Importance of United Kennel Club (UKC) Registration
When talking to people about a dog’s “papers” and “registration”, I often come across comments that are based on so much confusion and misunderstanding surrounding these words and their meanings. This is the reason why I’m writing this page.
First and foremost, a dog’s “papers” DOES NOT mean its vet records, microchip info or city license info. Similarly, a “registered” dog DOES NOT refer to being microchipped, tattooed, licensed or having file records at a vet, groomer, or training school. It is entirely separate from any contracts, paperwork, guidelines or other “pieces of paper” that your breeder hands over to you along with your puppy.
When we talk about a “registered dog”, or a “pedigreed dog”, or a “dog with papers”, we are referring to an animal that has a traceable lineage. Think of it as the official birth certificate for your dog. The registration paper contains all the important information pertaining to the identification on your dog, including a unique registration number, date of birth, gender, color and markings, parentage, breeder name and owner’s name. Most breeders register puppies in their names as owners at the beginning, and will only transfer ownership to the puppy’s buyer when all contractual terms, such as sterilization or health testing, are completed. In cases where a buyer breaches his contract, the registration paper often becomes a record of proof for the breeder’s title to the puppy. A dog needs to be “registered”, i.e. have his ID number, to participate in sanctioned events held by the organization with which the dog is registered.
So many times have I heard people say, “oh all I want is a pet, not a show dog, so I don’t care about its papers”. This can’t be more wrong, because without his papers, how, other than by DNA testing (which most are still in development and not 100% reliable), does anyone prove that the dog you’re getting is in fact one that you’re expecting. Would you say the same about your child’s birth certificate, that “all you want is a loving child, and I don’t care if he/she was in fact yours”??? Other than as a document of identification and proof of lineage, a registration paper does very little more. Contrary to common *mis*belief, a dog “with papers” DOES NOT mean that the dog is any better or superior in any attribute than its “non-papered” counterpart. And you SHOULD NOT be expected to pay more for a dog’s papers by hundreds if not even thousands of dollars. A breeder’s cost to register a puppy is approximately $50 when done promptly and correctly.
Now, to better understand “registration” for our breed, there are two reputable dog breed registries that recognize the Alaskan Klee Kai (AKK) as a pure bred dog. There is a little history to this issue and an understanding of that history and the current state of the breed may benefit those that have, or are looking to purchase what we know today as an AKK. Each registry has its own requirements and process for recognizing new and developing breeds. The first to recognize the AKK as a distinct breed was the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA). In the past, pure bred AKK were registered under ARBA as that was the only option available. Dogs were shown in conformation at ARBA shows and earned titles demonstrating their adherence to the breed standard of the time. Continued breed development and documentation resulted in the later recognition of the AKK by the United Kennel Club (UKC). This organization now owns the AKK breed standard and has modified it over time. Pure bred AKK are typically now shown, bred and registered only under the UKC registration although there is no reason that these activities cannot be performed under ARBA as well. Under current expectations, the breed is considered a UKC breed, and ARBA registration is typically only offered if the sire/dam or breeder is not recognized by UKC. If you purchase a dog that is not registered or only offered registry is non-UKC, you should ask the breeder to explain why that dog is not UKC registered or registration is not provided by contract. Understand what you are buying before you agree to the purchase.
If the breeder is offering AKC registration, then it is likely a scam as the AKK is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Furthermore, AKK are also not yet recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), UK’s Kennel Club (KC or The KC), or Europe’s Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Other countries (eg. in Asia), if available, usually has one prominant kennel club (many affiliated with FCI in some way) that is trustworthy and has a well established registry service. There is a garbage registry based in the States called the Continental Kennel Club (also CKC but not to confuse with the Canadian CKC) which is known to register anything with four legs. There are other “independent” registries as well that hold absolutely no weight. Most recently, mixed breed breeders are creating their own “registries” to pass their mongrels as “registered dogs”. Please be wary of these scam registries.
– written in December 2014 with contribution from Barry McFarland, Tesoro Alaskan Klee