What is the purpose of dog shows?
For each breed the AKC registers, there is a breed standard which is a word description of the perfect dog of that breed. Standards describe the mental and physical characteristics that allow each breed to perform the function for which they were originated. The standard describes the dog's looks, movement and temperament. Breeders involved with each breed are attempting to produce a dog that most closely conforms to the breed standard. In this respect, dog shows are not unlike cat shows, bird shows, cattle shows, horse shows, etc. In fact, for almost every species bred by man there are competitions among breeders. AKC approved judges examine the dogs and place them in accordance to how close each dog compares with their mental image of the "perfect" dog as described in the breed's official standard.
What is BBE?
Beginning May 1st, 1996, the AKC began awarding special medallions to breeder-owners who place championships on their dogs and to members of the fancy who have made a long-term contribution to the sport of purebred dogs.
A medallion will be awarded automatically to the breeder-owner of each dog that becomes a champion, when all points were accumulated as a result of participation in the Bred-by-Exhibitor class; and the breeder-owner of each dog that becomes a field, amateur field, herding, lure coursing or obedience trial champion, when all points were accumulated with the dog owned or co-owned by the breeder of record. Only one medallion will be awarded for either a field or amateur field championship, but not for both.
Can dogs be registered as the color white when white is considered a disqualification according to the breed standard?
Solid white dogs may be registered with no restrictions, but in some breeds they may not be shown in a conformation event.
Decisions about acceptable colors are made by the
national breed clubs
for each of the respective breeds. You may want to contact them if you would like additional information.
In addition to color information in the breed standards related to showing, the national breed clubs also determine what colors may be used in the registration of their breed. While some colors may be disqualifications within the breed standard, dogs of a disqualifiable color may still be registered. However, AKC may ask for color pictures of the dogs prior to registration. For example, in the case of Miniature Schnauzers, dogs will not be registered as white unless pictures are submitted with the Registration Application. Two 3 x 5 color photographs (close up front view and standing side view) must be submitted or the application will be rejected. Anytime that color questions arise and pictures are submitted, they should be sent to:
American Kennel Club
Attn: Special Services Color Committee
PO Box 900059
Raleigh, NC 27675-9059
Please allow about three to four weeks for processing.
How does the AKC decide what is right or wrong about any individual breed? Who makes the decision?
The official standard for each breed is a written description of the correct characteristics for that breed.
The standards originate with the national parent clubs for the respective breeds. Any changes or revisions to the standards must also originate with the parent club.
To find the standard, look on our web site under "Breeds" and then under "By Name". This will link you to the standard for the breed. If you have a specific question or concern about any element of the standard, you can contact the appropriate
national parent club
If you have seen an incorrect listing of an award on a superintendent's website, please understand that it may take up to 3 weeks from the date of the event for the official AKC records to be processed. At this time please contact the Special Services Department at
They will check the judge's book and do any necessary investigating to confirm the claim. They may need you to send them a copy of the ribbon and/or a photo of the win, if available.
Title Certificates, Timing of Arrival
My dog just attained his title. When should I expect to receive his title certificate?
It takes about three weeks for show and trial results to be entered into the computer system here. Once the requirements are met for a title, the computer recognizes that automatically and creates the certificate. The certificates are then mailed by third class mail, which can take as long as three weeks. So, title certificates should be to the owner within about six weeks of the date the dog finished the requirements.
If you do not receive the title within this time frame, you might want to verify the mailing address that is on your dog's record. Third class mail is not forwarded, nor is it returned to AKC. If there is an address problem, we can correct it and re-send the certificate.
Can my dog with Conditional Registration compete in AKC events?
Dogs with Conditional Registration have some unknown ancestors. They are eligible to compete in the same events as dogs with a Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege (see below). They may not compete in Conformation shows.
Read more about Conditional Registration here
I am interested in contacting an AKC club. How do I find information?
You can find a complete list of all AKC-affiliated clubs on our
. Each club listing refers to a contact person for that organization. For information about the club, this is the person you would need to contact. The list is broken down into several different categories.
Can I show my imported dog using its foreign registration number?
The AKC Rules Applying to Dog Shows (Chapter 11, Section 1) allow you to show in AKC events using a dog's foreign registration number if that registration is with an acceptable foreign registry. Please note that dog cannot be shown on a foreign litter number. The dog must be individually registered with the foreign registry.
The dog may compete for thirty days beginning with the first day of exhibit. When completing an Official AKC Entry Form for an event, the dog's foreign registration number should be recorded in the appropriate space on the form indicating the country of origin.
