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Why I Register My Dogs With the American Kennel Club

And Why You Should Care That I Do!

I began showing dogs in 1969. At that time, the only legitimate places one could register a dog in the US was with the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. AKC was founded September 17, 1884 and the UKC in 1898. To me, the most significant difference between the two is that from its inception, the AKC was a club of clubs (a delegate from each club was sent to form a registry for dogs) and was a non-profit organization. The UKC was a sole proprietorship, formed by Chauncey Z. Bennett and was formed to register hunting dogs and pit bulls. In 2009, the top five breeds registered with UKC were 1. Treeing Walker Coonhound (Scenthound Group), 2. American Pit Bull Terrier (Terrier Group), 3. Bluetick Coonhound (Scenthound Group), 4. English Coonhound (Scenthound Group) and 5. American Black & Tan Coonhound (Scenthound Group). In 2010, the AKC's top five were the 1. Labrador Retriever (Sporting Group), 2. German Shepherd Dog (Herding Group), 3. Golden Retriever (Sporting Group), 4.Yorkshire Terrier (Toy Group) and 5. Beagle (Hound Group). Today, there are over 30 groups in the US where one can register a dog! To me, this is almost unbelievable, but it is the truth. Why? It seems to me the only reason can be to put a tidy sum of money into the pockets of those who formed them. Several of them have slick websites that sound oh, so legitimate, but the bottom line is, "Do you have your money?" and "Do you have it with you?"


Both AKC and UKC are still the only legitimate registries in the United States. I started with an AKC registered German Shepherd Dog in 1969 and have been registering dogs with AKC ever since and I will continue to do so. Why? Here's a few reasons why:


  1. is a not-for profit organization.
  2. is the largest purbred dog registry in the world.
  3. awards $170,000 in scholarships to veterinary and veterinary technical students and youths active in the sport of dogs
  4. sponsors 21,000 dog events per year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, lure coursing, earthdog, herding, field trial, hunt test and coonhound events.
  5. supports thousands of volunteers (I am proud to say that I am an AKC Canine Ambassador and put on programs in the local schools and library!) and teachers across the country who teach responsible dog ownership and saftey around dogs; features an education booth that visits more than 40 events a year.
  6. created and supports the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), which funds researh projects focusing on the genetics of disease, the canine genome map, and clinical studies. (While I sat on the Board of Directors of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, Inc - an AKC member club since 1936, we approved the funding of research in partnership with the AKC CHF to find if the Pembroke was affected by degenerative myelopathy. The resulting research isolated the DNA marker for the disease in the Corgi and the information crossed over into the study of ALS (Lou Gerhig's Disease) in humans and helped further the research in humans, as well as dogs!) AKC has donated over $17 million to the CHF since 1995.
  7. is the only registry that incorporates health screening results into its permanent dog records. Dogs certified to be free of hip or elbow dysplasia through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and dogs certified to be free of eye disease through the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) have their clearance numbers printed on AKC-certified pedigrees and registration documents.
  8. began AKC Companion Animal Recovery (CAR), which has reunited more than 340,000 lost pets with their owners.
  9. created and operates DOGNY - America's Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs which supports Canine Search and Rescue (SAR) organizations throughout the United States.
  10. features a Canine Good Citizen® program - A 10-step test that certifies dogs who have good manners at home and in the community
  11. conducts approximately 5,600 kennel inspections annually to ensure the integrity of the AKC registry and monitor care and conditions at kennels across the country.
  12. operates a Government Relations department that provides input for federal, state, and local legislation governing responsible dog ownership.
  13. offers the largest, most comprehensive set of DNA programs for the purposes of parentage verification and genetic identity to ensure reliabel registration records.
  14. maintains one of the world's largest collections of dog-related fine art and artifacts at the AKC Museum of the Dog, which is open to the public.
  15. houses the world's largest dog library, which is open to the public.
  16. manages a Registered Handler's Program that sets criteria and standards for responsible, knowledgeable, professional handlers.

To add to this The AKC also formed the microchip company AKC Reunite.

