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What is the AKC? And how can it help you?

Dr. Jerry Klein, American Kennel Club on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

What is “The American Kennel Club (AKC)”? Some people may have heard of it, but not be exactly sure what it is, and many others have never heard of it. Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, explains what the AKC is and how it might help you and your dog.

What is the AKC? The American Kennel Club was founded in 1884 as a registration body for purebred dogs in the United States.

As it stands today, the AKC ( is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, but also dedicated to promoting purebred dogs as a family companion, holding and governing more than 25,000 dog related events every year, advancing canine health and well-being, working to protect the rights of all dog owners and promoting responsible dog ownership. The American Kennel Club is a large “club of clubs,” made of many dog clubs that represent a certain breed or group of breeds, all-breed clubs, performance clubs and obedience clubs.

-- AKC mission and resources. AKC promotes the responsible breeding of purebred dogs to improve or preserve for type (“type” is how a particular breed of dog should look, act, and move as described by that breed’s national governing body) and the function for which that breed was originally bred to perform, whether it is to hunt, herd, guard or solely act as companion.

When looking for a dog, the AKC website can be a great resource for finding the right breed for you among the 200 recognized dog breeds.

-- AKC affiliate organizations. The AKC has five affiliate organizations: the AKC Museum of the Dog (a museum celebrating the human-canine bond), AKC Reunite (the nation’s largest non-profit pet microchip and recovery service), AKC Canine Health Foundation (an organization dedicated to advancing the health of all dogs and their owners by funding scientific research), AKC Humane Fund (supports the well-being of all dogs through grants and education), and the AKC Purebred Preservation Bank (ensures the viability of purebred dogs for generations to come).


In addition to its affiliate organizations, the AKC has a Government Relations department, which is dedicated to protecting the rights of all dog owners (not just purebred dog owners), promoting responsible dog ownership, and ensuring that the laws governing dog ownership and breeding are reasonable, enforceable and non-discriminatory. Government Relations educates and informs dog owners about issues that may impact them as well as monitoring legislation that may affect them.

-- AKC events and programs. With 25,000 events held each year, there’s a sport for every dog (and owner). Whether you just want to watch or participate, it’s easy to find events at Events such as conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, Fast CAT, scent work, among others are listed by date, location and type. Most events are open to both registered purebred dogs and mixed breed dogs by registering them with AKC through the PAL or Canine Partner listing. There are even events under the AKC Family Dog program that anyone can try to attain with their dog, from AKC Trick Dog, AKC Therapy Dog and AKC Fit Dog.

When you have your dog, any dog, not just purebred dogs, you will need to be informed about training your dog to be the best community member and companion they can be. Canine Good Citizen (CGC) is a 10-skill test that teaches good manners to dogs and can either be taught yourself or work with a CGC trainer or attend a CGC training class where the test is given at the end of graduation by an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator. CGC training classes are administered at many facilities around the country.

For more information about the AKC and responsible dog ownership, visit

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