The AKC Breeder of Merit program was introduced in October 2010. Since that time, almost 16,000 breeders have been enrolled. The program was developed to recognize those breeders who are the foundation of our sport through their participation in various AKC events and dedication to selective breeding of healthy purpose-bred purebred dogs.
The basic requirements are
- Minimum of five years participation in AKC events
- Be a current member in good standing of an AKC club (this includes all AKC clubs: National Parent clubs, Specialty clubs, All-Breed clubs, Training clubs, and Performance clubs)
- Be a breeder or co-breeder of at least four individual dogs that have earned AKC Conformation, Performance, or Companion event titles*
- Certify that while enrolled, the applicable health screens are completed on the sires and dams of litters bred as recommended by the Parent Club
- Commit while enrolled to making sure that all puppies of litters produced get individually registered
*Titles acquired through the Family Dog and Title Recognition programs are not considered AKC event titles and are not eligible for the BOM title requirements. Examples are CGC, Trick, Therapy, Barn Hunt, Dock Diving, and Working Dog certificates. These are titles that are offered by organizations outside AKC, but that AKC will recognize and apply to the dog’s record if applied for.
The program has been enthusiastically embraced by our breeders and is a goal that many, especially newer, breeders strive to achieve. We are proud to be represented by these dedicated members of the fancy. Breeders of Merit are ambassadors for the sport and mentors to new breeders and/or exhibitors.
Breeders of Merit are rewarded through exclusive benefits such as special registration certificates, logo lapel pins, individualized banners to display on websites and signature lines, prime placement of listings on the AKC Marketplace, support through the Breeder of Merit department, and occasional discounts and promotions.
The Inner Circle is the quarterly newsletter that includes breeder interviews and articles on topics of interest including health, registration, and AKC programs.
Advanced Levels of Recognition
Despite the success of the program, we realized that there are those breeders whose accomplishments far exceed the basics required of a BOM. To recognize these breeders, a new phase of the Breeder of Merit program was designed to highlight their achievements.
The Advanced Levels of Recognition were introduced in November 2017. The program implements levels based on the titled dogs a breeder has produced in the three AKC event areas (Conformation, Companion and Performance). The new levels are not automatic, and a breeder must apply for them. The application verifies the BOM’s status and fulfillment of the program foundations of health testing and registration. Breeders were excited by the announcement of the new levels, which distinguish those that have put so much heart and soul into producing healthy, competitive dogs.
We have so many successful Breeders of Merit; in the first months of the new program, nearly 100 BOMs were promoted to the new levels. As of August 2022, it is a growing, but still relatively exclusive, group of just over 600 recognized breeders at the advanced levels.
In order to maintain the integrity of the Advanced Breeder of Merit Recognition, the health testing of sires and dams of each litter is verified. This verification takes time; each breed has unique required health testing, and proof of testing is not recorded in one central location.
As a result, the approval process for the Advanced Levels can take much longer than that of the base-level Breeder of Merit application. The Breed Health Testing Requirements can be found here. These testing requirements are applicable to both Breeders of Merit and Bred with H.E.A.R.T. breeders. One-hundred percent registration for BOM litters over 6 months of age is also verified.
The Breeder of Merit designation is increasingly recognized by the public as a level of the commitment to responsible dog breeding that they can expect when looking for an AKC registered puppy.
An Overview of the Advanced Levels of Recognition Requirements
Recognition is available to those that meet the following minimum standards:
- Have qualified and enrolled as a Breeder of Merit
- Can provide proof of Parent Club-required health testing on litters
- Have met their commitment to ensure that all their puppies get registered
Breeders who have produced a number of titled dogs will be recognized at the following levels:
|Recognition Level||Required titles on dogs bred/co-bred*|
|Breeder of Merit
|Minimum of 4 dogs earning titles.|
|Breeder of Merit- Bronze||Minimum of 10 dogs earning titles with at least five earning prefix titles.|
|Breeder of Merit- Silver||Minimum of 25 dogs earning titles with a minimum of 15 being prefix titles.|
|Breeder of Merit- Gold||Minimum of 50 dogs earning titles with a minimum of 30 dogs having earned prefix titles.|
|Breeder of Merit- Platinum||Minimum of 100 dogs earning titles with a minimum of 60 having earned prefix titles|
* Prefix titles are recognized champion titles in any AKC sport
For more information, visit the Breeder of Merit program page. Applications and details on the requirements and benefits can be found there.
Questions can always be directed to our Breeder of Merit department at firstname.lastname@example.org.