AKC Title Recognition Program

The AKC now works with a number of non-AKC service and sports organizations to recognize the titles that AKC-registered dogs earn in their programs. This includes the AKC Therapy Dog titling program, which is newly expanded to enable more dogs to earn this honor, and the AKC Search & Rescue title program. AKC also recognizes some titles of the Barn Hunt Association (BHA); North American Diving Dogs (NADD); and the North American Flyball Association (NAFA). For more information on how to apply for AKC recognition of these titles, go here.

Read on to meet some of the All-American Dogs who are recent achievers in these sports.

AKC Therapy Dog Title
There is exciting news for the AKC Therapy Dog Title program. AKC now offers more titles based on the amount of service that a therapy team has volunteered, giving more dogs the opportunity to earn the honor. Dogs also must be certified by an AKC-recognized therapy dog organization. The new titles are:

  • AKC Therapy Dog Novice (THDN). Must have completed 10 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog (THD). Must have completed 50 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA). Must have completed 100 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog Excellent (THDX). Must have completed 200 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD). Must have completed 400 visits.

We salute those All-Americans who are recipients of the THDD title for 400 or more visits!

Maya Belle THDD

Maya Belle THDD – Raymond Rauen – Livonia, MI
Since Maya Belle and Ray began volunteering at St. Mary Mercy Hospital nearly three years ago, they have comforted countless patients and their families, made numerous friends among staff, gained a following on Facebook (Maya Therapydog) and become frequent attendees at hospital events.

Maya Belle made hospital history when she became the only canine to earn the L.O.V.E. award in 2012. The honor recognizes employees or volunteers who are committed to the hospital’s core values of reverence, justice, stewardship, integrity and a commitment to the poor.

The hospital honored the pair again in 2014. It created the Bow WOW award specifically for Maya Belle after she received more than 18 nominations for the L.O.V.E. award while logging more than 2,600 volunteer hours over three years. 

“St. Mary is great about the flexibility we have. We can come in whenever we want and are allowed almost everywhere ... waiting rooms, patient rooms, ICU. People need it,” Ray said. “I’ve had doctors say, ‘Hey, can you stop by and see this little boy or that little girl? They’re crying. Can you distract them?’ Or we’ll get paged — ‘Maya the therapy dog to room so and so.’”
Ray describes the 5-year-old German Shepherd-Labrador Retriever mix as “mellow” with the perfect mix of personality, smarts and obedience for the job.

Ray and his wife, Shirley, found Maya Belle, then 5 months, at the Michigan Humane Society. She was shy and “looked so downtrodden,” Ray recalled. The couple took her home and Ray enrolled her in obedience training. An instructor told him she would make a good therapy dog, so Ray had her evaluated when she was 14 months old. She passed her tests and was registered through Therapy Dogs Inc.


Bruce THDD

Bruce THDD – Steven & Elizabeth Kesler – Tampa, FL
Six years ago Steve and Liz rescued Bruce, an abused, skinny, "scared of everything" dog who appeared to be damaged beyond repair. 

Five years later, the couple discovered the national ministry called Canines for Christ  and  “understood why God had gifted us with this incredible caring dog,” said Steve, who serves as a chaplain. “He has turned into a truly gifted messenger of love, just completing more than 800 visits to hospitals, nursing homes, special needs facilities, and the many facilities we visit.”
Bruce is believed to be a mix of Greyhound and German Shepherd and has a calmness and intelligence that make him immensely popular at the many venues he visits.

“His breed mix also gives him an athleticism and endurance that allowed us to make those visits in little more than one year,” Steve said. “Thanks to AKC for their Therapy Dog program and for giving us the opportunity to share.”

Amstel Thresher THDD

Amstel Thresher THDD – Alison Thresher – Port Chester, NY
Alison adopted Amstel from the North Shore Animal League in November 2004 at the age of 7 ½ weeks.
She received her therapy dog certification from the Good Dog Foundation in December 2007 and began her therapy work soon afterward.
Amstel has been visiting two facilities a week for her therapy sessions ever since. She resides with two feline siblings, her best friend, Stewart, and Khaleesi, who has one eye.

Barn Hunt Association

The BHA enables all dogs to participate in the sport of hunting for vermin. Dogs track rats safely enclosed in sturdy tubes that are hidden among hay bales. The titles range from Novice level to Champion to Champion Excellent. Go to www.barnhunt.com for more information.

Congratulations to All-American Dogs who recently received recognition of their BHA titles:

Duncan Macgregor RN AX AXJ RATCH

Barn Hunt Champion – RATCH

  • Whispering Winds Zuzu BN RN TD NA NAJ NF THD RATCH CGC – Bonnie & Charles Bird – Bellingham, WA
  • Duncan Macgregor RN AX AXJ RATCH – Paula King – Green Bay, WI

Senior Barn Hunt - RATS

  • Emmy Lue RA MXP3 MXPB XFP T2BP CAA RATS CGCA – Jennifer Baiocco – Orlando, FL

Open Barn Hunt – RATO

  • Harendza’s Lucy of German Village CD OAP NJP RATO – Heidi Harendza – Columbus, OH

Novice Barn Hunt – RATN

  • Berks Jackson NJP NFP RATN CGC – Jennifer Baiocco – Orlando, FL
  • Harendza’s Lucy of German Village CD OAP NJP RATO – Heidi Harendza – Columbus, OH

North America Diving Dogs

NADD offers titles in both distance dock jumping and air retrieve for all dogs. Dogs receive titles based on how far they jump and only compete in the same division with dogs that jump similar distances. For more information go to www.northamericadivingdogs.com.

Congratulations to All-American Dogs who recently received AKC recognition of their NADD titles:

Dock Junior (DJ) – 10’ – 14’11’’

  • Kokopelli DJ – Yolanta & Win Heger – Toquerville, UT

Dock Novice (DN) – 1’’ – 9’11’’

  • Rowdy Dog DN – P. Filomena Diaz Johnson – Rockville, UT
  • Kurtis of Kingfisher CAA DN CGC – Wade Shetler & Amy Maxfield – Clearwater, FL