Registration indicates only that the dog's parents were registered as one recognized breed; it does not necessarily indicate that the dog comes from healthy or show-quality blood lines. Nor is registration necessarily a reflection on the quality of the breeder or how the puppy was raised. In 2006, the Board of Directors of the AKC signed a contract with Petland pet stores to facilitate the registration of dogs sold by Petland and bred by the Hunte Corporation, the largest commercial dog breeder (sometimes referred to as a puppy mill) in the U.S. After a brief flurry of controversy, the AKC rescinded the Petland contract, but as AKC Chairman Ron Menaker notes, the AKC has "been registering AKC eligible puppies from Petland, and every other company selling AKC registrable puppies" "for the past 122 years.
Registration is necessary only for breeders (so they can sell registered puppies) or for purebred conformation show or purebred dog sports participation. Registration can be obtained by mail or online at their website.
(AKC), national organization in the United States devoted to the advancement and welfare of pure-bred dogs. It is comprised of approximately 500 autonomous clubs. A delegate represents each club in the AKC's legislative body, which votes on the rules and regulations that govern dog shows and obedience and field trials. The AKC keeps a registry of recognized breeds and records the ancestry of registered pure-bred dogs in its stud book. It also provides educational materials for dog owners and sponsors rescue groups for each breed. See the official publications of the American Kennel Club, including The Complete Dog Book (18th ed. 1992).
As a result, attention to health among breeders is purely voluntary. By contrast, many dog clubs outside the US do require health tests of breeding dogs. The German Shepherd Club of Germany, for example, requires hip and elbow X-rays in addition to other tests before a dog can be bred. Such breeding restrictions are not allowed in AKC member clubs. As a result, some US breeders have established parallel registries or health databases outside of the AKC; for example, the Berner Garde established such a database in 1995 after genetic diseases reduced the average lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog to 7 years. The Swiss Bernese Mountain Dog club introduced mandatory hip X-rays in 1971.
For these, and other reasons, a small number of breed clubs have not yet joined the AKC so they can maintain stringent health standards, but, in general, the breeders' desire to show their dogs at AKC shows such as the Westminster Dog Show has won out over these concerns.
Contrary to most western nations organized under the International Kennel Federation (of which the AKC is not a member), the AKC does not discourage docked tails and cropped ears in its standards, a practice most countries now condemn outright.
The Indefinite Listing Privilege Program (ILP) is an AKC program that provides purebred dogs who may not have been eligible for registration a chance to register "indefinitely". There are various reasons why a purebred dog might not be eligible for registration; for example, the dog may be the product of an unregistered litter, or have unregistered parents. Many dogs enrolled in the ILP program were adopted from animal shelters or rescue groups, in which case the status of the dog's parents is unknown. Dogs enrolled in ILP may participate in AKC companion and performance activities, but not conformation.
As of February 1, 2008, the name of the program will be changed to the Purebred Alternative Listing Program. Enrolees of the program will receive various new benefits, including a subscription to Family Dog Magazine, a certificate for their dog's place in the PAL, and information about AKC Pet Healthcare and microchipping. Dogs currently in the ILP Program will keep their original numbers.
AKC policy toward working dog sport events that include protection phases, such as Schutzhund, has changed according to prevailing public sentiment in the United States. In 1990, as well-publicized dog attacks were driving public fear against many breeds, the AKC issued a ban on protection sports for all of its member clubs. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, Americans began to take a more positive attitude toward well-trained protection dogs, and in July 2003 the AKC decided to allow member clubs to hold a limited number of protection events with prior written permission. In 2006 the AKC released rules for its own Working Dog Sport events, very similar to Schutzhund.
In 2007, the American Kennel Club accepted an invitation from the Mexican Kennel Club to participate in the Fédération Cynologique Internationale World Dog Show in Mexico City.
The AKC divides dog breeds into seven groups, one class, and the Foundation Stock Service, consisting of the following (as of April 2007):
The AKC also offers the Canine Good Citizen program. This program tests dogs of any breed (including mixed breed) or type, registered or not, for basic behavior and temperament suitable for appearing in public and living at home.
The AKC also supports Canine Health with the Canine Health Foundation http://www.akcchf.org/