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Kennel Name Registration

The American Kennel Club offers breeders the Registered Kennel Name Program to protect the use of their kennel’s name in the naming of AKC registered dogs. The use of a registered kennel name allows breeders to name dogs of their breeding in an identifiable manner creating a prominent familial foundation in the breed.

Application for a Registered Kennel Name


An applicant must meet all three requirements prior to submitting an application. Applications for a Registered Kennel Name are Breed Specific.

  1. Be a Breeder and Exhibitor in good standing with the American Kennel Club
  2. Have a documented background of active involvement/participation  in AKC events within the last 5 years through ownership of a dog (of the breed being applied for) that has competed in AKC Conformation, Companion, or Performance events.*  Dogs must have earned points or awards towards titles.
    1. *Applied for titles, i.e. CGC, Trick Dog, NADD, Parent Club titles, etc., do not meet event requirements. Titles must be either competitive, require multiple passes, or the opinion of more than one judge.
  3. Have registered 5 AKC litters of the applied for breed in the past 5 years or at least 1 litter in the past 5 years for provisional approval

Names must be unique to the individual(s) applying within that breed. Kennel Names can be up to two words for a total of no more than 15 characters including any space or punctuation.

Please refer to the application for complete and detailed requirements.


  • Transferring a kennel name +

    A kennel name can be passed from a parent to a child by following the standard transfer procedures. However, if an owner of a kennel name transfers a Registered Kennel Name out of his ownership to the ownership of a non-related individual(s), the transferee must meet all of the requirements listed above.

  • Renewing a kennel name +

    Once a kennel name is registered, it must be renewed every five years. Should the owner of a kennel name fail to renew the protection, the name would be released for general use.  Renewal notices are emailed 2 months prior to expiration.

  • How is the name protected? +

    When a kennel name is registered, the American Kennel Club will exercise reasonable care in protecting the name for the use of the individual(s) to whom it has been registered. Currently, a Registered Kennel Name is protected in all positions of a dog’s name. For example, if the name “Bob” was a Registered Kennel Name, then the name could not appear anywhere in the name of a dog without the written permission of the owner of that kennel name. Further, a dog or litter cannot be registered with a kennel as its owner unless the kennel name is registered with the AKC.

  • Protecting a name for multiple breeds +

    Granted on or after July 1, 2004 are granted on a breed specific basis. An applicant may request the name to cover multiple breeds; the applicant must meet all the requirements for each breed requested and submit the fee of $150.00* per breed. (*effective 1/1/2015)

  • Retiring a Kennel Name +

    Parent Clubs may request the retirement of significant kennel names for their breed. For more information, please contact


Kennel names of prominent breeders were recognized as early as September 1887, soon after the founding of the AKC. The first publication of registered kennel names was in the January 1889 issue of the Gazette, which listed names such as Blemton, Fordhook, Kilmarnock, and Maizeland. However, most dogs of the day, even if they were owned by a kennel, were generally registered under simple names such as Spot, Don and Rover. Therefore, it is difficult to trace the exact history of the Registered Kennel Name program and probably impossible to determine the first kennel name registered with the AKC.

The first official rule governing kennel names appeared in the January 1, 1903 Rules for the Government of Dog Shows, which stated: “No entries can be made in a kennel name unless the name has been registered with the American Kennel Club. The partners in a kennel will be deemed equally culpable in the case of fraud perpetrated in their name.” On February 14, 1934, the rules for registering and protecting kennel names were made more specific. The new rules stated that the AKC would not “protect any person against the use by any other person of any kennel or trade name as part of the name of a dog or in connection with the sale or showing of dogs unless the permission to use that kennel or trade name has first been obtained from the AKC.” The rule further stated that if the owners of a kennel name failed to register any dogs under that name for a period of six years, the ownership of the name would expire.

More rule changes were implemented in 1949, the most significant being the limiting of kennel name ownership to a five-year period, after which the owner had to apply for renewal. To date, these rules remain essentially unchanged. (See the Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline, Chapter 3, Sections 9-14.)