|An Overview of Purebred Registration||
by Sandi Dremel
It is not my intend to 'diss' the American Kennel Club. As a matter of fact, most of the information contained in this report is based on AKC documentation. That said, I DO want to dispel some misconceptions about what a "registered purebred" IS and IS NOT. And, although I am using AKC registry as an example, the same principles apply, in large part, to many other canine registries around the world.
The AKC's Mission Statement from their 2003 Annual Report:
That's it folks! It DOES NOT MEAN:
What is required to register a litter?
The primary reasons cited by the AKC for registering a dog with their organization is to:
And, while in a general sense, they "promote responsible dog ownership"; "oppose random, large scale breeding of dogs solely for commercial purposes"; and, "supports scrupulous enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act and state and local regulations governing the humane care of animals" - most of their activities involve registering dogs (canine genealogy) and holding canine events. To their credit, especially in recent years, they have implemented or increased their participation in/support of activities to research canine diseases (AKC Foundation), dog owner education, the promotion of adoption, etc.
In 2003, the thirteen Executive Field Staff Inspectors performed approximately 4800 inspections. In that same year, the organization registered 423,761 litters/915,668 individual dogs. The relatively few inspections that are performed are primarily to confirm identity of the dogs registered with the organization, although they may contact local authorities if they observe poor conditions, abuse, and/or neglect.
And, while their website states, "The American Kennel Club strongly supports sound, enforceable, non-discriminatory legislation to govern dog ownership, and we appreciate legislators’ desire to keep communities safe for both people and dogs.", it is my opinion that, in practice, they tend to have a rather 'knee-jerk' reaction to any proposed breeder-related legislation that may infringe their ability to engage in their primary business -- registration. Repeatedly, throughout their reports, they bemoan the fact that registrations continue to decline. From the 2003 Annual Report, "There is no doubt that the continued decline in registrations stands high in our concerns. We seek innovative ways to reverse that trend and to develop diversified income independent of registrations." In March 2003, the President's Message states "We are all aware that litter and dog registrations have declined for the past ten years and, as a result, we have had to increase registration fees to meet our budget goals. However, this is a double-edged sword since we now believe that some of the decline in litter registrations is due to the increased fees. Revenues from registration have always represented a significant portion of our overall operating income and fund not only the sport but also many important programs such as Canine Legislation, Communications, the AKC/Canine Health Foundation, and the AKC Museum of the Dog." In 2002, the Annual Report states "The continuing decline in the volume of dog registrations is a major concern." Throughout the organizations Meeting Minutes and Reports, serious concerns related to declining registration are expressed.
This is a 'double-edged sword' with regard to their determining which activities to engage in or oppose. It is inevidable that anything restricting the breeding of registered dogs will cut into their 'bottom line'.
Their full page of Position Papers, which addresses legislation, appears on the surface to support legislation as an appropriate response to animal welfare issues. However, I've yet to find a piece of real legislation they haven't summarily dismissed as a threat to responsible dog owners and/or breeders. NOTE: PLEASE DON'T write to send me the one or two I might have missed - I've been following this long enough to know what's what.
While I want to believe that most breeders are not in it for the money and/or to gratify their own egos (breed what is in their minds the "perfect specimen", win that special Best in Show, etc.), my almost 30 years of exposure to literally thousands of breeders has taught me that, sadly, many are. And, sometimes, these people, even with the best of intentions, get in 'over their heads'. What results is case after case of neglect, careless breeding/placement, over breeding, etc.
I do not want anyone reading this to get the impression that I do not believe the AKC serves a purpose - I do, it just isn't what most people think it is! And, in recent years, the AKC in an attempt to 'diversify' due to falling registration revenue as well as respond to increased scrutiny by animal welfare advocates, the media, and others, has contributed to the confusion with vague statements and relatively limited involvement in animal welfare type initiatives.
