Established in 1884, the oldest and probably best known, not-for-profit registry for purebred dogs in the United States is the American Kennel Club. Registry with the AKC typically requires only that your dog, her parents and ancestors be purebred. Spayed and neutered dogs are eligible for registration but not for competition in conformation shows. These events are strictly for evaluating breeding stock, so spayed dogs don’t qualify. But don’t despair -- as anybody owned by a dog knows, conformation isn’t everything.
The AKC recognizes that there’s more to dogs than mere beauty, so it sanctions shows, trials and field events in which all registered dogs are eligible to compete. Altered dogs of all breeds are welcome to test their skills and compete for championships in agility trials, flyball, junior showmanship, obedience trials, rally trials and tracking tests. Altered dogs may compete in specialty events specific to their breed or type, such as earthdog trials, hunt tests and lure coursing.
Purebred canines who can’t be listed in the AKC’s regular registry include unregistered litters or pups with unregistered parents, dogs whose owners have lost or breeders have retained their papers, and many adopted from shelters and rescues. The AKC permits registration under the PAL/ILP (Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege) Program. Mixed-breed dogs are accepted by the AKC Canine Partners Program. All these athletes are eligible for performance events and must be spayed to participate.
- American Kennel Club: A Beginner’s Guide to Dog shows
- American Kennel Club: Winning Spirit -- Dog Shows, Trials and Field Events
- American Kennel Club: Obedience Regulations, Rally Regulations
- American Kennel Club: AKC Recognition of Flyball Titles
- American Kennel Club: Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege
- American Kennel Club: AKC Canine Partners Program
- Dog Channel: Showing Spayed or Neutered Dogs
- The Morning Call: Understanding Dog Shows From a Judge’s Perspective
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