If you’ve recently adopted a puppy and are considering whether or not to register them, there are a few steps you need to take. These steps vary depending on the organization you’re registering with and whether or not your puppy is purebred. Read on to learn the requirements for your puppy.
What are the Benefits of Registering a Puppy?
When considering whether to register a puppy with a kennel club or not, there are a few benefits to keep in mind. First off, you’ll receive all the paperwork confirming it’s a purebred. Also, it makes your dog eligible for dog shows and dog sports. If you’d like to train your puppy in agility sports or show them off to win a ribbon, your dog should be registered with a kennel club. Then, there are perks that the kennel club offers for registered members. Some offer specialized packages delivered to your doorstep. Others might come with pet insurance, free vet visits or eligibility to earn titles.
Registration can also provide proof of ownership and access to microchips, which help with identifying your puppy if they’re lost. Another consideration to make is whether or not you’re legally required to register with your state or municipality. You could face fines if you do not.
Legally Required Licensing
The United States does not have a federal licensing requirement for dog owners; however, most states have their own requirements. In Pennsylvania, for example, all dogs that are 3 months or older must be licensed. Licenses are available at country treasurers and other licensing agencies. The fees are relatively inexpensive and help to fund dog wardens, who inspect kennels and prosecute puppy mills. If you fail to license your dog, you could face hundreds of dollars in fines, so check out your state’s licensing requirements before you adopt a puppy.
Aside from statewide requirements for dog ownership & licensing, your municipality might also have licensing requirements. Some states may even expressly pass authority down to the county or municipal level. Indiana is one such state, which leaves it to cities like Terre Huate to issue licenses.
If you rent your home, you are obligated to check with your landlord about any restrictions they have on pets. Although it’s not exactly a license or registration, the landlord must still issue permission to have a dog live on their property. They may restrict the size and breed of dogs allowed or prohibit them entirely, except for service dogs.
Registering a Purebred Puppy With a Kennel Club
As mentioned above, the requirements for registering a puppy depend on the kennel club you choose. There are 5 kennel clubs in North America that you should consider registering with, the American Kennel Club, the Continental Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, America’s Pet Registry, and the American Canine Association.
Registering a Purebred with the American Kennel Club (AKC)
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the largest and oldest kennel club in the United States. Registration with the AKC is seen as the highest quality and most exclusive registration available. This is because they require both parents to be registered, along with the grandparents. This ensures that every AKC puppy is 100% purebred. To see if your puppy qualifies for AKC membership, you’ll need to ask the breeder about the registration of both parents.
AKC breeders will register litters with the AKC website before you ever purchase a puppy with them. They’ll provide you with a registration number, and some may even pre-pay for you. Once they provide that info to you, head over to the AKC website to register your puppy.
Registering a Purebred with the Continental Kennel Club (CKC)
Registering with the Continental Kennel Club (CKC) is a bit easier than the AKC. As long as the mother is registered, the father can be a non-member certified in a number of other ways. It is also possible to register a puppy that is in another recognized club or when both parents are in another recognized club, there are just a few extra steps to take. Learn more by visiting the CKC website. To see if your puppy qualifies for CKC membership, ask your breeder.
Once again, the breeder will provide you with a registration number on a printed-out application with their signature. You’ll then take this number to the CKC website to register your puppy.
Registering a Purebred with the United Kennel Club (UKC)
Like the CKC, the United Kennel Club (UKC) will register puppies with fewer restrictions than the AKC. As long as the mother is registered, the father can be a non-member who is registered with a recognized club. A dog registered with a recognized club can also apply for membership in the UKC. To see if your puppy qualifies for UKC membership, ask your breeder.
Your breeder may or may not provide you with a litter registration number. They could breed parents who are both UKC members without registering the litter. In this case, ask for both of the parents’ registration numbers. Then, take either your puppy’s registration number or both parents’ numbers and register your puppy online.
Registering a Purebred with America’s Pet Registry (APRI)
America’s Pet Registry (APRI) is another club that verifies a purebred puppy when both parents are also registered, similar to the AKC. It is slightly easier than the AKC, however, because parents registered at another recognized club can dual register with APRI.
Your breeder will register a litter by submitting both parents’ APRI numbers and receiving a number for each of their puppies. They will need to provide you with this number in order for you to register your puppy. Without it, you’re unable to register the puppy. Once you have your puppy’s registration number and the breeder’s name and address, you can head to the APRI website to complete the registration.
Registering a Purebred with the American Canine Association (ACA)
The American Canine Association (ACA) is both a pet registry and a health certification club, where the dogs are certified to be free of genetic health conditions by veterinarians. Membership is only available to puppies whose parents are ACA members or dogs with at least 3 degrees of pedigree from another organization. There are no alternative ACA memberships for mixed dogs or dogs without 3 degrees of pedigree.
Your breeder will fill out a litter registration form and a health certification form with a veterinarian. Then, they’ll have the option to prepay for the registration or pass the fee to the new owner. Be sure to check with your breeder if your puppy’s registration is prepaid or not. Once you know which registration to complete, take the registration application number and complete your registration online.
Registering a Mixed Puppy or One Without Paperwork
As seen above, registering a puppy typically requires two things: for them to be purebred and for you to have the paperwork from the breeder. What if your puppy is mixed or you never received paperwork from the breeder? Most clubs offer alternative membership options in these situations. They offer many of the same benefits without confirming the pedigree of your puppy.
Registering a Mixed or Paperless Puppy with the American Kennel Club (AKC)
If your puppy doesn’t have two AKC parents or if they’re mixed, you don’t qualify for full membership to the AKC. You can, however, participate in one of their other memberships, the Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) or Canine Partners. PAL is registration for a purebred without paperwork and/or parents who aren’t registered. Canine Partners is a registration for mixed dogs or any who are disqualified from AKC or PAL for another reason. Both programs allow you to participate in AKC events, like agility sports.
Registering a Mixed or Paperless Puppy with the Continental Kennel Club (CKC)
If your puppy doesn’t qualify for CKC membership but is purebred, you can apply for membership with a PAW Evaluation Application. You’ll need to submit proof of breed by submitting 5 photographs and 2 witness signatures. Then, the club will determine if your dog qualifies. If they reject the PAW application or if you know your puppy is mixed, you can submit a Non-Purebred Canine Registration Application. This application requires 3 photographs and 2 witness signatures.
Registering a Mixed or Paperless Puppy with the United Kennel Club (UKC)
The United Kennel Club offers Performance Listing (PL) membership for both mixed-breed and paperless puppies. The PL membership allows your puppy to participate in UKC sports, such as precision coursing events.
Registering a Paperless Puppy with America’s Pet Registry (APRI)
America’s Pet Registry does not provide full benefits to a dog unless you can prove at least 3 generations of pedigree. This is available if both parents are with APRI or through dual registration with another club that confirms the pedigree. Without proof, you can still register your puppy but it will be with Pet Records of America (PRA), a subsidiary of APRI.
Looking for a New Puppy?
Are you interested in finding a new furry family member? There are thousands of breeders registered with kennel clubs who advertise purebred and mixed puppies on our website. Browse their listings today.