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Club Relations Department

No matter what your interest in dogs, the chances are good that there’s a dog club near you where you can meet people who share your interests. AKC recognizes fifteen (15) different types of clubs: Parent Specialty, All-Breed, Specialty (single breed), Group (limited breed), Obedience, Tracking, Agility, Rally, Field Trial, Hunting Test, Herding, Coonhound, Lure Coursing, Earthdog and Scent Work.

The AKC Club Relations Department handles the accreditation, licensing and member club approval process for all AKC clubs and administers the development of new clubs so they may qualify for the holding of sanctioned matches, mentored and licensed events.

AKC membership is granted to eligible Parent Specialty clubs. It is also granted to eligible All-Breed, Group, Obedience, Agility and multiple breed Field Trial clubs that are licensed and have held at least three (3) dog shows, obedience trials, field trials or agility trials in consecutive years, under the Rules of The AKC. These clubs must meet the minimum household requirements set by AKC’s Board of Directors and be governed by an acceptable Constitution and Bylaws document.

At the present time approximately 5,000 clubs are eligible to conduct events under AKC Rules and Regulations. Before clubs are licensed to hold AKC events they must first be accredited and approved to hold either sanctioned matches or mentored events.

New clubs applying for AKC accreditation must first:

  • Identify the club’s main purpose for forming (type of club)
  • Adopt a Constitution and Bylaws document providing for the democratic functioning of the club. Please see Club Bylaw Services for more information
  • Choose a club name which identifies the primary competition type the club wishes to hold in its locality
  • Represent voting members who are breeders, exhibitors, interested dog owners and judges in a locality not served by an existing club of the same type
  • Meet the minimum number of total and local households set by AKC’s Board of Directors for that type of club

Additional information is available on AKC’s website at How to Form an AKC-Accredited Dog Club

Once approved as an AKC club, Club Relations:

  • Designates all territories for local clubs
  • Processes sanctioned Plan B and sanctioned Plan A matches, and the results for sanctioned clubs
  • Evaluates sanctioned club requests for advancement to Plan A level and to license status
  • Approves additional competition types for eligible licensed and member clubs
  • Processes AKC member club requests for approval by AKC Board of Directors
  • Reviews member club bylaws and bylaw revisions for approval by AKC Board of Directors
  • Reviews bylaw revisions and offers commentary to non-member clubs (sanctioned and licensed clubs)
  • Provides informal assistance to clubs with respect to internal club dispute resolution. Please view the Working It Out Guide for assistance.
  • Maintains records for thousands of club files

For more information please contact the AKC Club Relations Department at or

American Kennel Club
Attn: Club Relations Department
101 Park Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10178