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But It's No Small Change...


For $25 a fraudulent buyer can change the dog's name, remove YOUR kennel name, use their own kennel name which implies they are the breeder, or use a more famous kennel name and re-sell the dog for big $$$.


June 9, 2016 update

published August 2008

Barbara "BJ" Andrews, Editor-In-Chief


March 2008 - New York, NY- The American Kennel Club® (AKC) is pleased to announce a registration rule change that now allows owners of AKC registered dogs to change the official name of their pet. Dogs are eligible if they were born in the U.S., have never been bred, or have not won any awards at an AKC event."


In 2008 I felt that it was designed to protect The American Kennel Club from the complexities, complaints, or lawsuits over stud book corruption.  We spoke with several top breeders who agreed the Name Change would be of no benefit to them but could certainly complicate their records and pedigree research.


It seemed we were again being Sold Out By AKC {ref #1} so I called David Roberts, AKC's Assistant Vice President of Registration.  Mr. Roberts said "In most cases, the dog is a beloved pet and the owner would like to pick a name that has special value to them. The new rule allows owners to change the name when transferring their AKC registered dog, or to request a name change at any time."


The new 2008 regulation reads as follows:


"The name of a dog registered with The American Kennel Club will be allowed to be changed provided the dog was whelped in the United States and in cases where the breeder(s) first individually registered the dog, their written consent would be required. A dog name containing a Registered Kennel Name cannot be changed without the written consent of the owner(s) of that Registered Kennel Name.


"However, no change in the name will be recorded by The American Kennel Club after the dog has produced or sired an AKC registered litter or received an award at an AKC licensed or member event.


"Any name change must comply with all AKC requirements."


Roberts explained "We have a lot of interest from AKC registered dog owners looking to rename their dogs."


One can't help wondering how much the Name Change Service has improved the bottom line.  The service fee for a name change is $25.  The Dog Name Change Authorization form is located online at (offsite link, copy and paste URL in your browser). The completed form can be faxed to AKC at: 919-816-4261 or mailed to the address on the application.


In June of 2016 TheDogPress called the American Kennel Club to verify that the name change service we told you about in 2008 was still in effect.  We had always spoken with the congenial Registrations Director Mr. Roberts whom we learned is no longer in that department so we sent the original article for the staff's review.


We promptly received a return call from Brandi Hunter, AKC Vice President, Public Relations and Communications.  Ms. Hunter assured us that the name change option is still in effect and that the price has not increased.  She said if a buyer applied for a name change without the breeder or seller's consent and the change was disputed "AKC will honor a written agreement with that person (seller)."  She also stipulated "but only a Registered Kennel Name is protected."


I did not press the point that if a buyer changed the dog's registered name and removed the breeder's kennel name, the breeder might never know about it.  I also felt it a waste of time to pursue the complexities of maintaining authenticity of a Certified Pedigree.


Ms. Hunter graciously followed up on our conversation with this email. "Provision regarding naming: If an owner has a written agreement with the breeder regarding the dog’s name and tries to change the name of the dog with the AKC, the breeder can contact the AKC with proof of the agreement and the AKC will honor what is in the agreement." assumed the original purpose in allowing buyers to change the name was to encourage breeders to individually register and name each puppy in a litter in order to protect their breeding program.  Perhaps.  But at $25 a pop per subsequent owner, the Name Change Service represents substantial income and holds great appeal to puppy mills and resellers.


In 2008 we were told "AKC promises to get your permission before allowing them to rename the pet puppy."  I failed to clarify with Brandy whether or not that policy is still in effect.  Since she stipulated that only AKC Registered Kennel Names are protected, probably not.  Only dedicated breeders who have a kennel name to protect will care but care they will when their kennel name starts showing up on non-related puppy mill breeding stock! (As a side note, I've been asked why O'BJ is not registered?  In the late 60s, a kennel name could only be registered as a prefix.  By German tradition, my Doberman/Rottweiler kennel name was a suffice and I've never changed it.)


AKC's "Name Change Rule" should have been front page news in March of 2008 but was the only publication to cover it. We immediately saw a connection with another rule change, AKC's decision to allow Registration of Non-AKC Registered Dogs {ref #2}.


Here's how the Name Change Service works.  Even if you registered your kennel name and each puppy in every litter and deliberately withheld those registration papers on pet puppies, anyone could "get the papers" (i.e. register the dog) through AKC's new "Administrative Pedigree Research Service".  Fraudulent buyers can still register the dog through the Pedigree Research Service and sell it to a breeding factory or they can breed it themselves, under the newly created name.


It probably isn't stretching imagination to say someone could go to a pet shop, breed rescue or shelter, get what looks like a purebred dog, say they lost its papers, provide a dummied up pedigree (available online) and get AKC registration papers.  Has it been done?  No one will ever know because AKC does not require any proof of purchase, of breed, or of quality.  Just a pedigree and it is likely any pedigree will do.


Then with the new name change rule, the buyer can "name" and register that pet shop dog using your famous and highly respected kennel name - unless you have paid ($150) to have a registered kennel name.


Think not?  With the name change rule, any puppy mill can add your marketable kennel name to increase progeny price and salability.  Remember, the Hunte Corporation (puppy mill) History {ref #3} also has a huge foreign market so it is a win win for all - except a breeder who takes pride in their carefully built bloodline and reputation.


Did you know that puppies have been falsely registered as sired by big-name champions? See Pedigree Fraud {ref #4}. Whole litters have been fabricated using AKC registration numbers copied right out of show catalogs.  In the overall scheme of things, health, genetics, and quality should matter more to today's American Kennel Club.  But nothing has changed with regard to AKC's name change ruling.


(The 2008 press release was followed by this standard tag line to which we have added bold emphasis as a reminder of AKC’s stated purpose and service to the fancy.)


The American Kennel Club, founded in 1884, is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Along with its nearly 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 20,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Companion Animal Recovery and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information, visit


Reference & Related Article and Information, dig for gold below


{1} Sold Out By AKC The Petland Contract, now a global enterprise   ~   {2} Registration of Non-Registered Dogs AKC's new Administrative Pedigree Research Service


{3} Hunte Corporation History deeply connected to the AKC   ~   {4} Pedigree Fraud; AKC Studbook Pt 1 Involves judges, top sires, top record holders   ~   AKC Mission Statement over-time-changes

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