submit the dog’s SAR certification document and show proof of the dog’s deployments.    


Flyball races match two teams of four dogs each, racing side-by-side over a 51-foot-long course with jumps. Each dog must run in relay fashion over the jumps, trigger a flyball box that releases a tennis ball, take the ball in his mouth, and return over the jumps. The first team to have all four dogs finish the course without error wins the heat. Flyball isn’t an AKC event —that is, the AKC is not the sport’s sanctioning and  regulatory body. That’s the job of the North American Flyball Association (NAFA). But the AKC has recognized three NAFA titles: Champion (FDCh), Flyball Master (FM), and the ONYX title. Owners may apply to have these titles recorded on their dogs’ AKC records, and the flyball titles then will be displayed on pedigrees and other AKC documents. The AKC records NAFA titles earned back to January 1, 2000.  

Therapy Dog

The AKC Therapy Dog (THD) title is offered to dogs who have been certified by AKC-recognized therapy-dog organizations and have performed 50 or more visits.  

Barn Hunt 

The activity called “barn hunt” is based on the skills historically used by rat catchers who traveled the countryside ridding farms of vermin. Dogs and handlers work as a team to locate and mark rats (in safe and aerated tubes) hidden in a maze of straw or hay bales. Dog-and-handler teams earn legs toward barn-hunt titles by completing the course within maximum course time.
Barn-hunt events include a pass/fail Instinct class for owners who want to familiarize their dog with the test. The AKC recognizes BHA titles at four testing levels above Instinct. If owners choose to apply, barn-hunt titles will appear on their dog’s official AKC record.   .