A time-honored organization with a rich history of setting breed standards and recognition, the American Kennel Club has been an advocate for purebred dogs and their owners since 1884. Chartered in 1991, the Continental Kennel Club serves as a registry for dogs and their breeders. The CKC is more lenient than the AKC when it comes to registration, and neither conform to the exact same breed standards. Both registries require a payment for registering dogs, although the CKC offers breeders the chance for free registration for whole litters.
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American Kennel Club
From 1884 to 1929, the members of the American Kennel Club set about to craft rules and regulations similar to kennel clubs that had been established in Europe. In 1929, with the release of the book Pure Bred Dogs -- later renamed The Complete Dog Book -- the American Kennel Club set itself as one of the preeminent organizations of dog breed standards. In 1956, the AKC became the only nonprofit kennel club in the United States.
Currently, the AKC continues to host breed competitions, with 4,086 entrants in the 2013 American Kennel Club and Eukanuba National Championship. Most recently they have begun to incorporate modern technologies, including DNA testing, to ensure that registered lines of purebred dogs are correct and honest.
AKC Standards and Registration
The AKC recognizes 177 different breeds of purebred dogs, divided into seven groups:
In an invite-only annual event, "The AKC/Eukanuba National Championship," dogs who are ranked in the top 25 of their breed compete for the title of "Best in Show." Only AKC registered dogs may compete.
To be considered an AKC registered breed, both parents of the dog must be AKC-registered; each sire and dam must comply with the same requirement. Records for the American Kennel Club registry date back to its inception, so AKC-registered dogs are -- in the eyes of the organization -- certainly purebreds.
Because the AKC only recognizes purebred dogs in registered lines, they have received criticism for perpetuating hereditary genetic disorders within breeds. Further points of view also contend that because the AKC focuses solely on the physical appearance of dogs, the emotional and behavioral health standards are neglected, to the detriment of the breeds. The AKC imposes no health standards for breeding, such genetic testing for disease; the only rule is that the breeding dogs may not be younger than 8 months of age.
Continental Kennel Club
Started in Livingston, Louisiana, the Continental Kennel Club is a family based business incorporated in 1991. Founded by George Fontenot, who died in 2001, the business was handed down to Fontenot's son, Mike Roy in 2002.
CKC Standards and Registration
The CKC recognizes more than 450 breeds of dogs, and also has a category for developing "new" breeds. Although guidelines prefer that both parents be CKC-registered to claim purebred status, a puppy is considered CKC-registered as long as the dam is CKC-registered, and the sire is part of a recognized breed organization. Examples of recognized breed organizations include the Animal Research Foundation, the American Kennel Club and the Australian Labradoodle Association of America. Standard CKC pedigrees go back only four generations.
For a fee, breeders and dog owners can submit substantiating information -- typically photographic evidence -- to the Continental Kennel Club through their "PAW Evaluation Program" to have their dogs registered as purebreds.