Show Names for Dogs

By Emma Riley Sutton

Naming a show dog is a bit more complicated than naming a pet dog. Although the owner or handler can call the dog whatever they choose, the dog's registered name must follow strict guidelines set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Length Restrictions

The AKC will not approve any names over 30 characters long. This includes spaces between names, numbers and any punctuation such as hyphens and apostrophes.


All names for show dogs must be written using only English letters. Foreign names are allowed as long as they are written with standard English letters. Accent marks will not be printed on the dog's registration.

Numbers Used in Names

Arabic numbers are allowed to be used. Ordinal numbers such as first and second are allowed. Romans numerals, however, are not allowed at the end of the name of show dogs.

Repeated Names

The AKC allows up to 37 dogs of the same breed to be registered by the same name. The AKC reserves the right to add Roman numerals at the end of the names in order to distinguish between the different dogs.

Names Not Permitted

AKC show terms or titles such as "champion" cannot be added to the names of show dogs. Foul language or derogatory terms cannot be used. This includes words used that would be offensive to different races, nationalities and beliefs.

AKC Approval

All names must be approved by the American Kennel Club. There are no exceptions to this rule. Unless the name is approved by the AKC, you will not be able to register the dog with them.