Dog Breed Registries in North America


Breed Registries — The Basics

The oldest and most recognized all-breed registries in North America are the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC). These registries exist to promote and advance the purebred dog. They approve breed standards, maintain birth records of registered dogs, promote responsible dog ownership, sponsor and sanction dog shows and performance events, maintain official records for these events, and award titles.

Registration is not, however, proof of quality. The breed registries essentially handle the paperwork for keeping records and, though they do have rules and regulations that must be followed, they do not manage the breeders. In simple terms, a registered puppy means that he was born to registered parents. The responsible breeder's main goal in breeding is always to improve on their breed and in the end, in your search for a purebred dog, it is your responsibility to be very selective and verify the breeder you choose.

So, how important is the registration of a dog? That depends on what you are looking for. If your goal is to have a dog that you can compete with in the show ring and various events and, obviously, if you are a breeder, then registration papers are very important. If your goal is to simply find a good companion dog and the breed is not a major concern, then go to your local shelter or contact one of the many rescue organizations listed throughout this website. If you are, however, looking for a specific breed, a purebred dog, registration papers are still important even if you have no intentions of showing or competing with your dog. Why? Because, although the registration of a dog doesn't guarantee quality, a reputable breed registry does provide the opportunity for a dog to prove his quality through competition by earning titles — those letters found in front or behind the dog's name signify titles earned. It provides you with the ability to see the chosen puppy's ancestry. It also provides a means for a responsible breeder to track the pedigree of breeding stock and make an educated decision on breeding.

In addition to the three reputable all-breed registries stated above, there are also several breed clubs with their own registries, such as the Canadian Border Collie Association (CBCA) which is the registry for purebred Border Collies in Canada and the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) which is the largest single breed dog registry in North America.

There are also several rare breeds which are not recognized by the AKC, CKC or UKC — although the UKC does recognize many rare breeds not recognized by the AKC or CKC. One of the best known Rare Breed registries is the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) which recognizes Rare Breeds that are recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) but may not be recognized by the AKC. In addition, ARBA also recognizes breeds of U.S. origin that have standards and parent clubs as approved by their board of directors. ARBA's services include Rare Breed Dog registrations, Conformation Dog shows, Judges seminars, and public awareness and education of the Rare Breed Dog.

If the breed you are looking for is not recognized by any of these all-breed registries, then it is important to find out which registries do recognize the breed (quite often this will be from the breed's country of origin and/or a breed club) and which breed registries are used by ethical breeders.


Purpose of this Document

This article is included here to provide you with a little bit of information about some of the other or alternate all-breed registries in North America, and there are several. In your research to finding a responsible and reputable breeder, the registry used by the breeder does play a very important part. If the breed is a recognized CKC, AKC and/or UKC breed but the breeder is not registering his/her dogs with one of these registries, be very cautious and find out why. There are several reasons why a breeder would choose one of these other registries, but the vast majority of reasons are not good. It could be that the breeder has been suspended from the AKC, CKC, or UKC; or that the breeder refuses to abide by the registries codes of ethics; or one of many other reasons.

The bottom line is: Caution must be exercised if the dog breed you are seeking is a recognized CKC, AKC, or UKC breed but the breeder has not used one of these registries. In addition, even if the breed is not a recognized CKC, AKC or UKC breed, you need to find a breeder who is registering his dogs with the most reputable registry — single-breed or all-breed. If the dog is not from North America, he may be registered under one of the Fédération Internationale Cynologique (FCI)* member clubs or the Kennel Club (KC) (United Kingdom) — Both of these organizations are reputable and very well recognized all over the world.

The Fédération Internationale Cynologique (FCI) is the World Canine Organisation, including 80 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 332 breeds, with each being the "property" of a specific country. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.


A Brief Outline of the Three Largest All-Breed Registries in North America

  • Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) — The Canadian Kennel Club is the primary registry body for purebred dogs in Canada. It recognizes over 160 breeds and is a non-profit organization dedicated to "encouraging, guiding, and advancing...the interests of purebred dogs and their responsible owners and breeders in Canada" and "promoting the knowledge and understanding of the benefits which dogs can bring to Canadian society..."

