On September 17, 1884, a group of twelve dedicated sportsmen, responding to a “meeting call” from Messrs. J. M. Taylor and Elliot Smith, met in the rooms of the Philadelphia Kennel Club in that city. Each member of the group was a representative or “delegate” from a dog club that had, in the recent past, held a benched dog show or had run field trials. This new “Club of Clubs” was, in fact, The American Kennel Club.
The next meeting of the group, on October 22, 1884, was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. At that time, a Constitution and By-Laws were adopted and Major James M. Taylor became AKC’s first president. With no official headquarters, meetings were held in several different cities, principally New York, but also Cincinnati, Boston, and Newark, New Jersey.
By 1887, a room was rented at 44 Broadway, furnished with a desk, filing cabinet, a couple of chairs, and occupied by Alfred P. Vredenburgh, the AKC’s third secretary. In 1888, August Belmont, Jr. became the AKC’s fourth president. This was the beginning of the long Belmont/Vredenburgh reign that lasted well into the twentieth century. During this period, it became apparent that the club had to have a reliable stud book. Dr. N. Rowe, starting in 1878, had already assembled three volumes of The National American Kennel Club Stud Book, and subsequently offered these three initial volumes gratis to the AKC. In 1887, the AKC acknowledged this gift in the fourth volume of The American Kennel Club Stud Book.
The following year, Belmont put the wheels in motion to produce a “gazette” by guaranteeing against any of the magazine’s losses for five years with his own personal security of $5,000 per year. In January 1889, the Gazette made its first appearance; survived those first five years without needing even a penny of Belmont’s support; has been published without interruption for over a century; and is one of the oldest dog magazines in existence.
Sept 17, 1884: The first meeting of the AKC was held.The Constitution and Bylaws and Dog Show Rules were created, and Major James M. Taylor was elected as the first president.
1886: Our first office opened at 44 Broadway in New York City in a 15×20 room. Dr. N. Rowe wrote the first three volumes of the National American Kennel Club Stud Book.
1888: Veterinarians started being required at all events.
1889: The first issue of The AKC Gazette was published, and would continue without interruption for over a century. It is now one of the oldest dog magazines in existence.
1905: By this time, there were now 110 member clubs and 500 associate members. A rule was passed stating: “The Superintendent of any show cannot exhibit or officiate as a judge at that show.” Dog show classes start to include Puppy, Novice, Limit, and Open.
1905-07: A point system for all-breed dog shows was established.
1911: A rule went into effect that gave sole privilege to the member club that had held the first show in a given area. That same year, definitive rules for classified and unclassified “special” prizes were established. A classified special prize was one offered in a single breed, somewhat similar to an award for best of breed (although the AKC did not record such a win). An unclassified special was a prize offered in classes involving multiple-breed competition similar to the present groups and best in show.
1914: A reciprocal agreement with The Kennel Club (England) was made. We also helped overturn an NYC ordinance that all dogs be muzzled in public.
1917: Applicants for judges and superintendents started being accepted.
1924: Comprehensive new rules for Groups and Best In Show judging were adopted. All breeds (except for those in Miscellaneous competition) were separated into five groups: Group 1 – Sporting Dogs, which included at that time all Hound breeds; Group 2 – Working Dogs; Group 3 – Terriers; Group 4 – Toy Breeds; and Group 5 – Non-Sporting Breeds. These Best of Breed winners in each group were then judged together to determine the best dog in that group and, finally, the five group winners met to decide the best dog in the show. The Westminster Kennel Club was the first to include judging for Best In Show under the new format. Later in the 1920s, the groups were expanded to six, as Hounds became a separate group.
1929: The first edition of Pure-Bred Dogs was published. Nine years later, the book was renamed The Complete Dog Book. To date, it has sold more than 2 million copies.
1931: The Professional Handlers Association launched.
1932-33: The first book of AKC rules was presented in the November 1932 issue of the Gazette and was subsequently published as a separate booklet. That same year, the first Children’s Handling Classes were held, and breeds were divided into 6 groups: Sporting, Sporting Hounds, Working, Terriers, Toys, and Non-Sporting.
1934: AKC Library was established.
1936: The first official regulations and standards for obedience test field trials were published, based on the work of Helene Whitehouse Walker. That same year, the first licensed obedience trial was held in New York with 18 licensed tests and 200 dogs entered. The following year, Mrs. Walker and Blanche Sanders toured America in a Buick with a 21-foot trailer, introducing the new sport of Obedience.
