AKC Foundation Stock Service:
From Rare to Recognized
Mari-Beth O'Neill, Assistant Vice President of Special Services, answers your most frequently asked questions about the AKC rare-breed listing service.
What is the Foundation Stock Service®?
Just that: a service, provided to those committed to the advancement of purebred dogs. It’s a listing program that ensures an organized progression for breeders and owners bringing new breeds into the AKC.
Cane Corso/ Diane Lewis for AKC
The Cane Corso, a breed of Italian origin, has been listed with FSS since 1996. Cane Corsos are now eligible to compete in AKC Companion events.
Launched in October 1995, FSS has provided both opportunity and challenges to breeders and owners. It is, without question, a premier example of the commitment shared by the AKC and individuals pursuing the establishment and improvement of rare breeds.
FSS lets fanciers ensure their rare breed’s advancement. Experienced AKC experts maintain the pedigree and ownership records, and counsel clubs on the FSS process. AKC staff also assists breed representatives with the progression toward the ultimate goal of full AKC recognition.
The program’s track record is well documented. Among breeds most recently achieving full AKC recognition through FSS are the Glen of Imaal Terrier, Plott, Tibetan Mastiff, Swedish Vallhund, and Beauceron.
How does a club get started with FSS?
The AKC considers adding new breeds to FSS or its registry only upon request. Those wishing to pursue recording with FSS should contact the AKC.
A breed club or individual will need to:
- Complete an AKC questionnaire for new breeds.
- Provide a written breed history documenting the distinct breed over a period of many decades. The source of the historical information also must be provided.
- Provide an official written breed standard, indicating the origin of that standard. If the standard differs from the official breed standard in the breed’s country of origin, you must specify those differences.
- Provide photographs of the breed, including puppies and adults, as well as both dogs and bitches. If there are different accepted types in the breed, photographs of each type should be included and labeled as such.
The integrity of a breed is only as sound as the recordkeeping of the breeders. This is one of the most serious concerns for any breed and an essential element in the establishment of a breed with FSS.
Organizations and individuals dedicated to the promotion of a rare breed have often maintained breeding records, pedigrees, and ownership records for many generations, creating a registry for their breed before seeking admittance to FSS. In some cases a registry may submit all their records for FSS acceptance, but it’s equally acceptable for applications to be submitted for individual dogs.
How does the AKC define a rare breed?
When you consider FSS for your breed, please note the service is not open to “rare breeds” that are a variation of an AKC-registrable breed or the result of a combination of two AKC-recognized breeds. This includes, but is not limited to, differences such as size (over and under), coat type, coat colors, and coat colors and/or types that are disqualifications from conformation events by AKC breed standards.
The breed must be recognized by an acceptable foreign or domestic registry.
Our breed is FSS listed. What’s the next step toward full AKC registration?
Once a breed is accepted for FSS listing, advancement in the program requires that a breed club meet certain criteria. You will be required to do the following.
- Form a strong national breed club and encourage fanciers nationwide to join and get involved. A national breed club with representative membership of about 100 active households is expected for a breed to be placed in the Miscellaneous class. The amount of active households can vary, depending on the number of dogs recorded in FSS.
- Form active committees such as a rescue committee or a health committee, put on shows, and publish a quarterly newsletter. Appointing a committed AKC liaison is an integral part of any breed club seeking recognition, and keeping the AKC updated on club activities provides documentation of the fanciers’ dedication to full AKC recognition. Current officer and membership lists must be on file with the AKC.
- Encourage other fanciers to record their dogs with FSS. When 150 dogs are accepted for recording, eligibility to compete in companion and performance events may be granted. A minimum 300–400 dogs with complete three-generation pedigrees, owned by many different individuals residing in various parts of the country, must be recorded as part of the criteria for approval to move to the Miscellaneous class.
The more dogs recorded with FSS, the more committed the AKC believes the fanciers are to achieving full recognition. If the national club has not submitted its breed registry for FSS entry, it is required to do so when moving to the Miscellaneous class.
- Stay in contact. The AKC moves forward with recognition of breeds whose fanciers want the breed to be recognized. Maintaining regular contact with FSS staff will show your enthusiasm for and commitment to AKC recognition.
Valuable assets in meeting the above requirements are the communication and guidance a club receives from AKC staff.
When do our dogs get to compete in AKC events?
As breeds become increasingly established in the FSS, fanciers gain the opportunity to participate in AKC events. Eligibility to compete in companion events-obedience, agility, rally, and tracking-is granted first. Breed clubs may also seek eligibility for participation in performance events. Ultimately possible is conformation competition in the Miscellaneous class.
Breeds remain in the Miscellaneous class one to three years and are evaluated at the end of each year. When clubs meet all criteria, staff presents the information to the AKC Board for approval of full recognition and show-ring eligibility.
Send further questions to Mari-Beth O’Neill at FSS@akc.org or AKC Special Services, 5580 Centerview Dr., Raleigh, NC 27606.