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An Explanation of Common Dog Registries

Registered Dog

With so many dog registries out there and so many initials, it can be overwhelming when figuring out which registry to choose for your new dog.

Why Register A Dog?

Why is it important to register your dog? Well, it’s totally up to you, as the owner, whether or not you choose to register your dog as well as what registry you choose to use.

Dogs that will be bred and their offspring sold should be registered so that ancestry can be recorded. Also, there are many sporting events, shows and other dog competitions that will require your pup to be registered in an approved registry in order for him or her to participate.

If you don’t plan on breeding or showing/competing your dog then you may opt-out to register him, which is just as well.

If you choose to register your dog, however, you will need to decide which registry to use. This decision can be a bit overwhelming if you haven’t had past experience with the process.

Some registries have better reputations than others. While other registries only accept certain dog breeds. In this article, I will list and explain three of the most popular dog registries in the United States which are the AKC, UKC, and CKC.

dog registry show dogs

The AKC: American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club or AKC was founded in 1884. It’s the oldest dog registry in the United States. For over a century the AKC has advocated for the purebred dog. It accepts over 190 different dog breeds, however, it will only accept your dog if both his parents have been previously registered. This is to ensure that the dog being registered is, in fact, a purebred dog and not mixed. Another reason for this rule is to help ensure pristine record keeping of specific breeds.

Foreign Dogs

If your dog was imported into the United States and was registered in the country of birth with a Foreign Registry Organization then the registration for your dog into the AKC may be transferred over through it’s Special Registry Services.

AKC Sporting Events

The AKC holds more than 22,000 shows and sporting events each year. At these events, dogs perform and are judged in a multitude of categories. If you want your dog to participate in one of these events, he will need to be registered with the AKC.

Through the AKC Canine Partners, mixed-breed dogs are allowed to register and participate in AKC sporting events. If you own a purebred dog whose parents are not registered with the AKC and you would like for him to participate then you can register through PAL, Purebred Alternative Listing. Neither one of these forms of registry is considered to be “meaningful” when it comes to the quality of pedigree of a dog.

For more information on the AKC, you can check out their website by clicking here.

AKC dog registry sports events

The UKC: United Kennel Club

The United Kennel Club or UKC is an equally respected registry based in the United States. The UKC is an international dog registry that has been around since 1898. They recognize over 300 different dog breeds including many rare breeds that the AKC does not recognize.

Purebred dogs are accepted into the registry if there is a UKC record of his parents’ registry.

Also, if your dog is currently registered via an approved registry, the registration for your dog can be transferred over if it meets the Single Registration Requirements.

UKC Sporting Events

The UKC promotes the concept of a total dog. This is a dog that can perform as well as it looks. This club also hosts its own shows and events throughout the year. It understands that dogs are working animals. Therefore, the majority of their sporting events are based on hunting ability, training, and instinct.

In an effort to accept all dogs into their competition, the UKC allows registration for mixed breed dogs, purebred dogs of unknown pedigree, purebred dogs with UKC breed standard disqualifications; or, breeds not recognized by the UKC. However, this registration is called the Performance Listing and its’ only value is to allow your dog to participate in UKC competitions. This registration does not come with breeding rights, and does not keep a record of pedigree.

For more information on the UKC, you can check out their website by clicking here.

The CKC: Continental Kennel Club

The CKC or Continental Kennel Club, not to be confused with the Canadian Kennel Club, accepts dogs of all ages, purebred or mixed into their standard registry. Due to this fact alone most reputable dog breeders will tell you that the Continental Kennel Club is not a respected club.

The CKC works great for Designer Breeds that are popular but not recognized by the AKC or UKC due to it being a mix of two different purebreds. For example the Schnoodle (Miniature Schnauzer/Miniature Poodle), Pomsky (Pomeranian/Husky), Maltipoo (Maltese/Poodle).

Breeders are constantly cross-breeding dogs, hoping to obtain specific traits of certain breeds into one breed, thus creating a better dog/breed. However, until the AKC or UKC choose to recognize designer breeds, they will continue to be registered through the CKC only.

Schnoodle CKC dog registry

To register a mixed or designer breed dog you will need to fill out this application.

The registry also, of course, accepts dogs that have been previously registered with other approved registries. As well as dogs whose both parents are registered with the CKC or a CKC approved registry. If your dog meets any of these criteria then you will need to submit this application.

Registering A Dog Without Ancestry Information

If you don’t have any ancestry information on a purebred dog and you wish to register him you can do that through the CKC. You will need to submit specific photos, height, and weight. You’ll need to get witness signatures confirming that the photos and statements made regarding the dog are in fact a true and accurate depiction of the dog. Upon receipt of the PAW Registration Application, the CKC Breed Committee will evaluate the photos to determine if your dog is, in fact, a purebred.

One of the downfalls of having a dog registered with the CKC through PAW Registration would be questioning its true pedigree. If the CKC only uses pictures and physical traits to determine the breed of a dog then it leaves a lot to question.

For example, say there was a dog whose mother was a Belgian Malinois and father was a German Shepard. If the dog looked like his mother than according to the CKC’s registration process, he would likely be labeled as a purebred Belgian Malinois. His papers would show no record of having been bred from a German Shepard.

Again, for this reason, the CKC has had a difficult time earning a respectable reputation with dog breeders and dog registries of purebred dogs who strive to ensure proper breed standards and beauty of every dog breed they accept.

CKC Shows and Events

The CKC does also host shows and events throughout the year for their dogs. For more information on this registry and its’ shows check out their website by clicking here.

Other Dog Registries

There are many other breed specific dog registries in the United States but these three are the ones that accept a vast majority of breeds and they should be all that you need to obtain proper documentation for your dog.

Which dog registry is your fur baby involved with?  Have you participated in any shows?  Let us know in the comments below.


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