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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 Foundation Stock Service 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:

  • Foundation Stock Service Questionnaire
  • Written history of the breed
  • Official breed standard indicating origin of the standard
  • Photos of the breed; both male and females

The Foundation Stock Service is not open to “rare” breeds that are variations 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

From FSS to Miscellaneous Class

Criteria to Advance to the Miscellaneous Class

In order to move from the Foundation Stock Service to the miscellaneous class, there is certain criteria that the breed and breed club must meet. This criteria must be met before they are able to request advancement.

  • 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

Requesting Advancement to the Miscellaneous Class

Foundation Stock Service breeds are moved to the Miscellaneous Class twice a year, either on January 1 or on or about July 1. In order to request to advance, the breed’s Parent Club must be designated to represent the breed, with approval from the AKC Board.

The Breed Standard needs to be reviewed to meet AKC Breed Standard Guidelines in order to request advancement to Miscellaneous. A minimum of 150 dogs need to be recorded with third-generation pedigrees.

The Breed Club needs to have balloted the membership to seek AKC recognition. Then, a formal presentation for AKC club status is sent to Club Relations for review.

Carolina Dog standing outdoors in profile.
©Kathy Greenwood

Full AKC-Recognized 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. A minimum of one year must have passed since entering the Miscellaneous Class.

Club Requirements

The Club must conduct Club Business, Annual Meetings and Elections in accordance with constitution and bylaws. Minutes of these meetings are submitted to the FSS Department. The constitutions and bylaws are to be reviewed by Club Relations in order to move towards full AKC recognition, with revisions recommended and approved by the club membership. Membership needs to be updated annually, including a separate electronic membership list upload using officer-issued access code.

Breed Requirements

AKC breed recognition also requires a certain number of dogs and members. Membership needs to grow to approximately 100 members, with reasonable geographic distribution. Registration of litters and dogs must be at a minimum of 300 dogs, all with third-generation pedigrees. There should be a minimum of 20 litters bred and recorded in the time that the breed is in Miscellaneous, to ensure that the breed is established and sustainable.

Show and Title Requirements

The Parent Club should have conducted two minimum Open Shows for all Miscellaneous and FSS breeds, at least six months apart and geographically distributed. At least 10 dogs, owned by Parent Club members, must have earned Certificate of Merit (CM) titles.

At least three Judges Education Seminars need to have been conducted by the Parent Club while the breed is in the Miscellaneous Class. A Judges Education course should be developed in collaboration with AKC Staff to be made available on the AKC Canine College. This provides prospective judges educational opportunities to learn more about the breed.

How Many Dogs Need to be Recorded?

Lastly, breed must have confirmation of Board-approved interest in applying for Member Club status. Breeds typically stay in the Miscellaneous Class anywhere from one to three years. Advancement to full registration depends on growth in record of dogs in the Foundation Stock Service, and participation in AKC events.

If a breed has 1,000 or more dogs recorded in the Foundation Stock Service, they may be evaluated after six months in Miscellaneous. These breeds will still 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.

Deutscher Wachtelhund head outdoors in three-quarter view.

How fast a breed moves through the program depends on how active and involved the breed club is. 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 the Biewer Terrier (2021).

Related article: 30 Fun and Fascinating Dog Facts
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