    All recognized Canadian-born purebred dogs must be registered with the CKC at birth in order to be considered purebred, and only dogs imported from other countries can be registered with the CKC when they are adults. In addition, all dogs registered with the CKC must be permanently identified, either by microchip or tattoo. It is the responsibility of the seller or importer of the dog, not the buyer, to register and permanently identify the dog.

    The CKC is incorporated under the Animal Pedigree Act, a federal statute under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture. The CKC includes approximately 25,000 individual members and over 700 breed clubs across Canada. They register purebred dogs; act as the sanctioning body for dog shows, performance events, field trials, tracking tests and hunt tests; maintain the official records for these events; award championship titles based on performance; and speak out on major issues concerning dog ownership and the health & welfare of dogs across Canada. The CKC registers approximately 100,000 purebred dogs every year and the registry currently contains over 3 million purebred dog records.

    Click Here to view the Canadian Kennel Club Code of Ethics.

    Note: In Canada, in order to be designated as "purebred", a dog must be registerable/registered with the Canadian Kennel Club or another association under the Animal Pedigree Act. See Below for further details on Registries in Canada.

  • American Kennel Club (AKC) — The AKC is a not-for-profit organization established in 1884. The American Kennel Club maintains a purebred dog registry, sanctions dog events and promotes responsible dog ownership. See the AKC's Mission Statement for further details. The AKC offers a comprehensive set of voluntary and mandatory programs to ensure the integrity of the AKC registry: voluntary DNA certification; the Frequently Used Sires requirement*; the Fresh-Extended/Frozen Semen requirement; the Multiple-Sired Litter Registration Policy; and the Kennel Inspections/Compliance Audit Program. The AKC has built the world's largest database of canine DNA profiles for parentage verification and genetic identity purposes. See DNA and the AKC for further details.

    *Effective for litters whelped on or after July 1, 2000, every sire producing seven or more litters in his lifetime or producing more than three litters in a calendar year must be AKC DNA Certified.

  • United Kennel Club (UKC) — The United Kennel Club is the largest performance dog registry in the world with 300,000 registrations annually. Founded in 1898, it is the second oldest all-breed registry in the United States. The UKC supports a "Total Dog" philosophy with emphasis not only on the dogs appearances but also on performance. UKC progams not only include Conformation Shows but also Obedience and Agility Trials, Weight Pull Events, Terrier Races, Earth Work Events, Junior Programs, Coonhound Field Trials, Water Races, Hunt Tests for retrieving breeds, Pointing Dog Events, Beagle Events, and several others. The UKC also has a "Limited Privilege" program whereby all dogs that are spayed/neutered may compete. This includes mixed breed dogs, purebred dogs of unknown pedigree, as well as purebred dogs with disqualifying faults. "The UKC world of dogs is a working world."

    Click here to view the UKC Breeders' Code of Ethics.


Breed Registries in Canada

In Canada, in order to be designated as "purebred", a dog must be registerable/registered with the Canadian Kennel Club or another association under the Animal Pedigree Act. The Act promotes breed improvement through the incorporation of animal pedigree associations. These associations take on the responsibility of establishing a registry and representing breeders throughout Canada. Their primary responsibilities are to maintain pedigree records and issue certificates of registration. Eligibility to incorporate a breed association is limited to Canadian citizens or permanent residents and only one breed association may be incorporated for each distinct breed or evolving breed.