After thirty days, either one of these two things must happen for the dog to be shown:
The AKC registration must be recorded and the dog must be shown using its individual AKC registration number, or
You must have been granted an extension to continue showing with the foreign number. Requests for extensions must be in writing (by mail, fax, or email) and must have been granted prior to the event.
The "Request for Extension" form with a letter of notification is automatically sent out after the first time that you show a dog on a non-AKC registration number in an AKC event. This form can be mailed to the address on the form or faxed to 919-816-4220. Requests must also include a copy of the dog's foreign registration. The actual request form is not needed for an extension request. A written request can also be mailed to AKC, Attn: Show Operations, 8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27617-3390, or faxed to 919-816-4220. On the request, the dog's foreign number, name, and breed must be listed along with the owner's name, address, and phone number. The request must also include a brief explanation for the delay in registration and a copy of the dog's foreign registration.
There is a Non-Refundable fee of $50.00 for a 90 days extension. If your extension request is granted, you will be sent a letter of confirmation by regular mail within 7 to 10 days. This letter will tell you the length of the extension. You will be able to show your dog under the foreign number for the duration of the extension.
To register a foreign-registered dog with the AKC, you need to obtain the AKC Foreign Registration Application form. The form can be downloaded from our web site. Complete instructions are on the form.
For general information about extensions, you can contact our Special Services Department at
. If you have questions related to foreign registration you can address those to
Extension, Unregistered Dog, AKC Litter Number
Can I show my dog using its litter registration number?
The AKC Rules Applying to Dog Shows (Chapter 11, Section 1) No dog shall be exhibited in a licensed or member dog show, unless it is either individually registered in the AKC Stud Book, or individually registered with a foreign registry organization whose pedigrees are acceptable for AKC registration. A dog with an AKC limited Registration shall be ineligible to be entered in a breed competition in a licensed or member dog show. An unregistered dog with an acceptable foreign after thirty days, either one of these two things must happen for the dog to be shown:
As of January 1, 2010 a dog from an AKC registered litter must be registered as of the day of the show. A dog can no longer be shown on its litter number.
The "Request for Extension" form with a letter of notification is automatically sent out after the first time that you show a dog on a foreign number in an AKC event. This form can be mailed to the address on the form or faxed to 919-816-4220.
The actual request form is not needed for an extension request. A written request can also be mailed to AKC, Attn: Show Operations, 8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27617-3390, or faxed to 919-816-4220.
There is a Non-Refundable fee of $50.00 for a 90 days extension. If your extension request is granted, you will be sent a letter of confirmation by regular mail within 7 to 10 days. This letter will tell you the length of the extension. You will be able to show your dog under the litter number for the duration of the extension.
Please note that dogs cannot be shown under a foreign litter number.
For general information about extensions, you can contact our Special Services Department at
. If you have questions related to general registration you can address those to
How do I find out information about AKC judges?
You can search for AKC judges and foreign judges approved to judge an AKC show on our
To use this search, you will need to enter as much information as you have about the judge that you wish to locate. If you have the judge's number, that is the only field you need to enter. You can also enter the name or state if you have that. If you do not have the name or number, or if you are looking for multiple judges, you should use the advanced search. Just click on the link near the bottom for the type of event for which you need to locate a judge.
If you need assistance with any of the searches, for a definition of related terminology or if you have other event-specific questions, you can obtain additional information by contacting the following departments:
Are there any special competitions for young people who want to show their dogs?
Junior Showmanship offers young people the opportunity to compete with others of their own age in various AKC events--from Junior Showmanship classes (where they are judged on how they present their dog) to training and exhibiting their dogs in Obedience, Agility and the many Performance events. Junior classes were developed to recognize and support the unique relationship between a young person and a dog, to encourage responsible dog ownership, and to secure a place for these youngsters in the fancy today and in the future, as they become adults. The Board of Director's of the American Kennel Club established a National Junior Organization in January, 1997, to further encourage the involvement of juniors in AKC events.
AKC is also proud to offer a Junior Scholarship program. The criteria for awarding the scholarships include the following:
- applicant's need;
- applicant's academic achievement; and
- applicant's involvement in the fancy.
Each applicant is required to submit current school transcripts, an essay including a description of his or her experiences and interests in purebred dogs, and an explanation of how the individual's perceives his or her future role in the fancy.
There is a newsletter for Junior Handlers, faqs, and many other topics for Junior Handlers on our
To compete in Junior Showmanship, the young handlers must have their own
Junior Showmanship number
If you have other questions, or need more specific information, you may contact the Junior Showmanship department in our Raleigh, NC, office via email at
Mailing Lists for Dog Shows
How can I get on the mailing list for information about upcoming dog shows?