1939-44: During World War II, dog shows, obedience trials, and field trials continued, but rules loosened generously. To comply with wartime attempts to conserve paper, The American Kennel Gazette was reduced in size. We also worked with Dogs for Defense to mobilize dog owners to donate quality animals to be trained to help American troops.
1946: Professional judges formed the Professional Dog Judges Association, which included many of the top all-breed judges of the time.
1947: Tracking, formerly part of Obedience competition, was made a separate class.
1951: A new rule restricted judges to 20 dogs per hour, and show-giving clubs had to indicate any limitations on their premium lists.
1956: The 5-millionth dog was registered, a Collie named Lassie the Golden Glory.
1971: Junior Showmanship class was officially recognized.
1973: All-breed clubs banded together to address the fuel shortage situation by holding their events at the same location on consecutive days, called Cluster Shows.
1974: The first women delegates were admitted: Mrs. Carol D. Duffy to represent the Mid-Hudson Kennel Club; Mrs. Gertrude Freedman to represent the Bulldog Club of New England; and Mrs. Julia Gasow to represent the English Springer Spaniel Club of Michigan.
1977: The practice of licensed handlers ends, placing all handlers in the same category as exhibitors so that anyone could handle a dog for a fee.
1981: The 25-millionth dog was registered, a Scottish Terrier named Belgair’s Duke of Rock Hill.
1982: The Dog Museum of America opened in New York City. Frank T. Sabella forever holds the distinction of being the first contributor of art with his gift donation of several paintings including a charming oil on canvas of a longhaired terrier painted by the well-known artist George Earl as well as an elegant portrait of a Newfoundland by English artist Horatio Henry Couldery. It would ultimately move to St. Louis, Missouri and be renamed The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog.
1983: Herding breeds split from the Working Group.
1984:The American Kennel Club celebrated its 100th Anniversary with the Centennial Show in Philadelphia. A German Shepherd Dog won Best in Show.
1985: The first woman director of the AKC was elected, Dr. Jacklyn Hungerland, a delegate of the Del Monte Kennel Club.
1989: The first Canine Good Citizen tests were conducted. AKC Herding Tests and Trials were established.
1991: AKC established Lure Coursing tests and trials in July 1991.
1992: The first AKC National Invitational Dog Championship was held.
1995: Judith V. Daniels became the first female president. That same year, the Companion Animal Recovery program, now called AKC Reunite, was launched and the AKC Canine Health Foundation established with a $1 million AKC grant.
1998: The Canine Good Citizen® program was established. AKC relocated various departments to Raleigh, N.C. In that year alone, there were almost 2 million dogs competing in over 15,000 licensed and sanctioned events. Also in that year, more than 1.2 million dogs and 555,000 litters were registered. DNA testing was instituted for parentage verification and genetic identity.
1999: Lifetime Achievement Awards are given for the first time. Rachel Page Elliott receives the award for conformation. The AKC headquarters in New York moved to 260 Madison Avenue.
2000: AKC.org was redesigned. The first AKC Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) were distributed, and recipients included the legendary NYPD K-9 Apollo.
2002: The first Breeder of the Year award was given to Wendell S. Sammet.
2004: The Registered Handlers Program was established.
2005: AKC Rally competition began.
2006: We supported the federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS) to require that pet-owning households are included in emergency-preparedness plans. It passed in Congress that same year, and was signed by President George W. Bush.
2008: We supported Georgia’s signing of an anti-dogfighting legislation that made it a felony to own a dog for fighting, to bet on a dogfight or to allow a dogfight on one’s premises. It also made it a misdemeanor on the first offense and a felony on the subsequent offenses to be a spectator at a dogfight. That same year, the AKC Humane Fund launched to unite a broad spectrum of animal lovers in promoting the joy and value of responsible dog ownership through education, outreach, and grant-making. Also, the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program launched with more than 12,000 puppies completing the six weeks of training classes.
2011: The AKC Therapy Dog title was instituted to reward dogs and owners who have provided ongoing community service to improve the well-being of others.
2012: The AKC Humane Fund gives grants to 11 “pets allowed” women’s shelters to provide a safe haven to women with pets from domestic violence.
2013: AKC Search and Rescue–Wilderness (SAR-W) was established to acknowledge dogs who use air-scenting or tracking abilities to locate missing persons in a non-urban setting. That same year, the GoodDog! Helpline® launched to give dog owners live telephone support from knowledgeable trainers.
2014: AKC Pet Disaster Relief presented its first-ever Disaster Relief Trailer to Cleveland-Bradley County, Tennessee, to serve as temporary homes for pets in the aftermath of declared disasters.
