Kennel clubs, also known as a kennel council in some countries, are organizations which provide guidance on the breeding, showing and promotion of more than one breed of dog. Generally, kennel clubs are “all-breed clubs.” All, in this case, meaning only those breeds that they recognize and “breed” means purebred dogs. A club that handles only one dog breed is known as a breed club.
Many countries have their own national kennel club. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) is an international association of national kennel clubs. Its membership includes 98 countries. However, the American Kennel Club (US), the Kennel Club (UK), and the Canadian Kennel Club are not FCI members. Following is a list of the major kennel clubs in English speaking countries:
The American Kennel Club (AKC) traced its beginning to September 17, 1884, when a group of dog enthusiasts met in the Philadelphia Kennel Club. Each member represented a group that had held a dog show or a field trial. This “Club of Clubs” became The American Kennel Club.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) registers purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC also sponsors the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The AKC is not affiliated with the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) is the major kennel club in Canada. It has approximately 20,000 individual members and over 700 breed clubs across Canada. The Club registers purebred dogs, regulates dog shows and performance events, and promotes dog ownership and dogs’ health and welfare across Canada. The club now recognizes over 175 different dog breeds.
The forerunner of the Canadian Kennel club began as part of what is now the AKC. As frequently happens in international affairs, arguments developed between the American and Canadian breed clubs. In 1886 the Canadian clubs pulled out and established their own kennel club two years later.
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) started in April 1949 in Sydney. The AKNC maintains breed standards for all the Australian National Kennel Council recognized breeds and keeps the purebred dogs’ registers. It governs the ANKC dog conformation shows, dog trials, and other dog events. The ANKC is a member of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
The Kennel Club (United Kingdom) (“KC”) is the official kennel club of the United Kingdom. Founded in 1873, it is the oldest recognized kennel club in the world. Its role is to supervise dog activities, including dog shows, dog agility, and working dog trials. It also maintains a register of pedigree dogs in the United Kingdom. Its headquarters are on Clarges Street in Mayfair, London.
The Kennel Club divides dogs into seven breed groups: hound, working, terrier, gundog, pastoral, utility, and toy. In 2020, the Kennel Club recognized 218 dog breeds. The only dog show it actually runs is Crufts. This show has been held since 1928 and attracts competitors from all over the world. It is held every March in Birmingham and includes the less formal Scruffts show for crossbreed and mixed-breed dogs.
United Kennel Club (United States) (UKC) was founded on February 10, 1898, by Chauncey Z. Bennett, who was dissatisfied with the other dog registries. He felt they were geared too much for show dogs or what Bennett called “the big city idle rich.” Bennett promoted the “total dog,” a dog that performs as well as it looks. Intelligence and working ability were just as important as conformation to breed standard. Bennett found support among the owners of working dogs, herding, and hunting dogs.
Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) has members, associates, and partners in 98 countries, but some major kennel clubs like the American Kennel Club, The Kennel Club (UK), and the Canadian Kennel Club are not members. The FCI was created on May 22nd, 1911, to promote purebred dogs. The founding countries include Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, and the Nederlands. It disbanded during the First World War and was revived in 1921 by Belgium and France.