AKC Veterinary Outreach Program


The AKC Veterinary Outreach Program welcomes the veterinary community to the AKC website. Did you know that the AKC is the only registry for purebred dogs that routinely inspects breeders using its registry, and eliminates from the registry those who do not meet AKC standards for humane care and canine welfare? Did you know that the AKC encourages better breeding practices with attention to health issues such as hereditary problems? The AKC promotes responsible dog ownership, including proper health care for all dogs, and appropriate training. A healthy, well-mannered dog is far less likely to be abandoned by its family.

In addition to maintaining the registry of over 170 recognized breeds, AKC adopts and enforces rules and regulations governing dog events, fosters and encourages interest and research in the health and welfare of dogs. The AKC’s Veterinary Outreach program is designed to share information regarding the AKC and purebred dogs with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students. A strong relationship between the AKC and the veterinary community is essential to further understanding among veterinary groups and purebred dog fanciers. 

AKC's Veterinary Outreach program is our way to share information and ideas with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students. The goal is to provide resources that can assist the veterinary profession in providing the best of care for dogs, whether through background information for practitioners and their clients and support for research. AKC's long history and experience establishes it as the source of credible knowledge about purebred dogs. Click here to find out more benefits of registering with the AKC. We invite you to learn more through the About Us page, and to contact us with any questions or suggestions.

The AKC Veterinary Outreach Program is excited to announce our newest effort to support the veterinary community: The AKC Veterinary Network. The program consists of a resource center and a marketing component. Enroll in the program here.  

Ways to Work with Vet Schools

Particular emphasis has been placed on educating and familiarizing today’s veterinary students with the AKC, the variety of competitive venues, its involvement in canine health research through the AKC Canine Health Foundation, initiatives such as DNA profiling, and the AKC’s message to veterinarians about their role in educating clients about responsible dog ownership.

Here are some ideas and programs that have been implemented by local kennel clubs around the country to foster these relationships.

Health Clinics

As an increasing number of kennel clubs are sponsoring health clinics, this presents an outstanding opportunity to involve the veterinary students as staffing volunteers. They can assist in holding dogs, handling paperwork, managing the patient flow, and in some cases even give shots or draw blood. This provides the students with exposure to breeds unfamiliar to them, and begins to familiarize them with the special needs of their future breeder clientele. While many students may be willing to do this as a learning experience, or simply to spend a day with the dogs, you can always encourage participation by offering lunch, or giving a donation back to their local veterinary student club or organization. 


Facilities are an area where local clubs can benefit from the veterinary school. Often, the school’s facilities can be made available to the club for meetings, seminars, or classes. Most veterinary schools host open houses. Ask if your kennel club can participate with an information table on club activities and classes offered to the community. In exchange, allow the veterinary school to set up an informational table at your shows or community events.

Joint Sponsorship of Community Events

Whether sponsoring a full health clinic, a micro-chipping clinic, obedience demonstration, CGC testing, or any event oriented at educating the community regarding responsible dog ownership, contact the school and ask them to be involved.

Student or Associate Memberships

Create a non-voting / non dues-paying student or associate membership and invite the students to become club members. Most vet students are there because they have an innate love and interest in animals. Many of them have never been exposed at all to the world of purebred dogs. Who knows, you may not only gain some working members, but you may create a new lifelong participant in one of the AKC’s many sports.

Student Volunteers at Dog Shows and Classes

Many clubs utilize Boy Scout troops or other civic organizations to help man their shows. Consider using vet student volunteers. For a small donation back to their student clubs, or perhaps even in gratitude for scholarship offerings, they may represent a ready and able workforce. Students can easily be trained to ring steward or assist in many of the other activities involved in putting on a show or trial.


Most dog owners have built a base of dog related books and videos. When the membership of an entire kennel club is inventoried, the collection is liable to be substantial. Create a list. Share your books amongst other members, and make the materials available to the student base for borrowing.


Presentations offer another great opportunity to promote the relationship between the club and the veterinary school and students. They are especially ideal because there is the opportunity for two way learning. Clubs often have a difficult time in putting together programs for their meetings. The student and faculty base provide a great source for presenting canine health related information to the club. Conversely, the kennel club membership is a great source to present information back to the students on the sport of purebred dogs, legislative issues, and responsible dog ownership.


One of the most innovative programs is a local kennel club’s whelp-watch initiative with their local vet school. Remember, many of the students may not come from any type of animal husbandry background and may have never seen a live animal delivery. The whelp watch program matches interested students with kennel club members that have bitches in whelp. When the whelping takes place, the student is on call and invited to come and learn from the experience. While the whelp-watch program is a particularly pertinent example, there are a lot of other unique canine health related issues a breeder might deal with that may be of interest to a group of students.