2015: Bred with H.E.A.R.T. program launched. September 19 was declared Responsible Dog Ownership Day. That same year, the AKC Marketplace relaunched to better help potential dog owners find the right dog.
2016: AKC Shop opens. Junior Showcase events are introduced. AKC Canine College launched. The AKC Canine Health Foundation kicks off a tick-borne disease initiative to educate dog owners and to find better diagnostics, preventatives, and therapeutics.
2017: AKC.org becomes the number one content site for dogs as reported by ComScore, the industry’s leading tracking source. The AKC Marketplace expanded to include Groomers as a helpful resource to dog owners. The AKC S.A.F.E (Safety, Assurance, Fundamentals, Education) Grooming Program also launched to support the grooming industry’s self-regulation effort through education.
2018: The American Kennel Club’s headquarters moved from Madison Ave to 101 Park Ave.
2019: The AKC Museum of the Dog moved from Missouri back to New York City to the AKC’s headquarters at 101 Park Avenue. The museum opened to the public in March.
AKC TV – BOERBOEL
The Boerboel is a large dog that is strong, confident and muscular with a distinctive, blocky head. Despite its size, it is the most agile of the mastiff-type breeds. The word Boerboel means “Farm Dog” and it serves as a capable working dog as well as a loyal companion in its home country of South Africa. The skin of a Boerboel should be dark on his stomach and under his fur, as well as the roof of his mouth, which protects against heat and sun. The coat is short, dense coat can be brindle, brown, cream, reddish brown or tawny. WATCH MOVIE HERE – https://akc.tv/watch/3/777/breeds/boerboel/?ctx=/watch/3/777/breeds/boerboel/
COVID-19 Coronavirus: Updates from the American Kennel Club
American Kennel Club Updates on COVID-19 Pandemic
Please see the following message from the AKC Board of Directors and AKC Staff:
Covid-19: Participating in Dog Sports
The American Kennel Club continues to encourage each of its 5,000 clubs to adhere to federal, state and local restrictions pertaining to minimizing the spread of COVID-19. As states gradually begin to reopen, we strongly urge clubs to follow every regulation for large gatherings. We support each club’s informed decision to reschedule, postpone or cancel their respective events, as well as support clubs ready to hold events in municipalities that are open and permit gatherings. In an ongoing effort to assist event chairs and organizers, the Sports and Events Department has been working on suggested guidelines for best health practices to be used when the resumption of our sports is possible, as well as assisting events with date checks, Judges assignments, conflicts, etc. The guidelines will be made available in the coming weeks.
For accurate and timely information, please visit:
We will continue to monitor the situation and any developments.
Clubs that decide to cancel their event or delay their event should email the AKC at EventPlans@akc.org.
COVID-19 Suggested Best Practices by Sport
The Sports and Events Department has developed “Suggested Best Practices for the Well-Being of Dog Sport Participants” for the sports that AKC sanctions/recognizes. Links to each document are available below.
AKC Event Cancellation Status
For information on any AKC event cancellations, please click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
To read a list of frequently asked questions about AKC Events and COVID-19, please click here.
AKC Resource Hub for Dog Owners Coping With the Crisis
To find resources, ideas, advice, and fun to support dog owners and dog lovers as we all adapt to living through the novel coronavirus pandemic with our pets, please click here
AKC Office Closures and Contact Information
To read more about AKC office closures and how to contact departments during this time, please click here.
AKC Government Relations Alerts
The American Kennel Club joined with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and other animal care leaders to urge government officials to help ensure the well-being of animals by allowing businesses that provide products and services for the care of pets to continue to operate during the COVID-19 response. Learn more.
AKC asks concerned pet owners to join us in communicating this important request.
- TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Elected Officials to Declare Pet Services ‘Essential Businesses’ During COVID-19 Related Closures
AKC urges Congress to extend Federal Pandemic Relief programs to non-political, not-for profit organizations with 501(c)(4) and (c)(7) designations
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Tips to Protect Yourself and Others
Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, social distancing, wearing a face covering, covering coughs and sneezes and cleaning and disinfecting often.
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home as much as possible
- Put distance between yourself and other people.
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectant will work.
Responsible Breeders -AKC
Thinking of Buying a Puppy? Find a Responsible Breeder.
- Don’t be put off if a breeder isn’t immediately responsive. Hobby breeders often have full-time jobs and they don’t always have available puppies. Be selective. Find a responsible breeder who is knowledgeable and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
- Visit the breeder’s home or kennel and ask to see at least one of the puppy’s parents. Get an idea of what the future holds for your dog in terms of temperament and appearance.