Any dog sold in Canada as a purebred dog must be registered with one of the following organizations:

  • Canadian Kennel Club — See above for additional information on the Canadian Kennel Club.
  • Canadian Border Collie Association (CBCA) — The registry of purebred Border Collies in Canada, incorporated under the Animal Pedigree Act.
  • Canadian Livestock Records Corporation (CLRC) — The Canadian Livestock Records Corporation is the national pedigree service for purebred and non-purebred livestock in Canada. A private, non-profit organization which was established in 1905, the CLRC is incorporated under the Animal Pedigree Act. The CLRC provides a complete line of services with respect to registration of animals, as well as several association related services.
  • Canine Federation of Canada (CFC) / Fédération Canine du Canada"The mission of the Canine Federation of Canada is to serve and protect the "Rare Breed Dog" in Canada." The CFC is incorporated under the Animal Pedigree Act and recognizes many rare breeds which are not recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club. The CFC registers, establishes standards of breeding, maintains pedigrees, and issues certificates and statistics concerning recognized breeds. The CFC also adopts and implements the rules and regulations governing dog shows, obedience trials and various other trials. Dogs registered with the CFC receive a certificate of registration and a pedigree of each dog registered is retained on record in the CFC Stud Book, Canadian Livestock Records Corporation.


Other All-Breed Registries:

The following is a list (in alphabetical order) of some of the other all-breed registries in existence in North America. (Please note that this is not a complete listing.) As previously stated, caution should be exercised if the breed you are seeking is a recognized CKC, AKC, or UKC breed but the breeder is not registering his/her dogs with one of these registries. Many breeders use these alternate all-breed registries because they are not able to meet the more demanding requirements of the CKC, AKC, or UKC.

If the dog breed you are interested in is not a recognized CKC, AKC or UKC breed, you need to find a breeder who is registering his dogs with the most reputable registry — single-breed or all-breed. If the dog is not from North America, he may be registered under one of the Fédération Internationale Cynologique (FCI)* member clubs or the Kennel Club (KC) (United Kingdom) — Both of these organizations are reputable and very well recognized all over the world.

The information shown in quotations are direct quotes from the registry's web site and speaks for itself as to the goals of some of these registries.

  • American Canine Association (ACA)"America's largest veterinary health tracking purebred canine registry."Note: In the "Find A Puppy" section of their website, dog/puppy seekers are referred to pet/retail stores. Very little information is available on the website regarding their goals or mission as a registry.
  • American Purebred Registry (APR) — The APR issues registration certificates for dogs and cats. The organization was started in 1979 to help overcome problems with lost registration papers, whatever the reason. A pedigree file is started based on the information provided by the owner. APR does not register crossbreeds. Once APR accepts an application, a registration certificate is issued and the animal is considered registered. APR is a record keeping agency only and does not sponsor dog shows, field trials or competitions of any kind.
  • America's Pet Registry Inc. (APRI)"An internationally recognized association of responsible pet owners, breeders, distributors, veterinarians, retailers, pet product manufacturers, and other concerned parties dedicated to the humane care of animals, the preservation of quality bloodlines, and the individual's right of pet ownership." APRI recently re-incorporated as a for-profit corporation. APRI was started as an insurance for the pet industry, encouraging and promoting the sale of dogs and cats through pet stores and distributors. APRI does not register cross breeds, animals without prior registration as purebreds, or mongrels. APRI has acquired Academic Kennel Records, another dog registration service. Academic Kennel Records is an open registration service that allows the introduction of foundation stock, thus allowing APRI to also offer this service. — APRI promotes and encourages the sale of dogs and cats through distributors and retailers: "America's Pet Registry, Inc. was begun as insurance for the pet industry..." "APRI offers free dual registrations on dogs from reputable registration services to professional breeders. We classify a professional breeder as one who has three or more breeding females and who regularly sells puppies in the pet market."

