Puppies

How to Register Purebred Puppies

You bought a puppy from a breeder and now you have questions about registering your puppy. For instance, should the paperwork already be done? How do you register purebred puppies with the AKC? We’ll answer those questions for you here.

What you should get from the breeder
When you buy a purebred puppy from a breeder, you should first make sure you know that the puppy is from a purebred, registered litter. If you want a puppy that can be registered with the American Kennel Club, be sure that this is the kind of litter you are looking at. The AKC is the largest purebred dog registry in the United States and the most respected. However, there are some 20 dog registries in the U.S. Some of them register hunting dogs, working dogs, or rare breeds. Some of them register pets or hybrid dogs. And some of them more or less take your money and don’t offer anything. The American Kennel Club has been in existence since 1884 and its stud books and registry are considered as accurate as possible. They are now backed up by DNA testing in many cases, as well as a care and condition policy for breeders and kennels, and inspections for larger breeders. It is always possible that a litter can be inaccurately registered because humans are involved in providing the information to the AKC, but AKC’s registry is probably the most accurate in the world.

When a litter is born, if the parents are AKC-registered dogs, then the breeder will fill out a litter registration form with information about the parents, the date the litter was born, and how many puppies were in the litter, as well as their gender. This can be done online or with paperwork. The AKC will register the litter and send the breeder a registration application slip for each puppy in the litter.

When you purchase a puppy from a breeder, the breeder should provide you with this registration application slip so you can register the puppy with yourself as the owner. You can go online at the AKCs web site www.akc.org/dogreg/ and register the puppy. The registration application has a PIN number that you can use to complete the registration online. Or you can fill out the registration application and mail it to the AKC with your payment.

What if the breeder doesn’t give you a registration application?
Some breeders prefer to register all of the puppies in a litter themselves, with themselves as the owner. This ensures that the puppies are individually registered. Many new owners forget to register their new puppy so there is no record of the dog with AKC. In these cases, the breeder should give you the puppy’s registration paper and sign it on the back to indicate they are transferring ownership. You simply have to sign the registration paper on the back as the new owner and mail it to the AKC with a payment to transfer the puppy’s ownership to you.

What if the breeder says they will give you the registration slip later?
This is unacceptable. If the litter has been registered with the AKC, the organization sends the registration application slips to the breeder immediately. Most breeders receive them back in the mail in just a week or so after the litter is registered, and most breeders register their litters right after birth. If the breeder registers the litter online, the process is even faster. There is plenty of time to register a litter before a puppy is sold to a new owner when he is 8 to 12 weeks old. The breeder should have the registration application slip to give to the buyer unless there is some difficulty with registering the litter. If the breeder claims the puppies are from an AKC-registered litter but does not have an AKC registration application slip to give you, you need to question them about why they do not have the application slip. If they cannot provide a satisfactory answer, you should not buy the puppy since you cannot confirm that it is eligible for AKC registration.

What is “Limited" registration?
If you are buying a puppy as a pet, especially from a show breeder, the breeder may mark the registration application slip “Limited" before it is submitted to the AKC. This means that the breeder does not consider the puppy to be suitable for breeding. The puppy can be registered the same as every other puppy or dog but any offspring produced by the puppy later cannot be registered. The puppy can also not compete in conformation dog shows. However, he can compete in all other AKC events, including Obedience, Tracking, Field Trials, Hunting Tests, Herding, Lure Coursing, Agility, Rally, and Earthdog. Limited registration can be changed by the breeder later if the dog turns out to be an outstanding representative of the breed, as long as he or she has not been spayed or neutered. In that case the dog could be shown at dog shows and his or her offspring would have full AKC registration.

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