The American Kennel Club recognizes 175 breeds from around the world, outlining standards for breeders. Many more dog breeds exist internationally, although the AKC does not currently recognize them.
The AKC divides its recognized breeds into different classes. Breeds are separated based on activities, size and temperament, fitting into such groups as working dogs and toys. Some of the most popular dogs in the US are also the most popular AKC breeds, namely the Labrador retriever, which was ranked the nation’s most popular dog breed for the 22nd year in a row in 2012. AKC dog breeds range from the large Afghan hound to the tiny Yorkshire terrier.
Accepting New Breeds
The AKC is not a static registry, and new breeds are considered routinely. The “Miscellaneous class” in the AKC is composed of dogs enrolled in the AKC Foundation Stock Service, which promotes vigorous tracking and recording of the breed in question’s lineage until the AKC Board of Directors accepts it as a fully registered breed. Before new breeds are accepted, the American public must have interest in the breed, and a national dog club must meet AKC standards and become the parent club. Coton de Tulears and miniature American shepherds are currently in the AKC miscellaneous class.
Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.