Subsequently, I believe it is a moral obligation of organizations, like the AKC, who profit primarily from the breeding of dogs, but promote themselves to be serving in their best interest, to promote a more thoughtful, objective, discussion of what regulations might be appropriate including licensing fees, inspections, etc. that could identify problem situations and offset the costs incurred by the agencies having to deal with them. Further, while some small steps have been taken, they should modify their programs to vigorously promote the spaying/neutering of companion animals, reward the breeding of healthier dogs and more responsible breeding practices (including placement, post placement support, and rehoming), and decrease their dependence upon registration revenue in a way that improves the conditions of all canines.
In closing, for people who want to participate in dog shows and performance events, the AKC provides a valuable service. Further, knowing with some degree of certainty, how large, trainable, and/or shaggy your dog will grow to be, may be helpful to some potential dog owners. However, purebred or mix, a dog is a dog is a dog and it is most important you thoughtfully consider the responsibility you are taking on, whether you are thinking of a purebred or a mixed breed.
AKC Facts 2003:
573 member clubs whose dog events are approved, sanctioned, and regulated by AKC; approximately 4,000 nonmember clubs holding events under AKC Rules and Regulations.
The AKC sanctioned and regulated a total of 1,477 all-breed dog shows, with 1,745,841 all-breed entries; and 2,150 specialty dog shows, with 157,588 specialty-show entries. There were 22,350 conformation championships and 147 dual championships earned.
A total of $100,000 in scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, was awarded to students from 25 states. Scholarship recipients participate in a wide range of dog-related activities: showing, breeding, Canine Good Citizen evaluating, performance and companion events, therapy work, rescue, and much more.
Companion Events: Agility, Obedience, and Tracking - First year of the AKC National Agility Championship; The 2003 AKC/USA World Agility Team competed with squads from 30 countries at the World Agility Championship, in Lieven, France; and total of 1,379 AKC agility trials were held, with 557,750 total entries. The 1st AKC National Obedience Invitational was held; the AKC assembled a four-team obedience squad to represent the United States at the first-ever Crufts Obedience World Cup competition; obedience accounted for 2,390 events, with 139,649 entries. The 1st AKC National Tracking Invitational was held; the AKC sanctioned 338 tracking events, with 1,611 entries. The Champion Tracker title was earned by 21 dogs. In 2003, Versatile Companion Dog titles (dogs with a combination of titles in agility, obedience and tracking) were earned by 287 dogs, representing 56 breeds.
The AKC approved 3,527 performance events (field trials, hunting tests, and the lure coursing, herding, earthdog, and coonhound programs), with 236,530 total entries and 8,829 titles earned.
The Veterinary Outreach department promotes AKC to the veterinary community and establishes alliances with universities, researchers, practitioners, and related professional organizations.
In 2003, a Pet Healthcare Plan was made available through, and administered by, PetPartners, Inc., to the owners of AKC-registered dogs. It offers health-care plans providing comprehensive coverage, and the Premier Plus plan provides coverage for preventive-care expenses.
The Compliance Operations division is entrusted with a crucial mission: maintaining the integrity of the AKC Stud Book, the world’s largest purebred dog registry. The division comprises the Inspection and Investigation, DNA Operations and Educational Services, Case Management, and Compliance Support departments. In 2003, 13 field inspectors visited 4,814 kennels and conducted 25 re-inspections. Inspectors visited 461 pet shops, 39 puppy brokers, and 59 auctions. Case Management produced more than 25,000 letters and handled more than 20,000 phone calls during the year. DNA Operations, using DNA parentage-verification technology to maintain the purity of the Stud Book, certified more than 35,000 DNA samples for the Frequently Used Sires requirement and voluntary DNA Certifications. The Compliance Audit program, in which DNA samples are collected during routine kennel inspections, continued to verify and correct the registry. Incorrectly registered litters were corrected or cancelled. There were 9,826 samples collected for Compliance Audit purposes.
In 2003, Responsible Dog Ownership Day was created to annually highlight AKC responsible dog ownership programs.
