What exactly is the AKC? And what does it have to do with picking purebred dogs?
When you shop for purebred dogs, you will probably notice that many breeders use the initials AKC when they talk about their purebred puppies. What exactly is the AKC? These initials stand for the American Kennel Club, a registry for purebred dogs born in the United States. What does the AKC do? It holds dog shows and obedience competitions, helps maintain breed standards, and registers puppies of recognized breeds. The AKC registers dogs from over a hundred different dog breeds.
For a dog to be registered with the AKC, the breeder needs to have AKC papers for both parents. Each litter is registered as a group shortly after the puppies are born. When the puppies are eight weeks old, the breeder gets a registration application for each puppy. This form goes with the puppy to his new home. The new owner chooses a name to register the puppy under and sends the application in to the American Kennel Club.
The AKC has divided the dog breeds it recognizes into eight different groups. These groups are the Sporting Group, the Hound Group, the Working Group, the Terrier Group, the Toy Group, the Non-Sporting Group, the Herding Group, and the Miscellaneous Class. Each dog breed recognized by the AKC is placed in one of these groups and will compete in its breed and then its group in the show ring.
Dogs in the Sporting Group are an active, hard working bunch. These dogs need plenty of exercise. This is because they were bred to spend long hours spotting and retrieving game. Some popular members of the Sporting Group are the Golden Retriever and the Cocker Spaniel.
The Hound Group also is made up of dogs that work with hunters to catch game, but these guys are all about the chase. Hounds can be slow and methodical, like the Bloodhound, or fast and impatient, like the Greyhound.
Are you more interested in protecting your home? You will want to take a look at purebred dogs in the Working Group. These big dogs are very powerful animals who have a strong protective instinct. Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers are just two of the dog breeds in this group.
Dogs in the Terrier Group love to hunt mice and rats. This group includes the dour Scottish Terriers and the personable Miniature Schnauzers.
The Toy Group may be made up of dogs that are small in size, but their hearts are just as big as those of any other dogs. The Yorkshire Terrier and the Miniature Pinscher are both Toy dogs.
Dogs in the Herding Group have a strong herding instinct. The Collie and the German Shepherd are members of this group.
The Non-Sporting Group contains dogs that don't quite fit anywhere else. The Boston Terrier and Standard Poodles are members of the Non-Sporting Group.
The final group, the Miscellaneous Class, is where the AKC puts breeds that are still proving themselves. The Redbone Coonhound is a member of this group.
While the AKC may be the most popular kennel club in America, it is far from being the only kennel club. If your dog is not registered with AKC, you may be able to still register it with another group. The United Kennel Club, the American Canine Association, the Canine Kennel Club, and the North American Purebred Dog Registry are a few other American kennel clubs.
Of course, foreign born dogs have ancestors, too. There is some type of dog registry in most countries. Most dogs born outside of the United States must be registered with their country's breed registry and then brought to the United States before the AKC will consider registering them.
British dogs are registered through the Kennel Club, while dogs born in Australia are registered by the Victorian Canine Association, which is part of Australia's National Kennel Council.
The Canadian Kennel Club, or CKC, is Canada's version of the AKC. Purebred dogs registered with the CKC do not have to come to the United States to be registered with the AKC.
As you look into the different registries available, just remember that even if you can't register your dog, the most important thing about him is not his pedigree. Enjoying his loving, loyal companionship is more important than knowing who his ancestors are!
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