Should you buy an AKC puppy and do you need full registration?

September 29, 2023
Posted in blog
September 29, 2023 Bryan Striegler

Should you buy an AKC puppy and do you need full registration?

kid playing with Bernese mountain dog

When you start looking for a new puppy, you’ll have lots to think about and consider like big dog vs. small dog, different breeds, and male vs. female. Once you kind of get that figured out, you’ll probably notice that not all puppies are the same. Some breeders will talk about their puppies being AKC. You might be wondering what AKC means and if it’s important or not.

What is an AKC dog?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a widely recognized organization that registers and maintains the breed standards for purebred dogs in the United States. Basically, they are kind of the bosses or overseers of most breeds. Being an AKC registered dog means that the dog’s lineage can be traced back several generations, ensuring a level of predictability when it comes to appearance, temperament, and health. For example, if you get an AKC English Bulldog, you can expect it to look a certain way and act a certain way.

Understanding AKC registration and its significance.

But why should you care about AKC registration? Well, for starters, it provides proof of your dog’s pedigree and enhances its credibility as a purebred. The biggest reason for getting a purebred dog vs. a mix from the animal shelter is predictability. As I mentioned earlier, breeds have traits. When you are picking a breed, you will pick it based off of those traits. For example, people like poodles because they don’t shed. If that’s something really important to you, you can ensure you’ll get that. With a mixed breed puppy, you really have no idea what you are going to get unless you do a DNA test, and even then, the traits are a guessing game.

Are all AKC breeders equal?

When it comes to selecting a purebred dog, many potential owners turn to breeders registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) for their assurance of quality and ethical practices. However, it is important to recognize that not all AKC breeders are equal in terms of the care and conditions provided for their dogs. While the AKC sets certain standards for breeders regarding genetic health testing and responsible breeding practices, there is still a wide range of variation among individual breeders.

One factor that distinguishes different AKC breeders is their commitment to the well-being and socialization of their puppies. Some breeders prioritize early socialization experiences, ensuring that puppies are exposed to various environments, people, and other animals from an early age. This helps foster confident, well-adjusted dogs. On the other hand, some less reputable breeders may prioritize profit over proper socialization efforts, leading to puppies that may be fearful or poorly adjusted. I know in my experience choosing puppies over the past 20 years has varied extremely. Some breeders had horrible conditions while others were very well taken care of.

Another big factor in judging the quality of AKC breeders is the attention they give to genetic health testing. Responsible breeders conduct thorough health screenings on their breeding stock in order to minimize the risk of passing on hereditary diseases or disorders to future generations. Not all dogs should be used for breeding. Some might not really fit the standards for the breed, so breeding might make puppies that don’t really fit the standards. However, not all AKC registered breeders adhere strictly to these standards; therefore, potential owners should take careful consideration when choosing a breeder. Researching individual reputations within specific breeds will yield insights into which ones provide superior care versus those who may prioritize quantity over quality.

Full registration vs. limited registrations: what’s the difference?

So, there’s even more decisions to be made when you choose an AKC puppy. The next question is do you need full registration or limited. Some breeders will only offer limited, some will automatically give you full, and others will make you choose which you want with full being more expensive.

With both, your puppy is still considered AKC, and it doesn’t change anything to do with its breeding. Basically, full registration allows you to do more things with your puppy while limited is well limited.

Pros and cons of buying AKC puppies with full registration.

One of the biggest advantages of buying AKC puppies with full registration is that it allows you to participate in various dog shows and competitions. With full registration, you have the option to showcase your dog’s unique characteristics and abilities, allowing them to potentially gain recognition in the canine community.

I’ve never been interested in that part. For me, the biggest benefit is this allows you to breed and pass on the AKC registration to the puppies. Yes, you could still breed a limited registration dog, but the puppies would not have the AKC label.

However, there are also some downsides to consider when purchasing AKC puppies with full registration. One of the main drawbacks is that it typically comes with a higher price tag compared to limited or no registration. This means that getting a puppy with full registration can put a strain on your wallet. For me, I charge an extra $400. Others might charge an extra $1000. Also, having an AKC registered dog doesn’t guarantee that they will excel in show competitions or produce high-quality offspring; genetics and proper training play significant roles too.

Pros and cons of buying AKC puppies with limited registration.

Limited registration is a common practice in the world of dog breeding, and it comes with its own set of pros and cons. On the positive side, limited registration helps breeders maintain control over their bloodlines. By limiting the breeding rights of a puppy, the breeder can ensure that their carefully selected genetics are not haphazardly dispersed, reducing the risk of health issues or dilution of desired traits. As I said, some dogs don’t have all the traits and shouldn’t be used for breeding. It also can be a way to protect puppies and buyers because limited registration can prevent inexperienced or backyard breeders from using AKC puppies for irresponsible breeding practices.

There are some downsides to buying a puppy with limited registration. One major drawback is that owners will not be able to compete in conformation shows or any events that require full AKC registration. This may disappoint those who were hoping to show off their pup’s talents and potentially pursue a career in competitive dog sports. Limited registration also means that offspring produced by these puppies cannot be registered with the AKC themselves, limiting potential opportunities for future litters.

Making an informed decision: factors to consider.

Should you buy an AKC puppy? In my opinion, if you are wanting a specific breed, then yes. It’s the best way to guarantee that you get the traits of the breed and avoid other health issues.

Should you get full registration or limited registration? That’s really up to each owner. For the most part, I’d say limited is what most people want. Very few people plan on showing their puppy or breeding. The good thing is you can actually switch to full registration later if you change your mind. The breeder has to do it for you, and it’s usually going to still cost you extra, but it’s rather easy and fast to do. I just did this for one of our first puppies. I went on the website and it was done in a few minutes.

Finding the perfect AKC puppy for you

If you’ve decided that an AKC pup is for you, congrats! That’s the first step in all of this. Next, you’ll need to consider the breed. If you’re here on my website, I’m guessing you might have some interest in a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. Feel free to reach out if you have questions about my dogs and puppies.