We do not prepare or maintain mailing lists for future show notification. The publications that include the information about upcoming events and contain entry forms are called premium lists. Either the AKC-licensed show superintendents or the show secretary for the event distributes premium lists. You should contact them and they can add your name to their mailing list for your area. You can find an updated list of all the Superintendents and their contact information on our
You should be sure to get on the lists for MB-F, Inc, and for Onofrio, because they do many shows across the country. In addition, you should check for any other super that is near the areas where you might show.
You can also get information about both upcoming events and results from past events on our
Point Schedule, Calculations for the New Year
How does the AKC determine the dog and bitch counts necessary for attaining certain sets of points for the different divisions each year?
Divisions are normally a grouping of adjacent states that share the same schedule of points. However, HI, AK, and PR (because of their geographic isolation) are of a single state or territory.
The calculations only take into account the number of dogs that actually competed (not those that were entered, but marked absent) during the previous year.
In each division, except AK, HI, and PR, the schedule is set according to the following formula, considering the dogs in regular class competition for the previous year.
One point-95% of the shows where there was competition carry one or more points for dogs and bitches.
Two Points-set at half the difference between the one and three point breaks.
Three Points-As close as possible to 18%, but should not exceed 20%, of the shows in a division are to carry major points (3, 4, or 5) for both dogs and bitches. Majors created by Best of Winners, Best of Breed and Best of Opposite are not counted in this calculation and are in effect bonus majors over and above the 18%.
Four Points-Set at 2/3 of the difference between the three and five point breaks.
Five points-As close as possible to 2% of the shows are to carry 5 points for both dogs and bitches.
Independent Parent Club specialties or Designated Parent Club specialties held in conjunction with an All Breed are not counted. Independent Local Specialties and Designated Local Specialties with All Breed shows are included in the computations. Additionally, events held in conjunction with the AKC Eukanuba National Championship Show (
3 days) are not included.
Because there are so few shows in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, we calculate the schedule of points per the above formula, and then adjust to assure a fair and equitable distribution of points that result in similar distribution as the divisions within continental United States.
Points, Legs — Title Progression Online
How can I find out how many points/legs my dog has acquired toward his title?
Title progress information is available for free in our Online Store. On the home page, highlight "Shop AKC". This will cause a drop down box to appear. One of the choices on the menu will be "Enter Store". Click on it. Click on "Log In" at the bottom of the screen. Sign in to your account (or create an account if you don't already have one).
Once your are signed in you will have several options. Click on "Dog Reports". Click on "Awards Record". Find your dog under dog search. Scroll down this page and you will see "View a Summary of the Title Progression for this Dog". This will cause a box to open that will give you information about any progress your dog has made toward any title.
If you want to see a complete breakdown of your dog's placements, you can order the Awards Record for $8. This will give you a record of every event where your dog got any kind of ribbon. It will show you the date, event, judge, class, placement, and points or legs.
Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege
Can my purebred dog compete in AKC events without being AKC registered? What is a Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege?
The Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege Program (PAL/ILP) is designed to allow dogs that are ineligible for registration, but are distinguishable as a member of an AKC registrable breed, to participate in many AKC Companion and Performance Events. Once enrolled in the PAL/ILP program, entering AKC events is as easy as with a registered dog. The only difference is that instead of an AKC registration number, you would list the dog's PAL/ILP number on the Entry form.
Applying for this program is a simple process. Applications for enrollment into the Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege program can be downloaded from our
. If you are not able to download the application, you can e-mail
to request an application be mailed to you. When requesting a form via email please include your name and current mailing address.
Enrollment in the Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege program is not to be construed as an alternative form of registration, but rather, as a listing so that dog who are ineligible for AKC registration may participate in AKC Companion and Performance Events. However, a PAL/ILP may be cancelled for cause.
Over 2000 dogs in this innovative and fast-growing AKC program were granted PAL/ILP numbers in the year 2001, and the American Kennel Club awarded over 2000 AKC titles to PAL/ILP dogs in that same year. Enrollment in the PAL/ILP program is easy and the benefits for you and your dog are endless.
For more information or questions about the PAL/ILP program contact
. You can also find additional information on our
Schedule for Dog Show
There is a dog show coming up in my area. How do I find out about the schedule for the show?
You can get basic information about upcoming events on our
If you have specific questions about the schedule for the event, you would need to contact the event secretary or superintendent who can help you with the specific details about the schedule. You can find an updated list of all the Superintendents and their contact information on our
The larger superintendents have web sites where you can look at the actual schedules for the events. If the schedule is not on the superintendent's site, you can usually get the information by calling their office.