So, if your kennel club is within reasonable distance of a vet school or even a vet tech program, take advantage of it. Make friends, build relationships, tap into a new source of talent, and promote your kennel club, its events, and responsible dog ownership. In doing so, everyone wins—most importantly, the dogs.

Practitioner and Support Staff

The AKC publishes numerous brochures and pamphlets on varying aspects of canine care and activities, encouraging responsible dog ownership, attention to good health care, and having fun with dogs. As veterinary professionals and AKC agree, an essential component of responsible dog ownership is a good relationship with a qualified veterinarian. Practitioners may obtain multiple copies of many of these materials without charge, for use in waiting rooms or to hand out to clients. 

Keeping Your Dog Fit and Trim
Winter Care for Canines
Canine Summer Safety Tips
Canine Travel Tips

If you would like to receive samples of these and others for review by you and your staff, please contact the AKC Veterinary Outreach program at vetoutreach@akc.org. Tell us what you would like to see and please be sure to include the name and address of your practice. We will send you samples and include information on how you can order more copies.

Did You Know?

  • AKC Reunite, an AKC Affiliate organization, the nation’s largest not-for-profit pet identification and 24/7 recovery service. Millions of pets are enrolled and hundreds of thousands have been recovered through this service. Microchips matter and, as a not-for-profit organization, AKC Reunite makes them affordable.
  • The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy program is designed to get owners and their puppies off to a good start and is a natural lead in to the Canine Good Citizen program.
  • As the dog’s champion, the AKC is focused on helping all dogs and the people who love them. The AKC Canine Partners program encourages people to explore the unique bond shared with humankind’s best friend. All dogs not eligible for regular AKC registration may be listed with AKC Canine Partners and receive access to many valuable AKC benefits and fun activities. AKC invites dogs listed with AKC Canine Partners to participate and earn titles in AKC Agility, Obedience and AKC Rally.
  • The AKC Canine Health Foundation promotes and supports research into canine health and diseases.
  • That an AKC registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam born on a known date and ensuring its addition to its family tree. The registration certificate documents your dog's identity, providing recognition and official documentation of your dog's place in breed history. The owners of registered dogs have access to numerous educational and informational services provided by AKC, as well as to various competitive events. 

Frequently Asked Questions From The Veterinary Community

How does the AKC regulate and control its registry?
The AKC is a not-for-profit organization established in 1884 to maintain a purebred dog registry, sanction dog events and promote responsible dog ownership. There is a widely held belief that "AKC" or "AKC papers" and quality are one and the same. This is not the case.

The AKC is a registry body. AKC does not breed or sell dogs, it cannot guarantee the quality or health of dogs in its registry. A registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam born on a known date. The owners of registered dogs have access to numerous educational and informational services provided by AKC, as well as to various competitive events.

When you buy a dog represented as AKC registered, you should receive an AKC dog Registration Application form properly filled out by the seller. When you complete your portion and submit it with the proper fee, this form will enable you to register the dog. When the application has been processed, you will receive an AKC Registration Certificate. AKC reserves the right to refuse or to rescind the registration of any dog for cause. The integrity of the AKC registry is the backbone of our organization.

How does the AKC use DNA?
The AKC offers a comprehensive set of voluntary and mandatory programs to ensure the integrity of the AKC Registry: Voluntary DNA Certification; the Frequently Used Sires requirement; the Fresh-Extended/Frozen Semen requirement; the Multiple-Sired Litter Registration Policy; and the Kennel Inspections/Compliance Audit Program. The AKC has built the world's largest database of canine DNA profiles for parentage verification and genetic identity purposes.

The Compliance Audit Program continues to show marked improvement in the percentage of litters that are included from large commercial kennels. In the first year of the program, less that 90% of the litters tested were registered with the correct parentage. Today, that number is up to 93.5%, and after correcting litters, 95.6%. This program has had a real, measurable impact on the breeding practices in the large commercial kennels inspected on a regular basis by AKC Inspectors.

The DNA Profile Program involves AKC customers collecting and submitting DNA samples to the AKC, whether on a voluntary or compulsory basis. The cost is $40 per sample, and the customer receives an AKC DNA Letter of Analysis for each dog, including the dog's actual genotype. Also, the dog's DNA Profile Number is added to the registration record, appearing on registration certificates and pedigrees.

The Frequently Used Sires requirement: AKC DNA Certification is required for dogs that sire seven or more litters in a lifetime, or more than three in the calendar year. This guarantees that dogs having the greatest impact on the AKC Stud Book will have DNA profiles on record with the AKC.

Frozen and Chilled Semen DNA Requirements: AKC DNA Certification is required for dogs whose semen is collected for fresh-extended or frozen use (semen that is shipped or stored) after October 1, 1998.

