About Registration

The American Kennel Club, a not-for-profit organization established in 1884, maintains a purebred dog registry, sanctions dog events, and promotes responsible dog ownership.

As AKC does not breed or sell dogs, it cannot guarantee the quality or health of dogs in its registry. AKC reserves the right to refuse or to rescind the registration of any dog for cause.

The owners of registered dogs have access to numerous educational and informational services provided by AKC, as well as to various competitive events. The rules and regulations for each type of event should be referenced to determine specific eligibility and performance requirements.

Papers and Identification

When you buy a dog represented as AKC registrable, 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.

Under AKC Rules, any person who sells dogs represented as AKC registrable, must maintain records that make it possible to give full identifying information with every dog delivered even though AKC "papers" are not yet available. Do not accept a promise of later identification.

The Rules and Regulations of the American Kennel Club stipulate that whenever someone sells or delivers a dog registrable with AKC, the dog must be identified by providing the buyer with a properly completed AKC Dog Registration Application for a dog not yet individually registered or a properly completed AKC Registration Certificate for a registered dog. If neither of these is available, the person delivering or shipping the dog must furnish the person acquiring the dog with a bill of sale or written statement, signed by the seller, giving all of the identifying information listed below.

For a Dog Not Yet Individually Registered
Breed
Sex and color and markings
Date of birth
Litter number (when available)
Names and numbers of sire and dam
Name of breeder
Date sold or delivered

For a Registered Dog
Breed
Registered name
Registration number
Date sold or delivered

This identifying information must be supplied with the dog even though AKC papers are not yet available, and even to a person who takes the dog only for resale as an agent or on consignment, and the same information must be passed on by him when he disposes of it. When you do receive the properly completed AKC registration papers, verify the papers against your bill of sale to ensure that all the information is correct. Please be advised that a dog will not be registered or transferred without the proper AKC registration papers.

If you are buying a dog that is supposed to be registrable with the AKC you should realize it is your responsibility to obtain complete identification of the dog or you should not buy the dog. Failure to get AKC "registration papers" causes more grief for buyers of purebred registrable dogs than any other problem except sickness. It has long been common practice to explain the inability saying "AKC hasn't sent the papers yet." The essence of this and similar excuses is that because the American Kennel Club is at fault, papers are not available. The fact is that the processing of any AKC registration item takes approximately three weeks. If a breeder is doing his paperwork in a regular, careful manner, there is ample time to obtain the necessary "papers" from AKC prior to the sale of any puppy. When "papers" are not available at the time of delivery, it is a red-flag warning sign to exercise extreme caution.

AKC Registration and Quality

There is a widely held belief that "AKC" or "AKC papers" guarantee the quality of a dog. This is not the case. AKC is a registry body. A registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam, born on a known date. It in no way indicates the quality or state of health of the dog. Quality in the sense of "show quality" is determined by many factors including the dog's health, physical condition, ability to move and appearance. Breeders breeding show stock are trying to produce animals that closely resemble the description of perfection described in the breed standard. Many people breed their dogs with no concern for the qualitative demands of the breed standard. When this occurs repeatedly over several generations, the animals, while still purebred, can be of extremely low quality. Before buying a dog, you should investigate the dog's parentage (including titles, DNA and pedigree information), the breeder's breeding practices, the breed standard, and the genetic tests recommended by the Parent Club for the breed. For more information, go to About Buying a Dog and visit the Parent Club website.

How AKC Registration Functions

The American Kennel Club registration system can be described as a cycle, which is repeated every generation. A convenient starting point is the registration of a litter. In order for a litter to be eligible for registration, the sire (Father/stud dog) and the dam (Mother/bitch) must be individually AKC registered and the litter must be whelped in the United States. Registration of the litter must be completed before any of the pups from the litter can be individually registered with AKC. Application to register a litter must be submitted on a Litter Registration Application form. This form, as well as others mentioned here, is available upon request. The owners of the sire and dam should complete and sign the appropriate portions of the application and submit it to AKC with the required fee.