    APRI Code of Ethics

  • American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) — The American Rare Breed Association is One of the best known rare breed registries in North America. ARBA recognizes rare breeds that are recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) but may not be recognized by the American Kennel Club. ARBA also recognizes breeds of U.S. origin that have standards and parent clubs as approved by their board of directors. ARBA's services include Rare Breed Dog registrations, Conformation Dog shows, Judges seminars, and public awareness and education of the Rare Breed Dog.
  • Animal Research Foundation (ARF)"America's Oldes All-Breed Registry; We register all standard breeds and new breeds. Rare breed survival. Established 1947." Mr.Tom D. Stodghill established ARF in 1947 as a registry for English Shepherds, Catahoula Leopards, Australian Cattle dog Queensland Heelers, Australian Shepherds, Rat Terriers, American Bulldogs, and all other recognized dog breeds. In addition, ARF also registers cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and new and rare breeds of animals. From 1953 thru 1988, Mr. Stodghill held annual Cowdog trials.
    ARF Policy & Registration Procedures
  • Continental Kennel Club (CKC)Note: This registry is also known as the CKC and should not be confused with the Canadian Kennel Club — These are two completely separate registries. — The Continental Kennel Club has a section known as "Miscellaneous Breed Registration" which allows for the crossing of two purebred parents of different breed types to produce hybrid puppies. Registered as MISC/BREED1-BREED2 and isolated from purebred registrations, they are distinguished from other breeds on registration certificates by having "non-purebred" printed on their registration certificates. For developing new breeds, the Continental Kennel Club lists these in the "Development Class". The Continental Kennel Club has implemented a classified section on their site where club members can advertise their breeds. If you have a look at some of the more popular breeds such as the Cocker Spaniel, some of the kennels advertising there include breeders of cock-a-poos and other crosses. The Continental Kennel Club's website provides very little information regarding their goals or mission as a registry. For more information, however, there is a very thorough web page at: Continental Kennel Club FAQ.
    - Continental Kennel Club Rules & Regulations
  • Dog Registry of America (DRA) — (Formerly the US Kennel Club) Statements directly from the Registry's home page: "DRA Registers rare breeds and exotic breeds. DRA Registers 'Unrecognized Breeds'" "DRA registers poodle crosses such as cocker-poos, peke-a-poo's as a separate class DRA takes the red tape out of registration." "Tired of registration & documentation hassles? Starting your own blood line? Lost or never had papers? Developing new breeds? Breed not recognized? DRA Registers all purebred dogs."
  • Federation of International Canines (FIC) —(Not to be confused with the FCI - Fédération Cynologique Internationale) — From the FIC's website: "A registry founded for the preservation and continuation of all native dog breeds, in their pure forms, from all countries around the world. Currently recognizing over four hundred breeds, the FIC acknowledges the very rare as well as the better known breeds." The FIC's services include registration of individual dogs and litters, certified pedigrees, as well as sanctioned shows, matches and conformation championships. Working titles are awarded at all FIC shows and all shows sanctioned by the FIC. According to their website, the FIC is one of the fastest growing registries worldwide. The FIC offers special registration programs for breeds under development and they offer multiple dog registration discounts.
  • International Progressive Dog Breeders' Alliance (IPDBA)"IPDBA, founded in 1996 is the first registry of its kind, uniting breeders and enthusiasts of all breeds of dogs in one unique registry. The IPDBA is composed of Chartered Breed Associations. Each Chartered Breed Association has full control of their breed standard and the requirements for registration. The founders of the International Progressive Dog Breeders' Alliance believe that the breeding of all animals is an art form, and as such, breeders should have the freedom to express themselves and their vision for their breed(s) in their breeding programs." "The IPDBA currently recognizes more than 550 new and old breeds of dogs, making it the largest all-breed registry in the world." "IPDBA recognizes all breeds recognized for championship competition in at least one other association which has been established for the purposes of registration and exhibition of all breeds. IPDBA may accept any new breed regardless of ancestry for registration purposes provided it meets the criteria of being phenotypically different from an existing recognized breed. Acceptance may be denied if there is sound scientific evidence that there are inherent genetic problems deleterious to the health of the dogs in question which cannot be eliminated though selective breeding. Non-purebred dogs are not eligible for registration unless registered as a foundation for a breed."