AKC Reunite is the nation’s largest non-profit pet microchip and recovery service protecting over 7 million pets across 33 different species – dogs, cats, horses, birds, turtles and more!

  • Has reunited more than 500,000 lost pets with their owners.
  • Post 9/11, created the Canine Support and Relief Fund to supports volunteer Canine Search and Rescue (K9 SAR) organizations, and pet-related disaster preparedness and relief efforts.
  • Built AKC Pet Disaster Relief trailer donation program that provides Emergency Management teams with non-perishable, short-term sheltering supplies to help pets during a disaster.
  • Offers matching grants to AKC Clubs to help donate K9 officers to police departments.
  • Donates microchip scanners to eligibleanimal shelters to help reunite lost and displaced pets.
  • Provides financial aid to qualifying not-for-profit pet sheltering organizations offering emergency sheltering assistance during disasters.

Plus more about the AKC Health Foundation:

Mission Statement

The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is dedicated to advancing the health of all dogs and their owners by funding scientific research and supporting the dissemination of health information to prevent, treat and cure canine disease.

Vision Statement

CHF’s vision is to address the health needs of all dogs across their entire lifetime by focusing on all aspects of their physical, mental, and social well-being. CHF embraces the One Health model as a critical tool to achieving their vision.

Foundation’s Goals

Within this mission and vision, CHF has three primary goals:

  • To fund canine health research projects to the Foundation’s capacity which address the
    diversity of canine health concerns and may have comparative medicine benefits for
  • To select and monitor, through a rigorous process, research projects that meet high scientific standards and have the greatest potential for advancing the health of dogs
  • To communicate to the pet-owners, veterinarians and researchers, funded discoveries that help prevent, treat, and cure canine diseases

Since 1995…

  • Over $52 million in support for scientific research and educational programs to advance the health of all dogs and their people.
  • Over 970 research grants awarded.
  • Over 750 peer-reviewed publications cited over 26,000 times.

Research Program Areas

CHF supports 23 Research Program Areas including:

  • Behavior
  • Blood Disorders
  • Cardiology
  • Clinician-Scientist Fellowship Program
  • Dermatology and Allergic Disease
  • Endocrinology
  • Epilepsy
  • Gastrointestinal Disease
  • General Canine Health
  • Hepatic Disease
  • Immunology and Infectious Disease
  • Kidney and Urological Disease
  • Lung and Respiratory Disease
  • Musculoskeletal Conditions and Disease
  • Neurology
  • Oncology – General
  • Oncology – Hemangiosarcoma
  • Oncology – Lymphoma
  • Oncology – Osteosarcoma
  • Ophthalmology
  • Reproductive Conditions
  • Theriogenology Residency Program
  • Tick-Borne Disease

Charity Navigator & GuideStar

The AKC Canine Health Foundation meets and exceeds industry standards for fiscal
responsibility, as demonstrated by their four-star Charity Navigator rating and GuideStar
Platinum Seal of Transparency.

These are some of the main reasons why I will always register my dogs with the AKC. For an organization that started in 1884 which is the organization that processes the records for the second longest running sports event in the US, the esteemed Westminster Kennel Club (behind the Kentucky Derby by only one year!) and which organizes and runs the AKC National Championship show, the AKC has certainly 'kept up with the times' and is firmly planted in the 21st century. They are certainly the champion of the breeder of the 21st century and even more important than that, they are the "dog's champion"! Make sure your next dog is an AKC registered dog. Make sure you get the BEST!


Jimanie, established 1969, devoted to the Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi in particular. I am a member of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, Inc. and have served as a Board Member, Vice President and as Webmaster; the founder of and past president and current vice president plus a lifetime member of the Palmetto Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club. I am a lifetime member of  the Columbia Kennel Club, Inc., lifetime member of the Greater Columbia Obedience Club, Inc. and a member of the Dog Judges Association of America and the Dog Writers Association of America.

Stephanie S. Hedgepath, 131 Minnie Fallaw Rd, Lexington, SC 29073

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