AKC eNewsletter

Summer 2005

AKC Offers Cutting-Edge DNA Technology

By Tom Sharp, AKC Assistant Vice President of Compliance

Getting a cheek swab from your dog is quick and simple. Kerry Blue Terrier.
The AKC DNA Certification Program brings cutting-edge parentage testing technology to owners of AKC-registered dogs. A cheek swab brush is used to collect the DNA sample from the dog, and returned to the AKC. The sample is processed by AKC’s DNA service provider, and the resulting genotype is entered into the AKC DNA Database. The information is used to verify parentage of AKC dogs and for genetic identity purposes. This technology allows breeders, dog owners, and the AKC to ensure that the AKC Registry is the most accurate in the world.

The AKC has built the world’s largest database of canine DNA profiles for the purposes of parentage verification and genetic identity and offers the most comprehensive set of DNA programs for breeders and dog owners. Many breeders send DNA samples from their breeding stock to the AKC. The breeder receives an AKC DNA Certificate for each dog, and the dog’s DNA Profile Number is added to its registration record. Thereafter, puppy buyers see the DNA number on their pup’s registration papers and pedigree, and know they can DNA certify their pup to verify its parentage.

AKC inspectors have been collecting DNA samples from litters (and sire and dam) since 1998. The inspectors examine breeders’ record- keeping and identification practices, evaluate the care and conditions of dogs and kennels, and use DNA testing as an audit of the litter registrations. This program, run at AKC’s expense, ensures the integrity of the AKC registry.

In addition to voluntary participation in the DNA programs, there are some mandatory requirements. DNA Certification is required for Frequently Used Sires (FUS), dogs who sire seven or more litters in their lifetime or more than three in a calendar year. Approximately 45 percent of AKC litters are sired by FUS dogs, and this requirement has guaranteed that the DNA profile is on record with the AKC for those dogs who have the greatest impact on the registry.

DNA is also required for dogs whose semen is collected for fresh-extended (chilled) or frozen use. Certification is not required for artificial inseminations using fresh semen when both the dog and bitch are present. This requirement assures that DNA is on file when the semen is separated from the dog and shipped or stored. If questions were to arise in the future about whose semen was used to produce a litter, breeders can rest assured that the AKC has that dog’s DNA on file and the parentage can be verified.

Both the voluntary and mandatory DNA programs have met with great support from dog breeders and help to make the AKC registry the best all-breed registry in the world. Visit www.akc.org or call (919) 233-9767 to order a DNA testing kit.

  Ronald N. Rella, director, Breeder Services
Theresa Shea, editor | Email: AKCbreeder@akc.org | Joanne Beacon, designer
Customer Service | Phone: 919-233-9767 | Email: info@akc.org

© The American Kennel Club 2005