  • National Kennel Club (NKC) — The National Kennel Club was established in 1970. Rare breeds are shown with equal status to major breeds. The NKC licenses all-breed dog shows, events for Coon Dogs, Beagles, Squirrel Dogs, Bird Dogs, Fox Dogs, Licensed Dog Kennels, Show Judges and other related events.
  • North American Purebred Dog Registry (NAPDR) — The NAPDR was formed in 1998 and, according to their web site "is one of the fastest growing registries in the U.S. and Canada." The NAPDR recognizes over 300 breeds. Purebred dogs with no registration papers can also be registered. A commercial rate for registration is available to breeders who own five or more adult dogs of breeding age.
  • United All Breed Registry (UABR)"[United] is a registry service so unique that it has received two U.S. Patents, and is used to register individual animals, breeding stock, and litters; and will compliment any other registry service from the rare breeds to the AKC breeds." The UABR promotes the sale of pets through retailers — from their "About Us" page: "UNITED recommends consumers looking for a pet be advised by professional retailers who can help them make a more informed decision and can match the right breed to their situation." and "UNITED promotes retailers as a reliable source of healthy pets. We sight the "Source of Acquisition Study" published in the "Journal Of The American Veterinary Medical Association" as factual documentation that the health of puppies purchased from retailers are equal and in many ways superior to those attained from other sources."
  • Universal Kennel Club International (UKCI) — The following comes directly from the registry's "about us" page: "Universal specializes in registering purebred canines of all breeds and fully servicing their needs. We also register poos, hybrids and rarebreeds under special registration programs. Universal is becoming a leader in many areas of the pet industry..." and from other sections of the web site: "Universal Unique Registry System for any pure breed dog that for whatever reason is not registered in a litter or either of its sire/dam were not registered with any registry or if perhaps for whatever reason you were denied registry and your dog is at least one year old." Universal also provides bulk discounts to breeders.
  • World Kennel Club (WKC) — "The WKC® registers all dogs that are pure-bred only, which may or may not be registered with any other kennel club or those that have no previous history of their Sire or Dam." — Very little information is available on the website.
  • World Wide Kennel Club (WWKC) — The WWKC was originally formed in Europe in 1961 to address the need for an International Registry for purebred dogs. It relocated to the U.S. and held its first dog show and obedience trial in February 1990. "WWKC's objectives include a policy to adopt and enforce uniform rules and regulations for the improvement of all breeds." WWKC provides all registry services including the registration of purebred, pedigreed dog breeds, including international and rare breeds. The WWKC recognizes all registries and clubs that are working toward the improvement of any breed. The WWKC recognizes all registries. "WWKC is a major registry service; registering purebred, pedigreed dog breeds, including international and rare breeds..." "The World Wide Kennel Club, Ltd. encourages breed improvement by requiring the same basic adherence to breed standards as other registry services require. However, WWKC goes one step further by offering International Registrations for all countries. WWKC recognizes and is willing to work with all registries and Clubs that are working toward the improvement of any breed. Owners of any dog registered with any other registry are invited to register and exhibit in all WWKC dog shows and obedience trials." "The WWKC recognizes all registries. "Owners of any dog registered with any other registry are invited to register and exhibit in all WWKC dog shows and obedience trials."
    - WWKC General Information and Rules


Breed Registry Tips

The following are a few tips from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies — The source for animal welfare information in Canada — on how to spot questionable registries:

  • Questionable registries are for-profit companies, while most of the large kennel clubs and valid registries are not-for-profit organizations.
  • Questionable registries do not require proof of pedigree. Some will register any dog of any breed, as long as the owners say they are certain of the breed. Others will even register "new breeds" or mixed breeds such as Cockapoos. A few may request a photograph of the dog as the only proof of breed.
  • Many questionable registries cater to puppy mills, and offer discounts for "commercial kennels".
  • Questionable registries usually do not have codes of ethics, or standards by which members and registrants must abide.

This article is available in full at:Canadian Federation of Humane Societies; Puppy Mills — Dog buyers beware!