AKC's Stud Book signifies genetic purity, a bloodline bank for certified pedigrees but the purebred dog's premier registry has failed the fancy.
Feb 2015 | TheDogPress.com
As a purebred dog breeder, do you care about genetic purity? Study pedigrees to eliminate faults? Trust a Certified Pedigree? If you answered “yes” more than once, you may not want to know about the AKC Stud Book. On the other hand, if being financially and ethically defrauded bothers you, you are about to be outraged! We are all “invested” in purebred dogs and like any stockholder, dog breeders expect the American Kennel Club to protect the value of its core business, purebred dogs.
You’re already thinking about clicking out? You don’t want to know how AKC has devalued that AKC registration certificate? OK, short-timer or puppy miller – good riddance. For the rest of you, it is time to understand what you’ve counted on since you snuggled your first AKC registered purebred puppy.
Of course you know the integrity of the registration system is founded on the AKC Stud Book. You know your bloodline and you’ve never falsely registered a litter. So you’re wondering what, if anything, this means to you. Well, if you’ve ever out-crossed, taken a puppy for stud service, or bought an “AKC Registered” dog, this does affect you.
That was your fair warning, last chance to click out. TheDogPress gets a lot of tips and like any news organization, we “consider the source” but in this case, even with hard copy, we let this Stud Book news season a bit because it comes from the “inside out”.
DO STUD BOOK RECORDS PROTECT THE GENE POOL?
We entrust our dog registrations to AKC or UKC and we depend on the integrity of something called a “Stud Book.” It is an old livestock term but we understand it to be a true-blue genetic record of registered animals. Livestock registries (racing Greyhound, Thoroughbred horses, cattle, etc.) require lip-tattoos and/or microchips for breeding stock.
Dog registries require no form of identification. None. When you think about it, that benefits only the puppy mills. AKC used to require photo I.D. on imported dogs. But when you buy, sell, or lease a dog, how do you know? AKC issues Certified Pedigrees but if given with the wrong dog (or deliberately, what we call a "ringer") who is to know?
The American Kennel Club Stud Book is the very foundation of that registry. Article III of the AKC Charter and Bylaws states “The objects of the Club shall be to maintain and publish an official stud book, to adopt and enforce uniform rules regulating and governing purebred dog events....” The AKC Mission Statement is equally clear: “The American Kennel Club is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its Registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function….”
All that probably meant something in 1884. Somewhere along the line of AKC history (Ref #1), the “not-for-profit” American Kennel Club became more about $$$. No problem: AKC increased registration fees to pay for its ever-expanding Executive Board and staff. Problem: In order to do that, AKC had to snub its fundamental constituents, the breeders of purebred dogs. Make no mistake, AKC has always registered mass produced (puppy mill) dogs but when, thanks to TheDogPress.com, the dog fancy realized they were second-rate stock holders, AKC took steps to placate them.
First, this quote from a feature article in the Philadelphia Enquirer Sunday edition, December 31, 1995. Robert Nejdl, remembered as the “Dean of AKC Inspections” for over 20 years before he took retirement in 1994, just before the Enquirer expose ran. “When people buy an AKC dog, they expect it to be of high quality and they expect the papers to truly match the dog. But that's not often true.”
That is just a sample of the hard copy held by TheDogPress.com.
DOES DNA PROTECT THE GENE POOL?
AKC took steps to clean up its image, one of which was to approve and promote the DNA Compliance Audit Program in 1998. It became part of routine kennel inspections, replacing previous policy wherein inspectors relied on matching photos of individual dogs to required paperwork. Note that Chapter 4, Section 3 of Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline states: “Each person who breeds, keeps, transfers ownership or possession of, or deals in dogs that are registered or to be registered with The American Kennel Club, whether he acts as principal or agent or sells on consignment, must follow such practices as, consistent with the number of dogs involved, will preclude any possibility of error in identification of any individual dog or doubt as to the parentage of any particular dog or litter.”
The new DNA policy was “a forward looking DNA audit developed to ensure the integrity of AKC's registry” but you know what they say about good intentions. DNA showed an embarrassingly high percentage of errors, so thinking caps went on. The result was (another money-maker) that would protect the AKC Stud Book, The Frequently Used Sires Program became “Effective July 1, 2000, every sire producing seven or more litters in a lifetime or producing more than three litters in a calendar year must be AKC DNA Certified.”
Led by the Missouri Pet Breeders, puppy mills (renamed “commercial breeders”) bucked up and moved their millions of dollars in “stock” to the American Pet Registry, Inc. That probably wasn’t a bad thing for the integrity of the American Kennel Club stud book but it left a big financial gap.
The Frequently Used Sires Program, meant to protect the integrity of the AKC Stud Book, instead led to even worse genetic corruption! As AKC “marketing” sought to register more dogs, they invented the Conditional Registration Policy.
Here’s how it works: The Conditional Registration Policy means: “When unknown parentage is indicated via DNA testing, the status of the registration will be downgraded to ‘conditional’ until a three generation pedigree is established. “Unknown” will be noted on the registration or pedigree for the ancestor in question. This will only occur in cases where the dogs are believed to be purebred, but a registered parent is found to be incorrect.”
You would think one mistake would be sufficient but no, AKC then initiated the Administrative Research Registration Service. Did you receive the following flurry of notices from the Breeder Relations Team?
“Free ARR Service: Do you have breeding stock that is currently registered with another registry? Our free Administrative Research Registration (ARR) service allows AKC staff to conduct pedigree research to determine registration eligibility for dogs upon customer request. AKC can register dogs originating from AKC registrable stock. Dogs may qualify for registration if pedigrees show no break in AKC lineage and all dogs originate from AKC registrable stock.”
“AKC Registration of Breeding Stock: Is some of your breeding stock not currently AKC registered? If registrable, we will register them for you at a special discounted price.”
“Waived Late Fees: Have you forgotten to register your dog or litter? Don’t worry—your Breeder Relations Team will waive any late fees for you.”
Are you outraged? Can YOU register a whole litter for a $20 flat rate?
Turn the page to learn about other registries, why AKC resists DNA advances, and more on the AKC Stud Book problems…
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