Surgery, Allowable Procedures, Health Reasons
For a dog that is competing in Conformation or Obedience, what health-related surgical procedures are allowed?
Any procedure undertaken strictly to restore the health of a dog would not in itself affect a dog's show eligibility. Such procedures would include but not be limited to:
The repair of broken legs, even if such procedures involve the insertion of pins, plates or wires
- The removal of damaged cartilage
- The repair of ligaments that have ruptured or been torn
- Caesarian sections
- The repair of umbilical hernias
- The removal of tumors or cysts
- Gastric torsion/bloat surgery
- Splenic torsion
Correction of "Cherry Eye" (when the procedure only involves the gland of the nictitating membrane, and not the membrane itself)
These procedures apply to conformation and obedience.
Also, the Obedience Regulations (Chapter 1, Sect.16), state that dogs whose appearance has been surgically altered to correct a congenital or hereditary defect may participate in Obedience Trials provided that the dogs have been neutered. The AKC does not monitor this, although people in Obedience usually keep an eye on one another to keep everyone honest.
Surgery, Allowable Procedures, Cropping, Docking, Debarking, Declaws
Why does the AKC allow surgical procedures like debarking, ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal?
The American Kennel Club recognizes that ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal, as described in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving the breed character and/or enhancing good health. Appropriate veterinary care should be provided.
AKC rules do prohibit changes in appearance "except as specified in the standard for the breed." If a breed standard provides for ear cropping, tail docking, or dewclaw removal, it is permitted. No AKC breed standard has a disqualification for any of these alterations.
Ear cropping is a decision made by a dog's breeder or owner. While it is true that some breeds are shown with their ears cropped, there is nothing in AKC rules and in fact nothing in any breed standard that compels an owner to have this procedure performed as a prerequisite to entry at a dog show. Even if it is traditional in a particular breed that the dogs have one of these alterations, it has the same potential to win as any other dog of the breed and will only be judged based on the compliance of that dog to the breed standard.
Debarking is also a decision left up to a dog's breeder or owner. Because debarking does not change the appearance or temperament of a dog, the AKC Board has determined that debarking does not make a dog ineligible. This procedure allows owners to alleviate noise in populated neighborhoods so that the dogs do not become a nuisance.
Titles, Foreign Titles on AKC Dogs
Why doesn't the AKC recognize titles from foreign countries and other organizations?
Recognizing various titles and logistically being able to record them in our database and print them all on registration documents are two entirely different matters. The issue is much more complicated than whether or not to include a few foreign championship titles on a few imports. AKC does register thousands of dogs per year based upon pedigrees issued by foreign registries. There are many national and international championships offered by various organizations. There are many more titles than just show championships involved, e.g. Obedience, Agility, Field Trial, Schutzhund, etc. Also, because the U.S. has no quarantine to limit imports or competing in events in other countries, and because the U.S. shares borders thousands of miles long with two other countries, thousands of dogs go back and forth across these borders every year. Many of these dogs have multiple titles in their country of birth before coming to the U.S. Many thousands of dogs also earn numerous foreign titles after they have been AKC registered. These titles are earned around the world, but particularly in countries like Canada and Mexico where events are so easy to reach for Americans.
AKC has been looking at this issue for some time and is considering the possibility of including some foreign titles on registration documents as part of our registration re-engineering project.
While there are problems that we have to overcome, and we cannot possibly list every foreign title a dog could earn, we do understand how important this is and know that we need to fairly address this issue. Possibly, it might involve only recording titles that the dog earns in its country of birth before it is AKC registered and not the unlimited titles it might earn later in other countries. Until the re-engineering is completed within the next year and a proposal is put before the AKC Board for consideration, we cannot promise what the outcome will be. We can only assure you that the issue will be addressed and every effort will be made to reach a fair and workable solution.
Breed Identification in an Event
How can I find out which breed it was that I saw on TV?
Because of the large number of events that occur, we are unable to assist you in identifying a particular dog in a particular event. You should contact the club that hosted the event for assistance because they have the exact schedule for the competition and the time that specific breeds competed.
You can also go to our
and find a picture and physical description of each breed. This may assist you with identifying the breed.
Once you have determined the breed, if you are interested in purchasing a dog of this particular breed, please visit the
breeder referral search
on our website.
This search will enable you to find responsible breeders of a particular breed by contacting club-designated Breeder Referral persons for the national clubs. They should be able to help you find a breeder in your area.
If you are unsure about what breed would be best for you, you should read about each breed in which you are interested and then contact the Breeder Referral persons for those breeds. They could answer any breed-specific questions you may have and help you determine which is the right breed for you.