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Breed Clubs (AKC, UKC, CKC, CFA and ACFA)

By: April Metroulas and revised by Kim Willis.

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The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)

The earliest dog shows held in Canada were governed under AKC rules. Canadians quickly jumped on the purebred wagon by establishing a non-profit registry known as the Canadian Kennel Club in 1888. The purpose of the club was to devise their own rules governing dog shows, encourage the showing and advancement of purebred dogs, guiding responsible owners and breeders in Canada, and create an all breed registry for purebred Canadian dogs. Today, the CKC is the main purebred dog registry club in Canada. A specialty of the CKC is the CANADACHIP, which is a 24-hour animal recovery network that helps owners to recover lost pets.

The CKC currently has 160 recognized breeds with seven groups.


The United Kennel Club (UKC)

The UKC boasts to be the "second oldest and second largest all breed dog registry in the United States," second only to the AKC. The formation of the UKC came about in 1889 by Chauncey Z. Bennett who had an interest in the "total dog." The UKC emphasizes dogs that look and perform equally well.

The UKC criteria are not as rigid as those of the AKC when it comes to recognizing new breeds. However, each breed's standard is strict and formalized by the UKC, which feels that it is important to intervene in a breed's history early on to maintain proper records and pedigrees.
The UKC sanctions dog shows focusing on conformation, obedience, agility, coonhound field trials and many others. It puts much emphasis on customer relations and individual service, and maintains a personal approach at all events.

There are currently 302 recognized breeds and eight group classifications.
  • The Companion Group
  • The Guardian Group
  • The Gun dogs
  • The Herding dogs
  • The Northern Breeds
  • The Scent hounds
  • The Sight hounds/Pariahs
  • The Terriers

    The UKC also boasts a number of firsts. They were the first to offer performance pedigrees, the first to offer DNA profiling, and the first to take a proactive stance against puppy mills.

    The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)

    The CFA is a non-profit association that was established in 1906, and sanctions hundreds of cat shows across America every year using their own rules and guidelines. It is the largest registry of purebred cats in the world. The CFA currently recognizes 33 breeds to compete in their Championship Class.

    The main goal of the CFA is the welfare of purebred cats. The association registers and keeps close track of those cats that are entered in CFA sanctioned shows. The CFA does not have individual members, but is an association of member clubs. Memberships may be obtained only by belonging to one of the member clubs. They currently have 657 member clubs worldwide. The CFA is also strongly involved in research that benefits all cats.

    The American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA)

    This organization was founded in 1955 by a group of people that wanted more flexibility in the development of purebred cats and catering to the greater needs of the cat fancy at large. The founders of this association wanted a more democratic approach to the rules governing purebred cat shows. The ACFA is the "fairest, friendliest and most fun feline association," taking a more laid back approach to showing and breeding purebred cats. There are currently 45 ACFA recognized cat breeds.

    The ACFA does accept individual membership. These members have the benefit of deciding on the future of the organization, according to the following principles: (1)"The members elect who will represent them on the Board of Directors; (2) the members suggest and ratify any amendments to the Rules of the Association and, (3) the breeders of a particular breed vote on any changes to their respective breed's Standard of Perfection."


    Today you will find many dog and cat clubs for many reasons. They will reflect the philosophies of the founders and the members. Some are for fun, some for show or performance and breeding, and some for registering and recording pedigrees and show records. There are clubs, which have no interaction with all breed registries, and National Breed Clubs, which set all the rules for a particular breed. There are parent clubs that will promote a new and rare breed into a registry. There are all breed clubs, specific breed clubs, and specific performance, working and hunting clubs. There are local, national, and worldwide dog clubs.

    There are enough varieties of clubs to meet any individual's needs. To learn more about a breed, join a breed club, and attend that breed's special all breed show. If agility, obedience or field trial events interests you, there are many performance clubs available. They embrace new members and are willing to educate and assist you in your endeavor. The potential is endless.

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