How to Register a Dog with the AKC
The American Kennel Club (AKC) allows you to register “purebred dogs,” or dogs who belong to an approved dog breed and have a registration numbers. You can sign your dog up for an alternative program if it doesn’t have a registration number, but it won’t be officially registered. Registering your dog will make it eligible to compete in AKC events and will help if you want to sell or breed your dog in the future. Whether you are registering a single dog or a whole litter of puppies, it’s a simple process.
Registering a Purebred Dog with a Registration Number
1. Locate your dog’s registration number. When you buy an eligible dog, it will come with a certificate showing its parentage and proving that it’s a purebred. The AKC Registration Number will appear on the certificate.
- If your dog didn’t come with a certificate, you won’t be able to register it for official AKC status.
2. Choose an AKC-approved name for your dog. You have the right to name your dog if you own it while registering with the AKC, but the AKC has specific rules about what kind of names are allowed. The name has to be 50 characters, though there’s an extra fee for names over 36 characters. The letters have to be in English, with no roman numerals and no accent marks. There are many words that aren’t allow in names, such as champion, or other show terms, derogatory words, breed names alone, or words like male, stud, sire, or female.
- You have to register an imported dog with the same name it was registered with in its birth country, except you can add a Registered Kennel Name.
- The AKC only allows 37 dogs of each breed to have the same name.
- Check whether the name will work using the dog name tool online: https://www.apps.akc.org//apps/reg/namecheck/
3. Register a US-born dog and pay the fee on AKC’s website. If your dog was born in the US, you can register online at the AKC website. Just fill out the form with your dog’s registration number, name, and your contact information. If you bought your dog from a breeder, they may have prepaid the dog registration fee, but you may also have to pay the fee yourself.
- Find the prepaid or new owner forms on the AKC website, at https://www.akc.org/register/dog/.
- Even if your breeder already prepaid your dog registration fee, you still have to register your ownership of the dog online.
4. Mail a foreign dog application for dogs born outside the US. Download the Foreign Dog Registration Application from the AKC website. Along with the application form, you’ll have to mail in photocopies of the certificate of registration and the 3-generation Certified Pedigree. Also, include 2 color photographs of the dog standing, 1 from the front and 1 from the side, with the dog’s name and registration number on the back of each photograph.
- Find the application here:http://images.akc.org/pdf/ADIMPT.pdf<
- Mail the completed application with attachments to: The American Kennel Club, P.O. Box 900058 Raleigh, NC, 27675-9058
5. Use Open Registration if your dog’s breed was recently registered. Sometimes, the AKC accepts new breeds as official breeds. When this happens, the AKC sets a limited time frame within which you can register your dog through Open Registration. To be eligible, the dog must first be registered with an approved domestic registry and registered to the same owner who appears on the domestic registry certificate.
- Find out acceptable domestic registries, breeds eligible for open registration, and time frames for each dog breed by visiting: https://www.akc.org/register/information/open-registration/
Enrolling a Dog without a Registration Number
1. Visit the AKC website to learn if your dog is a purebred. There are many different kinds of dogs and dog breeds out there, but the AKC has specific standards and rules for what counts as a purebred. The AKC recognizes 193 breeds. You can look through a list of all these breeds and learn more about each breed on their website, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/.
- A purebred dog will “breed true,” meaning if they have a child with another dog of their breed, the child will be recognizably of the same breed.
- Mixed breeds, such as goldendoodles or yorkipoos, don’t count as purebred.
2. Enroll your dog in Purebred Alternative Listing if it’s a purebred. If you have a purebred dog, but it’s from an unregistered litter or unregistered parents, you won’t be able to officially register your dog with the AKC. However, you can enroll the dog in the Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program, so that your dog can participate in AKC Companion and Performance Events.
- Download the form from the AKC website: https://www.akc.org/register/information/purebred-alternative-listing-pal/
- Include a $35 application fee and 2 color photos of the dog from the front and side.
- Mail the application to: The American Kennel Club/PAL, PO Box 900059, Raleigh, NC 27675-9059
3. Sign up a mixed breed dog for the Canine Partners program. It’s not the same as registering with the AKC, but the Canine Partners Program lets your mixed breed dog participate in some AKC events like agility, scent work, obedience, and tracking. You can also receive benefits like enrolling in their lost pet service and receiving their magazine. The fee for this program is $35.
- Register online at: https://www.akc.org/register/information/canine-partners/enroll/
- Or, register by mail using this form: http://images.akc.org/pdf/mixedBreed/ADM001.pdf
Filing Forms for a Litter
1. Register a litter of purebred, US-born puppies on the AKC website. You can register your litter if the puppies were born to an AKC-registered dam that was mated to an AKC-registered sire of the same dog breed. There are different forms depending on whether you own the dam (mom) and the sire (dad), just the dam, or just the sire. Visit the AKC website at https://www.akc.org/register/litter/ to find the right form for your litter.
- You’ll need to provide registration numbers for the dam and sire, the litter date of birth, and owner information.
- You also have the option of registering on paper by printing out the form on the website and then mailing it in.
2. Mail an application if the litter was conceived by artificial insemination or imported in whelp. For these special scenarios, you can’t register your litter online. Instead, visit the AKC website and print out the appropriate form. There are different forms depending on whether your litter was inseminated from fresh, fresh extended, or frozen semen. There’s a different form to register a litter of puppies from an AKC-registered female imported in whelp.
- A litter application form includes a processing fee ($30.00) plus a puppy fee (multiply the number of live puppies by $2.00), and added fees for expedited handling or late registration.
- For standard handling, send the completed application to: The American Kennel Club P.O. Box 900058 Raleigh, NC 27675-9058
- For expedited handling, send it to: The American Kennel Club P.O. Box 900055 Raleigh, NC 27675-9055
3. Register the individual puppies after you’ve registered the litter. On the same webpage as you registered the litter, there is a link to prepay the registrations for your puppies. If you’re a breeder, you have the option to prepay your customers’ registration fees for the puppies. You’ll need to log in with the litter number, dam registration number, and dam certificate issue date. Then, you can pay for the puppies.
- Once you’ve paid for the puppies, you can update their registration when they get a new owner and print a modified AKC registration form.
- You can also leave the registration fee for the new owner to pay once they buy your puppy.
- Register a litter of puppies before registering the individual puppies.
- If ownership of a dog changes from divorce, you have to register this as a transfer.
- You can’t register a dog that you got from the humane society.
- If you’re registering a dog for a minor, you’ll have to include the name of the child, the signature and relationship of the guardian, and fill out a Parental/Guardian Registration Certification Form.