- Observe the premises. Is the house/kennel clean? Odor-free? Dogs and puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly. Look for signs of malnutrition such as protruding rib cages or illness such as runny nose/eyes, coughing, lethargy and skin sores.
- Pay attention to how the dogs and puppies interact with their breeder. Does the breeder appear to genuinely care for the puppies and their adult dogs? Both dogs and puppies should not shy away from the breeder and should be outgoing with strangers.
- Find out about the health of your puppy and its parents. Breeders should be honest about the breed’s strengths and weaknesses and knowledgeable about the genetic diseases that can affect their breed – including what’s being done to avoid them. Breeders should be willing to share proof of health screenings such as OFA and CERF certificates with potential buyers.
- Establish a good rapport with the breeder. He/she will be an excellent resource and breed mentor for you throughout the life of your puppy. You should be encouraged to call the breeder if your dog has a crisis at any stage of its life.
- A responsible breeder may ask you to sign a contract indicating that if specified conditions of care are not met or you become unable to keep the puppy, he/she will reclaim it.
- Don’t expect to bring home the puppy until its eight to 12 weeks of age. Puppies need ample time to mature and socialize with its mother and littermates.
- Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have and should ask many of you as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.
- Don’t leave the premises without the appropriate documentation of the dog’s pedigree, a.k.a. “papers.” The words “American Kennel Club” as well as the AKC logo should be clearly visible. You’ll need to send in this application form to register your dog with the AKC. Be wary of a breeder who refuses/hesitates to give you papers, wants to charge you more for AKC papers, offers papers from a registry other than the AKC, or tells you he/she will mail them to you at a later date.
- While the AKC does not have penal or regulatory authority, AKC conducts thousands of its own inspections each year. Breeders who have major kennel deficiencies may lose AKC privileges (ability to register dogs or compete in events). In some cases, fines will be imposed, AKC privileges may be suspended indefinitely and appropriate law enforcement authorities are contacted. If you would like to ensure that the breeder you are dealing with is in good standing with the AKC, contact AKC Customer Service at 919-233-9767 or Info@akc.org .
When to See the Vet
When to See the Vet and When to Treat at Home
AKC Family Dog Magazine Offers a Guide for When to Treat Your Dog at Home and When to Call the Vet
Emergencies for your dog can happen at any time. Some are minor, while others can be life threatening. In the November/December 2010 issue of American Kennel Club’s AKC Family Dog contributor and veterinarian Jeff Grognet, DVM offers advice on what you can treat at home and when you should bring your dog to the veterinarian. Among them:
Any eye problem your dog has needs to be seen by a veterinarian. Most people can’t tell if their dog has a scratch that will heal on its own, or glaucoma which will cause vision loss very quickly.
- Vomiting and diarrhea
Sudden, mild vomiting is common and can be treated at home, as long as the dog is not inactive and lethargic and the vomiting stops. Withhold food and water for 12 hours. Once the 12 hours have gone by, offer your dog water. If he can hold the water down for two hours, offer some bland food. Diarrhea can be treated at home by withholding only food. “Whenever vomiting or diarrhea continues, or the dog is depressed, or if the dog is under 16 weeks old or is a senior, it’s time for a veterinary visit,” says Dr. Grognet. “These dogs are fragile and a little dehydration can make them ill.”
Bloat happens to a dog when the stomach begins swelling with air and rotating, which closes off the entrance and exit. Symptoms of bloat include drooling, trying to vomit, anxiety, pacing, and a swollen belly. This disease is very dangerous and needs immediate treatment from your veterinarian.
- Allergic reactions
Your dog might have an allergic reaction from insect bites or stings, food, or medications. What most commonly happens is the muzzle and eyelids will swell. While this is uncomfortable for your pooch, it is not dangerous. He may also develop hives on his body which are very itchy, but also not dangerous. Consult your vet on how to keep your dog comfortable during an allergic reaction.
In addition, the article offers a list of items dog owners should have on hand. Among them:
- Adhesive tape for bandaging.
- Sterile dressing pads for covering wounds.
- Gauze sponges for covering or cleaning wounds.
- Antiseptic soap/solution for cleaning wounds.
- Plastic Elizabethan collar to prevent your dog from licking wounds or irritated skin, or rubbing at his eyes or ears.
- Blanket or towel to keep your dog warm or to carry him hammock-style.
More emergency situations can be found in the November/December 2010 issue of AKC Family Dog. To subscribe to AKC Family Dog, go to www.akc.org/pubs/index.cfm