The American Kennel Club is a purebred dog registry that tries to promote responsible dog breeding, with the goal of maintaining and improving the dog breed. AKC rules and regulations discourage backyard breeders and puppy mills whose chief goal is to make money. Responsible dog breeders and the dog-owning public should welcome such rules because they improve the health and well-being of individual dogs as well as the integrity and future of the breed.
Any breeding facility that keeps a number of similar dogs must have an accurate way to identify individual dogs. Methods include tagging, tattooing and microchipping, and accurate records of such identification must be on file. Female dogs in heat must be segregated from males to ensure correct parentage, and puppies from separate litters must be separated or adequately marked to ensure their identities.
All people who sell or give away an AKC-registered dog or one proclaimed to be registerable must keep accurate health, identification and lineage documentation. Records include accurate listing of breed, sex, date of birth, markings, registered name, as well as the breeder's identity information and to whom the dog was transferred. Dog matings must be logged with information about the sire and dam, the owners of the sire and dam and date of the mating. Breeders can contact the AKC for details about exactly what information must be recorded and maintained. Breeders who fail to keep identifying records can be denied registration for their dogs.
The AKC requires that a breeding facility be structurally sound, large enough for the breed size and number of occupants, and provide adequate protection from the weather. The cages and kennels should be clean, have no dangerous or unsafe properties, have adequate light and ventilation, and provide appropriate bedding materials.
AKC investigators have the right to inspect a breeding facility to determine the health of the dogs. Animals should appear active, free from parasites and disease, and adequately groomed. They should have access to clean water, adequate food, and an exercise area.
The AKC strives to work with breeders to maintain the standards of the registry. AKC investigators have the right to make announced or unannounced visits to a breeding facility to determine whether it meets those standards. Typically, the organization tries to work with breeders to help them comply and only takes action against the breeder if the breeder refuses to take the recommended actions. Investigators will also make visits to kennels that have received repeated complaints from the public.