The American Kennel Club (AKC)

The AKC is the oldest kennel club registry in the United States. The founders were reputable breeders with a great love of purebred dogs. They saw the AKC as one way of bettering breeding practices everywhere in the United States.

History of the Club

J. M. Taylor and Elliot Smith called the first meeting of the twelve original founders on September 17, 1884, in the rooms of the Philadelphia Kennel Club. Each member of the group was a delegate from a dog club that had recently held a benched dog show or run field trials. This new “club of clubs” would eventually become the AKC.

In October of 1884, the newly organized AKC met at Madison Square Garden to adopt its constitution and by-laws. Major James M. Taylor became the club's first president.

By 1887, the AKC had an office in New York City. Around this time, it became apparent that the club had to maintain complete studbooks to record the history of each recognized breed. In January 1889, the AKC Gazette: The Official Journal for the Sport of Purebred Dogs was first published, with listings of AKC events. It has been published continuously ever since and is one of the oldest dog magazines in existence.


One of the AKC's most important and basic functions is to maintain a registry of the breeds it recognizes. Along with the studbooks that record the history of all breeding studs and bitches, the AKC keeps a list of all litters these dogs produce. Some purebred puppies go on to show and enter into breeding lines, but others receive what is known as limited registrations. This is usually given to puppies considered unsuitable for showing or breeding; progeny of a dog with a limited registration are not eligible for AKC registration of any kind. The AKC will also register dogs that belong to certain other recognized registries (usually those of other countries).

Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP)

Should you get a puppy that belongs to a U.S. registry other than the AKC, you will not be able to show that puppy in AKC events without spaying or neutering and acquiring an indefinite listing privilege (ILP) number. No puppy registered under any other canine registry in the United States will be able to show in AKC conformation.

If you have a purebred boxer that cannot be registered with the AKC and want to compete with your boxer in AKC events other than conformation, the ILP number is the way you can do it. The ILP gives unregistered dogs and their owners a second chance to participate in AKC sports. There are several reasons that a purebred boxer might not be eligible for registration: he might have been a product of an unregistered litter or have unregistered parents, or his papers might have been withheld or lost by his owner. He might also have gone through a rescue program.

Most people underestimate how much time it will take to train their dogs to do anything. It generally takes about a year for a dog to be really solid and competitive in the obedience ring for each title; however, training for titles concurrently can save time. Often a dog's progress is directly connected to the human trainer's ability to communicate effectively with canines. It is not necessarily a deficiency in the canine's ability that slows the process.

Many dogs are enrolled in the ILP program after they have been surrendered or abandoned, then adopted by new owners from animal shelters or a boxer rescue groups. An ILP boxer can participate in the following AKC events:

  • Obedience

  • Tracking

  • Agility

  • Rally

  • To obtain an ILP number, you can download a form from the AKC Web site (online at ILP numbers can only be issued to AKC-registered breeds. Once enrolled in the ILP program, entering AKC events is as easy as with a registered dog. The only difference is that instead of an AKC registration number, you list the dog's ILP number on the entry form. Some clubs even offer trophies for the high-scoring ILP dog.


    The purpose of the AKC continues to be the promotion of purebred dogs. Any club (such as a specialty, all-breed, obedience, or agility club) that wants to offer an AKC-sanctioned match, show, or trial must be a member of the AKC or affiliated with it through a member club. For instance, the American Boxer Club is a member of the AKC, and local boxer clubs that put on AKC events are members of the American Boxer Club. As dogs compete in and win various competitions, the AKC tracks and records their progress toward titles and championships. Chapters 18 and 19 describe the competitive events that the AKC sponsors and acknowledges, such as obedience, agility, and tracking.

    How can the AKC help new boxer owners?

    The AKC provides a wealth of information for new puppy owners and new dog owners. The reason behind all the club's hard work is to improve the standard, look, temperament, working abilities, and health of a breed. Accordingly, all reputable breeders in the United States are affiliated with the AKC.

    If you have any aspirations to show in conformation or to become a breeder, you need to start with AKC registered or registered boxers. The AKC regularly offers point shows, obedience trials, and other AKC events in all fifty states.

    Judges' Education

    The AKC also educates fanciers of the various breeds who are interested in becoming judges in conformation, obedience, agility, or tracking competitions. Potential AKC judges must meet a set of minimum requirements. They must be licensed by and in good standing with the AKC in order both to become a judge and to maintain a judging license. A judge must also keep up to date on the changes in AKC rules and in the breed standard.

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