The Public Education department supports a network of more than 4,000 AKC-affiliated club volunteers who distribute public education materials and publicize education programs and initiatives nationwide. These Public Education Coordinators and Canine Ambassadors make presentations to community groups and schools, and host events that promote responsible dog ownership. Three seasonal mailings to Canine Ambassadors featured activities and games that introduced schoolchildren to the family of AKC events, the Canine Good Citizen test, and the importance of good canine grooming. Nine 2003 Community Achievement Awards were given to honor outstanding public education and canine legislation efforts. AKC donated $1,000 to each honoree’s club or federation.
The AKC Club Information and Education Booth made 37 presentations throughout the country encouraging AKC registration and participation in the sport.
More than 25,000 dogs took the 10-step Canine Good Citizen® test in 2003. The USDA adopted CGC as part of the dog-training program at the National Detector Dog Center. The Boy Scouts of America added CGC to its dog-care merit badge requirements and used AKC materials in creating the section of the merit badge study guide that focuses on breed identification. The state legislatures of New Hampshire and Washington passed resolutions endorsing CGC.
The Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) Corporation is a not-for-profit affiliate organization of AKC, dedicated to reuniting lost microchipped and tattooed pets with their owners. Since 1995, over 178,000 pets were recovered. AKC-CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund was created after 9/11/2001 to support America’s search and rescue dogs. As of the 2003 Annual Report, they had raised $811,083 in donations and distributed them to several search and rescue dog organizations. They contributed $100,000 to the Veterinary Scholarship fund, allowing AKC to disperse $160,000 for the 20032004 school year; led relief efforts for dogs displaced by the 2003 wildfires that ravaged southern California organizing donations of food and supplies from its corporate partners.
Located in St. Louis, the Museum of the Dog is supported by AKC with an annual grant of $170,000, in addition to funding for restoration of the collection.
In 2003, AKC contributed more than $1.1 million to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to develop resources for basic and applied health programs, with emphasis on canine genetics, to improve the quality of life for dogs and their owners. Since 1995, AKC/CHF has approved more than $10 million in canine health grants. As of December 31, 2003, the Board designated $18.5 million to fund projects for preserving the future of the AKC and the sport of purebred dogs, including $1.2 million for support of the AKC Canine Health Foundation.
Some interesting articles regarding the AKC:
AKC Treeing The UKC Coonhound Breeds
How to Survive An AKC Inspection - "Inspections will be performed in response to complaints, which can stem from concerns over unhealthy facilities to unfounded harassment by a vengeful competitor or disgruntled co-owner . . . The AKC is VERY serious about enforcing their rules for record keeping and identification. . . . While the AKC cannot suspend you for unsanitary conditions . . . "
From the "Petland" pet store website . . .
Petland store operators and our professional partners use a number of pet registries, including the American Canine Association (ACA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC). By tracking the genetic health of pets and contributing funds to canine research, respectively, the goal of the aforementioned registries is to reduce and eventually eliminate congenital defects while improving the quality of life for dogs and their owners.
* More and more Petland store operators, pet distributors and breeders are now using pet registries committed to genetics research.
The American Kennel Club, also known as the AKC, and its American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation gives generously each year to canine research. Since being founded by the AKC in 1995, the AKC's Canine Health Foundation has reportedly donated millions of dollars for canine health research projects. According to the AKC website, www.akc.org, this research has led to several breakthroughs in such conditions as cystinuria (a common kidney disease in dogs), von Willebrand's disease (a blood disorder affecting many breeds), and progressive retinal atrophy (an eye disease). Collaborative projects have led to the development of the canine genome map, successful gene therapy, and several genetic tests for dogs. According to the AKC, the mission of the AKC's Canine Health Foundation is to develop significant resources for basic and applied health programs with emphasis on canine genetics and to improve the quality of life for dogs and their owners.
AKC vs USDA Inspections (comparison)
|To Top of Page||HOME||MISSING PETS|
The DogInfomat est. 1994 © 1994-2005/Sandi Dremel
The original content, concept, and design of the DogInfomat are the property of Sandi Dremel. All content submitted for inclusion remains the sole property of it's owners. As such, none of the contents made available at the site are to be copied, redistributed, retransmitted, or repurposed without the prior consent of it's owners.