Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if the puppy I bought is now sick?

The AKC is always concerned when we learn about the sale of a sick dog or a dog that has been diagnosed as having a congenital defect. However, the AKC does not license or endorse anyone engaged in the commerce of selling purebred dogs and, therefore, has no control over the business practices of those involved in such transactions. Membership in the AKC is comprised of independent dog clubs located throughout the United States. No individual persons are members of the AKC.
While the AKC attempts to foster sound breeding practices through education and through the funding of research, and while many breeders offer various guarantees with respect to the health of dogs, our jurisdiction is limited to the practices one must follow to ensure proper identification of dogs registered with the AKC. Registration, in itself, does not guarantee the quality of health of a dog.

There are no provisions in our rules to preclude the breeding of dogs of questionable quality. We would certainly hope, however, that if the matter is brought to the attention of the owners of dogs involved, they would give the matter very careful consideration before contemplating breeding the dogs again.

If you feel that you should be compensated for all or part of the purchase price of your dog, and if you are unable to resolve the matter with the seller; we can only recommend that you seek legal counsel to determine if you can obtain relief through civil channels. You may also wish to bring this matter to the attention of your local Better Business Bureau or Consumer Protection Service.

With regard to the facility at which your dog was purchased, if you feel the conditions there do not meet acceptable health standards, the matter should be brought to the attention of your local SPCA, Humane Society, or Health Department.

The AKC has adopted a policy pertaining to the care and condition of dogs, which can be found online at

If you wish to file a complaint with the American Kennel Club regarding unacceptable dog or kennel conditions, the AKC accepts written, signed complaints, which contain direct information that supports allegations of AKC Rules violations. Complaints should be addressed to:
American Kennel Club
Director of Investigations & Inspections
8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27617-3390.

How do I complain to the AKC about a breeder?

You will need to write a letter giving the details of the situation and copies of any documents you have. Please provide the full names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved, including you. You will need to fax or mail that letter and copies of all related documents to:

American Kennel Club
Customer Registration Support Dept.
PO Box 900066
Raleigh, NC 27675-9066
Fax - 919-816-4250

We will review the situation, contact the breeder, and get back to you.

Please be sure to sign your letter of complaint.

What type of agreement should the buyer and seller enter into upon the sale of a puppy?

It has been our experience that all too frequently, severe and complicated problems result from disputes over conditional sale, conditional stud and co-ownership contracts or any contract or agreement relating to restrictions or limitations people try to place on the sale or breeding of a dog.

Chapter 3, Section 6 of Rules Applying to Registration and Discipline states, in part:
"For the purpose of registering or refusing to register purebred dogs The American Kennel Club will recognize only such conditional sale or conditional stud agreements affecting the registration of purebred dogs as are in writing and are shown to have been brought to the attention of the applicant for registration.
The American Kennel Club cannot recognize alleged conditional sale, conditional stud or other agreements not in writing which affect the registration of purebred dogs, until after the existence, construction and/or affect of the same shall have been determined by an action at law."

If properly completed AKC registration papers are not supplied with the dog when it is shipped or delivered to someone else, the person delivering or shipping the dog must furnish the person acquiring the dog with a bill of sale or other signed memorandum giving all of the identifying information listed below. A promise of later identification is not acceptable
For a Dog Not Yet Individually Registered
Sex and color and markings
Date of birth
Litter number (when available)
Names and numbers of sire and dam
Name of breeder
Date sold or delivered

For a Registered Dog
Registered name
Registration number
Date sold or delivered

This identifying information must be supplied with the dog even though AKC papers are not yet available, and even to a person who takes the dog only for resale as an agent or on consignment, and the same information must be passed on by him when he disposes of it. (The only exception to this requirement is when there is a written agreement made between the parties when the dog is delivered specifying that registration papers are never to be given.)

The American Kennel Club considers the purchase of a dog a private transaction between the buyer and the seller. As with any transaction, the seller, or in this case the breeder, we believe should stand behind their product and act as a responsible breeder. Many reputable breeders have different opinions as to the rights of the seller and buyer and buyback/return policies. A contract at the time of sale sometimes will eliminate these questions.

The American Kennel Club supports the breeding of dogs by responsible breeders for the purpose of improving breeds of purebred dogs. The AKC does attempt to foster sound breeding practices through education, funding of research, and inclusion of Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) data in our records and printed on our registration documents.

The American Kennel Club does not license or endorse anyone engaged in the commerce of selling purebred dogs and, therefore, has little control over the business practices of those involved in such transactions.  While The American Kennel Club attempts to foster sound breeding, our jurisdiction is limited to the practices one must follow to ensure proper identification of dogs registered with The American Kennel Club.  AKC is a registry body. A Registration Certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam, born on a known date.

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