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DNA and the AKC

DNA and the AKC

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The AKC offers a comprehensive set of voluntary and mandatory programs to ensure the integrity of the AKC registry, and now includes genetic health and traits testing (including coat colors)!

Genetic health and traits testing combined with AKC DNA identification for a powerful breeder tool

AKC DNA + Health, a new, powerful breeder tool, provides genetic health and traits testing combined with AKC DNA identification in one kit. Click here for more details.

Learn more with this informational webinar from May 21, 2024:

Making The Science Work For You

AKC DNA Programs have been utilized to protect the registry for over twenty years. These programs include: voluntary DNA Profiling; the Frequently Used Sires requirement; the Fresh-Extended/Frozen Semen requirement; the Multiple-Sire Litter Registration Policy; the Import Breeding Stock requirement; and the Kennel Inspections/Compliance Audit Program. The AKC has built the world’s largest database of purebred canine DNA profiles for parentage verification and genetic identity purposes. If unknown parentage is indicated via DNA testing, the status of the registration will be downgraded to “conditional” until a three generation pedigree is established. AKC DNA testing does not determine the breed of dog or if a dog is purebred.

The Science Behind DNA Profiles

AKC DNA Profiles are generated using the same technology used by law enforcement agencies throughout the world. How does this work? In humans and dogs alike, each gene is present as two copies (displayed as letters). Offspring receive one copy of each gene from each parent in a random process.

This technology does not use actual genes, but other DNA sequences that are also inherited one copy from each parent. For this reason, your dog’s AKC DNA Profile does not provide any information about the conformation of the dog or the presence/absence of genetic diseases. Furthermore, AKC DNA Profiles cannot determine the breed of a dog or if a dog is purebred.

Voluntary DNA Profiles

This voluntary program has resulted from significant input from the fancy. The DNA Profile Program is for owners and breeders electing to add value to their breeding programs by eliminating concerns or questions about identification and parentage.

A dog owner may contact AKC for a DNA Test Kit which includes a swab that the owner uses to collect loose cells from inside the dog’s cheek. An AKC DNA Profile containing the dog’s registration information, genotype, and a unique DNA Profile number is issued for each dog sampled. This DNA Profile number will appear on subsequently issued Registration Certificates and Pedigrees.

DNA Requirements

AKC DNA Profiling is required for: Frequently Used Sires (dogs having the greatest impact on the AKC Stud Book); imported breeding stock; dogs whose semen is collected for fresh-extended or frozen use; and for the sires, dam and puppies for Multiple-Sire Litter Registration. If unknown parentage is indicated via DNA testing, the status of the registration will be downgraded to “conditional” until a three generation pedigree is established. All DNA testing to meet any AKC Registration requirement must be performed through the AKC DNA Program.

Kennel Inspections/Compliance Audit Program

AKC Representatives take DNA samples at randomly selected kennels to verify identification and parentage of litters. AKC litter registration and privileges will be withdrawn when the parentage of the litters is determined to be incorrect. The dogs sampled through the Compliance Audit Program are not considered AKC DNA Profiled, and DNA Profiles are not issued.

The AKC DNA Database and Parentage Verification

Comparison of the DNA profiles of a dam, sire, and pup(s) will determine, with greater than 99% confidence, whether the pups are from the tested dam and sire. The AKC DNA database examines the parentage of all AKC DNA Profiled registered dogs and litters whelped on or after January 1, 2000. When problems are discovered, the DNA staff works with breeders to determine correct parentage at the breeder’s expense.

AKC Parentage Evaluation Service

For a fee, an AKC DNA Analyst will issue a Parentage Evaluation of a litter in the form of an easy-to-read written report.

Parentage Evaluation can be used to ensure accuracy when breeding has been done offsite, for cases of artificial insemination, or to add an extra measure of confidence to your pedigrees.