Press release: The American Kennel Club (AKC)
On September 17, 1884, a group of 12 dedicated sportsmen from local dog clubs convened to form the American Kennel Club (AKC). And now 135 years later, the AKC has grown into the world’s largest not-for-profit dog registry and is the second oldest amateur sport-governing body in the country.
The AKC is the premier destination for all things dog and continues to promote canine health and well-being and responsible dog ownership, throughout the years. Through public education programs, legislative and advocacy efforts, advancing canine health and working to protect the rights of all dog owners, the AKC provides the highest level of guidance to over 5,000 clubs and affiliated organizations nationally.
“The AKC has evolved tremendously throughout the course of its 135-year history,” said AKC president and CEO Dennis Sprung. “As a club of clubs, with Board leadership, breeders, exhibitors, delegates and judges, we are as focused as ever on our mission and continue to respect our traditions while looking for more ways to promote responsible dog ownership, bring new people to our sports and protect the welfare of every dog and their owners.”
The 135th year brought many exciting things. In addition to the success of our conformation, companion and performance events, the AKC recognized its 193rd breed, the Azawakh, in January. Litter and individual registrations continue to increase. The AKC Museum of the Dog returned to New York City in February to rave reviews and thousands of visitors in its opening months. February also marked the 10th annual AKC Meet the Breeds, the wildly popular educational initiative that gives attendees the unique opportunity to meet and play with hundreds of dog and cat breeds while learning about responsible ownership from Parent Club experts. A brand-new competition, the AKC Agility Premier Cup presented by EEM, debuted on April 25th and was held in conjunction with the Longines Masters of New York. The event marked the first time that AKC Agility was held at an Equestrian event. In August, AKC celebrated the milestone of one million dogs having passed the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. The CGC program continues to thrive and is in its 30th year.
Additionally, the Public Education department rolled out two new programs this year which further promote the importance of the human-canine bond. The AKC B.A.R.K (Be A Reading Kid) Program is a program designed to get children excited about reading, where they will read to a dog of their choosing and a parent or guardian will assist them in logging their hours on the AKC website After reaching certain milestones, children will receive incentives for the hours they have read. Dogs participating in the program will be acknowledged with a certificate for their volunteerism. Most recently, the AKC PupPals Program was launched and provides dog owners a unique opportunity to uplift a child who is seeking the comfort only a dog can provide. Dog owners who sign up for this program submit a photo of their dog and information about it. The AKC Public Education Department will use this to create a card and personalized letter for the child in need, enhancing the human-canine bond.