The American Kennel Club. The AKC. Everyone's heard of it. But, really, what does it do?
Founded in 1884 during a meeting of breed club presidents in Philadelphia, the "club of clubs" eventually established office space in New York City. Today, the AKC's mission is five-fold:
1. Maintain a registry for purebred dogs and uphold the integrity of that registry.
2. Promote the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function.
3. Advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion.
4. Advance canine health and well being.
5. Work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership.
World's largest registry of purebred dogs
The American Kennel Club (AKC), www.akc.org, is the world's largest registry of purebred dogs. The AKC is also the nation's leading not-for-profit organization devoted to the studying, breeding, exhibiting and advancement of purebred dogs. Last year, the AKC sanctioned and regulated 21,429 competitive dog events for 603 member clubs. In addition, 4,253 licensed and sanctioned clubs held events under AKC rules and regulations.
Advocate for responsible ownership
In addition to purebred registration and judging, the AKC advocates canine good health and responsible ownership. As its tagline says, "We're more than champion dogs. We're the dog's champion."
The AKC provides public education, tests and deems dogs as "Canine Good Citizens." The AKC Canine Health Foundation develops resources for basic and applied health programs.
The AKC also has the affiliated Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) program, dedicated to reuniting lost pets with their owners. With more than 3.7 million pets of every species enrolled in the program, CAR recovers a lost pet nearly every seven minutes.
AKC papers don't guarantee a healthy dog
According to its website: "There is a widely held belief that `AKC' or `AKC papers' guarantee the quality of a dog. This is not the case. AKC is a registry body. A registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam, born on a known date. It in no way indicates the quality or state of health of the dog."
Legislation and lobbying
"We also are involved in the rise of anti-dog legislation, such as breed-specific legislation, limit laws and mandatory spay/neuter. We are opposed to any law that threatens the right to own, breed and show dogs," Okas says.
La Donna Seely is a volunteer for A Rotta Love Plus, www.arottalove.org, an award-winning rottweiler and pit bull rescue, adoption and education organization.
A breed apart