The American Kennel Club, the AKC, is a not-for-profit group that protects the purity of its dog breed registry and fights to protect the health and well-being of family pets of all breeds. The AKC has been in existence since 1884 and is the world’s oldest not-for-profit registry, with more than 190 breeds held within its ledger. There are several arms to the work of the AKC, including lobbying the government for laws regarding the health and well-being of all dogs.
The History of the AKC
By the end of the 19th-century, dog breeders had begun to show their dogs at events around the U.S. In response to the popularity of these dog shows and field trials, J.M. Taylor and Elliot Smith attempted to establish a dog club to govern U.S. events. The first meeting of the “club of clubs” was held in the meeting rooms of the Philadephia Kennel Club in 1884. A total of 12 members made their way to the Philadelphia meeting to attend the first meeting of the American Kennel Club.
The first President of the AKC was Major James M. Taylor, who began work on the first version of the studbook. Work on the first reliable studbook picked up pace under the leadership of August Belmont Jr. in 1888. The descendants of August Belmont Jr and Alfred P. Vredenburgh, the third President, began a long period at the head of the AKC. In the early part of the 20th-century, the Vredenburgh/Belmont reign produced the basis of the studbook that is still in use.
Playing a Role in Public Life
The American Kennel Club is committed to playing a role in the public life of the U.S.A. The group has been working to extend its reach into government from the local to the federal level. The AKC monitors the laws governing dog ownership and addresses any changes that could affect the lives of dogs and dog owners. Working to protect the rights of dogs and dog owners is combined with their work to educate the public about the responsibilities of dog ownership.
Educating the public about the responsibilities of dog ownership has taken the AKC down several different paths. The Canine Good Citizen Program highlights dogs that show good behavior in their lives. The program runs annually, with more than 30,000 dogs certified as displaying good behavior every year.
Caring for the Future of Canines
The work of the AKC is not only looking at the health and wellbeing of purebred canines. Instead, a widespread rescue network handling the work of 450 groups. The health of dogs is important, with the AKC finding research into several aspects of canine health. A DNA collection program is the largest database in the world to verify the parentage of dogs seeking registration with the AKC.