Multiple-Sired Litter Registration: Litters with more than one sire that are whelped after September 1, 1998 are eligible for AKC registration provided that AKC DNA Certifications are submitted for the sires, dam, and all puppies. DNA testing is powerful enough to determine parentage even when the sires are related or are littermates. In some instances, particularly with line bred dogs, additional testing may be necessary to determine the sire. This additional testing is done at the owner’s expense.

The AKC's DNA programs are being used to ensure the integrity of the AKC Stud Book in ways inconceivable five or ten years ago. They guarantee that ‘AKC Registered’ carries the highest level of trust and prestige.

What value do AKC registrations have?
A registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam born on a known date and ensuring its addition to its family tree. The registration certificate documents your dog’s identity, providing recognition and official documentation of your dog’s place in breed history. The owners of registered dogs have access to numerous educational and informational services provided by AKC, as well as to various competitive events.

Why doesn't the AKC do more to stop puppy mills?
The American Kennel Club believes that breeding programs should be undertaken responsibly for the purpose of preserving breed characteristics and producing healthy, well-socialized puppies. Responsible breeders are expected to give careful consideration to health issues, temperament, and genetic screening, as well as to the individual care and placement of puppies in responsible homes. AKC supports and promotes these and other responsible breeding practices through breeders' education programs, and commends those who offer similar guidance.

The AKC strongly opposes the breeding of dogs by those who do so without regard for the dogs’ welfare. We support scrupulous enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and state and local regulations governing the humane care of animals. We further believe that USDA and other enforcement agencies should be given appropriate resources to ensure that regulations are met.

In addition, the AKC Investigations and Inspections department conducts more than 4,000 kennel inspections each year. When AKC inspectors find kennels that do not meet our minimum care and conditions requirements, they educate and encourage those breeders to raise their standards or face suspension of their AKC registration privileges. Proper authorities are also alerted to any cases of animal neglect.

Purebred versus Mixed bred dogs?

For thousands of years man has bred dogs with desired characteristics, abilities and instincts. Purebred dogs are an enhancement of these breeding programs and the offspring are predictable in appearance, temperament and instinct. Purebred dogs are true to type when mated.

Neither the appearance nor the genetic characteristics of mixed-bred dogs are predictable or self-perpetuating. The choice of a purebred dog permits the prospective dog owner to select the desired size, appearance, disposition and instincts with assurance that a puppy purchased from a responsible breeder will possess those defined characteristics. The belief that mixed bred or mongrel dogs are more vigorous, healthy, or well adjusted than properly bred purebred dogs is a myth.

Kennel Investigations and Inspections

The American Kennel Club does a great deal more than register dogs. The AKC is the only purebred dog registry in the United States that maintains a systematic and sustained investigation and inspection effort to ensure compliance with standards that support the health, safety and welfare of dogs and the environment in which they are maintained.

The AKC Investigations and Inspections Department routinely conducts inspections of breeders that use the AKC registry. Any AKC customer (breeder, retail pet shop, or broker) that breeds 7 or more litters per year or has 25 or more registration transactions per year is added to the list for inspection. Inspections are also scheduled based on written complaints.

The fourteen Executive Field Staff inspectors perform approximately 4000 inspections annually, and the goal is to significantly increase these numbers. During inspections, the inspector assists the customer in understanding the rules and regulations regarding record keeping, identification, and maintaining proper care and conditions of their dogs and kennel. In addition, the inspectors collect DNA samples to verify the parentage of AKC registrable litters.

Deficiencies in the health and welfare of the dogs or the environment they live in, or problems with record keeping and identification, or incorrect parentage of litters discovered through DNA testing result in a graduated array of penalties and fines, from letters of reprimand to ten-year suspensions coupled with $2,000 fines. Investigators also work with local authorities to assure proper care of dogs. Fines and suspensions are published monthly in the AKC Gazette and on the AKC website. Any person convicted of animal cruelty involving dogs is suspended from all AKC privileges and their name is also published in the Gazette. The Field Staff tries to educate AKC customers to improve compliance, but AKC privileges are revoked when the deficiencies are serious. Customers who have major deficiencies can pay a fee to be reinspected so they can keep their registry privileges if they have corrected the problems and can pass reinspection. The AKC's active role through its Inspections and Investigations Department is helping to improve and ensure the welfare of our wonderful breeds.

Useful Links To Use As A Resource

Breed Info

Dog Owners Info

Health Info

Responsible breeding Info

For more information on how you or your club can become more involved, or for assistance in contacting your local veterinary school, please visit the AKC’s Veterinary Outreach website at www.akc.org/vetoutreach or contact them directly at (919) 816-3717 or via email at vetoutreach@akc.org.

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