Ultimate Guide to AKC New Owner Registration

As a new owner, registering your dog with the AKC can be quite beneficial. This is especially true if you’re planning to breed your dog or participate in AKC events in the future (we cover the full list of benefits at the end of this article).

Whether you’re registering a single dog or multiple litters, the AKC new owner registration process is as simple as can be. Follow the steps to register with the AKC as a new pup owner.

Note: if you need to transfer ownership, you’ll want this post instead.

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How to Register Your Dog With AKC as a New Owner

Registering your pup with AKC as a new owner is fairly straightforward and doesn’t take longer than five to ten minutes. 

Step 1: Visit the Website

On the registration page, choose the option that says “Register Your Dog” on the right-hand side of the screen.

If you’re registering a purebred dog, choose the option that says, “Register a Purebred Dog.” For mixed breeds, select the option that says, “Enroll a Dog in AKC Canine Partners.” 

If you’re not planning to fully register your dog to AKC, select the option that says, “Enroll a Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL).” Enrolling your dog in the PAL program allows them to participate in AKC competitions and events even if they’re not fully registered.

Step 2: Register Your Dog 

Once you select “Register a Purebred Dog,” choose, “I Am a New Owner,” then, “Continue to Registration.”

As soon as the page loads, you’re asked to input your email address and your dog’s AKC registration number. 

When you buy an eligible dog from a reputable breeder, you’re given a certificate that proves its purebred status. You’ll find the registration number at the top of the paper registration form. The number begins with two letters and is followed by eight digits (e.g., AX00000000).

If you didn’t receive an AKC-approved registration number from your breeder, it’s worth contacting your breeder in case they’ve forgotten to give you the official purebred certificate. 

Without the registration number, you won’t be able to officially register your pup with the AKC. However, you can still enroll your dog in the Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program and the AKC Canine Partners program. This is done through a snail mail application that includes photos of your dog as well as owner and dog information.

If you are enrolling a non-purebred dog, you’ll be forwarded to their Canine Partners website where you register your name, address, and contact information, as well as the dog’s information (including date of birth, date acquired, gender, color, and a best guess at the dogs’ breeds).

Step 3: Name Your Dog (following the AKC’s naming rules)

Owners must follow certain naming rules when registering a dog with the AKC program.  

When choosing a name, it must be written in English letters and is no longer than 36 characters including spaces. If it exceeds 36 letters, you’ll have to pay an additional $10 fee. 

Naturally, offensive terminology, obscene/derogatory phrases, and swear words aren’t allowed. There are other, more mundane restrictions too–no accent markers or Roman numerals are allowed.

Also, try not to use AKC show terms and titles, such as “Champion” and “Champ,” as well as specific dog breeds (i.e., “Husky Sam,” “Collie Bob,” etc.).

Finally, avoid using gender-specific terms like, “Stud,” “Sir,” “Miss,” “Girl,” or “Boy.” 

If you’re registering a dog imported from another country, use the same name it was registered in their birth country. If you’re not too keen on your pup’s birth name, add a Registered Kennel Name in the same application. 

Since AKC only allows 37 dogs of each breed with the same name, choose a unique name that stands out from the rest. If you’re not quite sure if your dog’s name is AKC approved, use AKC’s dog name checker on the website. 

Step 4: Submit the Application 

Once you’ve chosen an AKC-approved name for your pup, fill out the remaining requirements and submit the application. If your dog is US-born, you can immediately pay the fee on the same application. If your breeder has prepaid for the registration, make sure to select the option that says, “My dog’s breeder already pre-paid for its registration” on the original registration page.  

For dogs born outside the US, the process is a bit lengthier. On the registration page, you need the following documents

  • Certified Pedigree or Export Pedigree translated in English (front and back)
  • Certificate of Registration indicating the dog’s registry and ownership 
  • Two full-color photos of your dog in a standing position (one from the side and one from the front)

Your pup must also have at least one form of positive identification, whether it be from a DNA profile, a microchip, or a tattoo. 

Attach all mentioned documents to the Foreign Dog application and submit the form. You can also print a fillable PDF form and mail it to the official AKC address, but doing it online is much easier and faster.

And that’s it, you’ve successfully registered your dog with AKC! It’ll take approximately 18 working days from the date you’ve submitted the application for AKC to process and finalize your registration, so all you’ll have to do is wait.

What Are the Benefits of Registering Your Dog With AKC? 

As a new owner, registering your dog with AKC probably isn’t on the top of your to-do list. However, it’s definitely worth spending a few minutes to register your pup with AKC because of its many perks. 

When you register with AKC, you’ll get the following benefits: 

  • Permanent record in the AKC Registry 
  • AKC Registration Certificate
  • 30-day pet insurance coverage with AKC Pet Insurance (for new puppies only)
  • Complimentary first veterinary office visit certificate 
  • Eligibility to participate and earn titles in AKC events and competitions 
  • Optional registration packages such as three-gen AKC pedigree, dog care and training videos, 12 months subscription to AKC Family Dog magazine, and AKC collar tag with lifetime recovery services 

How Much Does the AKC New Owner Registration Cost? 

AKC is 100% transparent when it comes to fees. But remember: once you’ve paid the fees, it’s non-refundable. 

Depending on the registration package you’ve chosen, the fees for registering your dog online range from $33 to $83

  • Basic registration: $33 
  • Silver registration: $45.99
  • Gold registration: $62.99
  • Platinum registration: $82.99

You’ll also have to pay an additional fee of $35 if you’ve registered your pup 12 months after its birth, and $65 24 months after its birth. So, the sooner you register your pup with AKC, the better.

The more expensive plans include customized collar tags, vet office visit coverage, access to Animal Poison Helpline (if they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t), access to a Training helpline, and a certified pedigree.

Conclusion 

As you can see, registering with AKC as a new owner is a simple process. As long as you have an AKC-approved certificate from your breeder, all you’ll have to do is to fill up the required information on the form and pay the fees. 

If you don’t have a certificate, or if your dog is a mixed breed, you can still register with AKC through its Alternative Listing application

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.