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Alaskan Klee Kai sitting together outdoors.
Alaskan Klee Kai

The Foundation Stock Service (FSS®) program was developed in 1995 to assist the needs of rare breeds fanciers.

Mari-Beth O’Neill, Vice President of Sport Services, and Christine Weisse, Senior Subject Matter Expert, assist these breeds through the process of becoming a fully recognized AKC breed.

There are three major steps of the FSS® program:

1 – Acceptance into the FSS program.

2 – Meeting the criteria to become a Miscellaneous Class breed.

3 –Meeting the criteria to become an AKC-recognized breed.

How Breeds Enter the FSS® Program

The American Kennel Club will accept requests from either breed clubs or individuals to petition for a breed.  A rare or developing domestic breed must have an established registry for a minimum of 40 years.  A breed recognized by a Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) registry with reciprocity with AKC is eligible to apply.  The application process includes submission of the following:

  • FSS® Questionnaire
  • Written history of the breed
  • Official breed standard indicating origin of the standard
  • Photos of the breed; both male and females

The FSS® is not open to “rare” breeds that are a variation of an AKC-registrable breed or the result of a combination of two AKC-recognized breeds. This includes and is not limited to differences such as size (over and under), coat type, coat colors, and coat colors and/or types that are disqualifications from conformation events by AKC breed standards.

Upon recognition into FSS, if a club does not already exist, one needs to be formed to represent the breed with AKC.  The club should appoint a member to be the liaison with the FSS department.

Bohemian Shepherd
Bohemian Shepherd

Advancement to Miscellaneous Class

The criteria to advance to the Miscellaneous Class include:

  • A national breed club must be formed with an active household of 100 members.
  • The breed must have reached full FCI recognition.
  • The breed standard needs to conform to the AKC Guidelines for Writing Breed Standards. Final approval for the standard is made by the AKC Board at the time the breed is approved for full recognition.
  • The club should also be forming committees, hosting events, and publishing a quarterly newsletter.
  • Reports submitted quarterly to AKC.

Once the criteria are met, the next step for clubs is to request advancement to the Miscellaneous Class.

  • Parent Club designated to represent the breed with approval by the AKC Board.
  • The Club has balloted the membership to seek AKC recognition.
  • Breed Standard reviewed to meet AKC Breed Standard Guidelines.
  • Minimum of 150 dogs enrolled with three-generation pedigrees.
  • Formal presentation for AKC club status is sent to Club Relations for review.

FSS® breeds are moved twice a year to the Miscellaneous Class either on January 1 or on or about July 1.

The last step is requesting full AKC status.  While in Miscellaneous Class the breed club has a lot of work to do in order to move forward.  They will be working with a Delegate from the Parent Club Delegate committee, to gain understanding of the responsibilities of a Parent Club.

Mudi puppies peeking out of a carrier.
Mudi puppies

Request For Full AKC Status

The last step is requesting full AKC status. While in Miscellaneous Class, the breed club has a lot of work to do in order to move forward.  They will be working with a Delegate from the Parent Club Delegate committee to gain an understanding of the responsibilities of a Parent Club.

  • Club Business and Annual Meeting/Election to be conducted in accordance with constitution and bylaws.
  • Constitution and bylaws, to be reviewed by Club Relations, revisions recommended to be made and approved by the club membership.
  • Minutes of Board and Annual Meeting submitted to the FSS Department.
  • Membership updated annually, including a separate electronic membership list upload using officer-issued access code.
  • Parent Club conducts a minimum of two Open Shows for all Miscellaneous and FSS breeds (minimum of six months apart, geographically distributed).
  • Confirmation of Board-approved interest in applying for Member Club status.
  • Membership growth to approximately 100 members, with reasonable geographic distribution.
  • Minimum of ten dogs earning Certificate of Merit (CM) titles owned by Parent Club members.
  • Growth in registration of litters and dogs to a minimum of 300 dogs with three-generation pedigrees.
  • A minimum of 20 litters bred and enrolled while the breed is in Miscellaneous to ensure that the breed is established and sustainable.
  • Minimum of three Judges Education Seminars conducted by the Parent Club while in the Miscellaneous Class.
  • Judges Education course developed in collaboration with AKC Staff to be made available on the AKC Canine College for the purpose of providing of providing educational opportunities for prospective judges of the breed.
  • A minimum of one year has elapsed since entering the Miscellaneous Class.
  • Normally breeds remain in the Miscellaneous Class one to three years. Advancement to full registration will be contingent on growth in enrollment of dogs in FSS® and participation in AKC events. However, breeds with 1,000 or more dogs enrolled in FSS® may be evaluated after six months in Miscellaneous, these breeds will remain in the Miscellaneous Class a minimum of 18 months. Breeds with less than 1,000 dogs will be evaluated at the end of each year in Miscellaneous. When all criteria are met the information is presented to the AKC Board of Directors for approval to move to full AKC recognition and breed conformation competition.
Biewer Terrier standing in the grass.
In January 2021, the Biewer Terrier became the 198th recognized breed. 

How fast a breed moves through the program depends on how active and involved the breed club is.

The FSS® program as of March 1, 2021, has 82 breeds, and 10 of these breeds are in Miscellaneous Class.

In January 2021, the Biewer Terrier became the 198th recognized breed.

A few of the current breeds in FSS® are the Porcelaine – Hound Group, Bracco Italiano – Sporting Group, and Bohemian Shepherd – Herding Group.

Some breeds that have gone through the FSS® program and achieved AKC Recognition include: Boykin Spaniel (2009), Cane Corso (2010), Russell Terrier (2012), Miniature American Shepherd (2015), and in January 2021, the Biewer Terrier.

For more information about the FSS program, write fss@akc.org.

Related article: 30 Fun and Fascinating Dog Facts
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