What club does your dog belong to?

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, September 5, 2009

Have you ever wondered what a dog’s registration really means.

Many times you see ads in the pet section of the classifieds that read “with papers” or “registered.” Those statements can mean many different things.

There are three popular canine registration clubs. They are the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Continental Kennel Club (CKC).

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The AKC is the oldest and the largest of the three. It was started by twelve sportsman in 1884. While not the only focus of the AKC, the majority of AKC events focus on the conformation of a dog. Conformation refers to the build and looks of a dog. The AKC has written breed standards for the conformation of the all 158 breeds recognized by the club. An example of a popular AKC conformation show is the Westminster Dog Show in New York City. The AKC has a strong reputation of registering the finest purebred dogs.

The UKC was established in 1898. The UKC puts more emphasis on a dog’s performance rather than just conformation.

In fact, over 60% of their events are test of hunting ability, training, and instinct. The events held by the UKC are created for dogs that look and perform these task equally well. Other programs they offer include agility trials, obedience trials, dock jumping events, retrieving test, pointing dog events, and many more.

The UKC prides itself on the events they hold being family oriented, friendly, and educational.

The CKC is the newest of the three. The CKC began in 1991. The Continental Kennel Club is a registry for purebred, developmental, and miscellaneous breed dogs.

The CKC recognizes many of the same breeds as that of the AKC but also accepts them in a greater variety, for example they accept breeds in colors that are not recognized by the AKC.

The CKC says they support the belief that dogs should be functioning and performing according to all the special proposes they were created for, and that dog owners should actively participate in developing their unique skills.

Each of the clubs holds their own conformation shows and performance trials. There are many other pet registries out there but these are the three that I see the most.

A pet registered by one club does not mean it is better than one registered by another club. As a matter of fact some the best companions in the world are not registered at all. Our local shelters are full of awesome pets looking for a home.

There are a few things to remember before going puppy shopping, whether be for a purebred pup or a shelter dog.

Always do your research before picking out the newest member of your family. Choose a pet the will be a good fit for your family’s lifestyle. Know their predicted size and future health and grooming needs. If you are purchasing from a breeder, ask to see the parents.

Don’t let getting a puppy be a spontaneous decision, because they are a ten to twenty year commitment.

If you are planning on a purebred dog, check the facts about a breed’s temperament, activity level, and common health problems.

Check the shelters for pets who are longing for second chances. And remember, Every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop