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If you’ve ever thought about getting a dog of your own, you know there’s plenty of research that goes into it. Whether you’re looking for a breed you know well or want to see what’s out there, an AKC Meet the Breeds event near you could help you find the perfect dog for you and your lifestyle!

Russian Toy at Meet the Breeds
David Woo ©American Kennel Club

What is AKC Meet the Breeds?

AKC Meet the Breeds® was an event series started in 2009 by the American Kennel Club. The goal of the event is to provide an in-person, hands-on way to learn about all kinds of dog breeds in cities all across the country. New York City saw its 10th annual AKC Meet the Breeds event in 2022, bringing dog lovers, breeders, owners, handlers, and everyone in between together. 

This family-friendly, educational canine spectacle gives dog lovers the unique opportunity to meet and play with hundreds of adorable dogs and puppies while learning about responsible pet ownership. From popular dog breeds like the French Bulldog and the Labrador Retriever to breeds you may have never heard of, like the Azawakh or the Belgian Laekenois, you can meet different breeds at each event. 

David Woo/American Kennel Club

What Happens at an AKC Meet the Breeds Event?

Each event across the United States boasts a variety of hundreds of dog breeds, including AKC-recognized breedsFoundation Stock Service (FSS) breeds, and Miscellaneous Class breeds. Aside from seeing all of these dog breeds in one place, you can also learn about their history, temperament, and more. You can even connect with breeders at breed booths! 

Meet All the Breeds 

It’s in the name: going to an AKC Meet the Breeds event means you’ll be surrounded by tons of incredible dog breeds. Breed booths are set up in alphabetical order at venues for you to walk through, making it easy to find your favorite breeds and find new ones. Each event boasts over 100 dog breeds, so you’ll be occupied throughout the day playing with and getting to know them all. 

Talk to Breed Experts 

The people running the breed booths are dog owners, too! From breeders to handlers to Breed Club members and officers, you’ll be able to ask away about dog breeds you find interesting. These exhibitors are breed experts and know about the breed’s grooming needs, social habits, family-friendliness, activity levels, and anything else you can think of. 

Danish-Swedish Farmdog booth. Meet the Breeds at the 2018 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin.
©American Kennel Club and HOTdog

If you’re thinking about getting a dog of your own, AKC Meet the Breeds is a great place to start. Learn how breeds would fit into your lifestyle by talking to people who spend their lives alongside them. Some breeds are better for urban areas, while others need a lot of exercise each day. Making an informed decision when getting a new dog is important to have the best relationship possible with your future dog. 

Learn About Responsible Dog Ownership 

Aside from exhibitor breed booths, other booths are set up throughout the venues. Learn more about things like pet insurance, The AKC Museum of the Dog, dog sports, joint health, and responsible dog ownership by talking to experts as you walk around. There’s a lot that goes into responsible dog ownership, so these booths are there to help you cover all of your bases and be the most informed dog owner you can be. 

Watch Fun Dog Demonstrations 

Throughout the day, different groups will put on engaging demonstrations in the AKC Meet the Breeds Ring. Some dogs will be showing off their agility skills with their handlers, and working dog teams, like K-9 officers, will show you what their jobs consist of. If you want to try a new dog sport or understand working dogs better, you can see it live in action at AKC Meet the Breeds events. These fun and informative demonstrations vary for each event. 

David Woo/American Kennel Club

Games, Photo Opportunities, and More

Participate in fun games and photo opportunities with the whole family. Some events even include a specific Kid’s Zone area, which includes crafts, fun, and games, like the Kid Agility Course in New York City in 2023. These fun additions to all of the dogs that you’ll get to meet depend on the event location and venue, so if you’re looking for something specific, check out the specific information for your city’s AKC Meet the Breeds event. 

How Do I Attend an AKC Meet the Breeds Event?

Each year, AKC Meet the Breeds events are announced in different cities across the country. While no event is exactly the same, all events feature hundreds of dogs for you to learn more about. 

Tickets are on sale leading up to the date of the event, so be on the lookout for when AKC Meet the Breeds events come to your area. You can purchase tickets for yourself, your family, and your friends at the AKC Meet the Breeds page. These also make a great gift for any dog lover in your life! 

Still have questions about your event? Check out the frequently asked questions about AKC Meet the Breeds


AKC Meet the Breeds® is going nationwide in 2023, giving dog lovers a unique opportunity to meet, play with, and learn about hundreds of dogs! All cities and dates tentative and subject to change. There’s still time to get tickets for the next event, which will be combined with the Great American Dog Show in Chicago, IL on August 26-27!