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How to Register Your Dog

Registering your dog is an important aspect of responsible pet ownership. There are many registries from which to choose, the most well-known being the American Kennel Club (AKC). Registering your dog with one of these esteemed organizations grants you access to educational and informational services, and allows your dog to participate in dog events and competitions.

Part One of Two:
Choosing Where to Register Your Dog

  1. 1
    Learn why you should register your dog. Regardless of which dog registry you are considering, it is important for you to understand the benefits of dog registration. For example, registering your dog provides valid proof that you are his owner.[1] Obtaining this proof is one of the first steps towards becoming a responsible pet owner.[2]
    • If your dog is purebred, registering him helps ensure that his pedigree remains intact from one generation to the next.[3]
    • Purebred dog registries provide other benefits, such as maintenance of birth records.[4]
    • You can still enjoy the benefits of dog registration even if your dog is not purebred. Registries such as the Dog Registry of America and the National Hybrid Registry accept non-purebred dogs.[5]
    • Remember that registration is not proof of breed quality.[6] This is more applicable if you are looking to purchase a purebred dog, rather than registering your own.
    • If you are only interested in registering your dog for proof of ownership, then getting an Identichip/microchip implanted in your dog is best. If your dog gets lost and is picked up by a rescue, the shelter will scan the chip, pick up the unique number, and be able to reunite the two of you.
  2. 2
    Determine where you want to register your dog. The three most reputable and well-known all-breed registries in North America are the AKC, the United Kennel Club, and the Canadian Kennel Club.[7] It may be helpful to start your search with these registries to determine if your dog is eligible for registration.
    • The website provides a comprehensive list of dog registries for both purebred and non-purebred dogs.
    • If you have a service dog, consider registering him with a service dog registry, such as the United States Service Dog Registry.[8]
    • Some dog breeds are so rare that they are not listed on the more common dog registries. The American Rare Breed Association has a registry for rare dog breeds (e.g., wirehaired Vizsla, miniature American shepherd).[9]
    • There are also breed-specific registries, such as the registry associated with the Australian Shepherd Club of America.[10]
  3. 3
    Avoid suspicious or non-reputable dog registries. Not all dog registries are created equal. Dog registries that primarily cater to puppy mills are not reputable and should be avoided. Also, be suspicious of dog registries that do not require a valid proof of pedigree.
    • Do not use dog registries that require only a photo of your dog as proof of his pedigree.
    • Reputable dog registries are non-profit organizations. Be wary of dog registries that are for-profit companies.
    • Avoid dog registries that do not have a code of ethics or set of standards that registrants must follow.
    • Some online registries may be especially unscrupulous by charging unreasonably high fees or disappearing after receiving your payment.[11]
    • Consider speaking with your veterinarian, other dog owners, or a reputable breeder for recommendations on respectable registries.

Part Two of Two:
Registering Your Dog

  1. 1
    Fill out and submit the application. Although the application format itself will vary from one dog registry to another, the required information is generally the same. For example, you will need to provide your contact information and specific information about your dog (breed, name, sex, date of birth).[12]
    • Other registration requirements may include information about your dog’s breeder, [13] photos of your dog, [14] and a three-generation pedigree certificate.[15]
    • Requesting the three-generation pedigree certificate will probably require additional payment.[16]
    • To register your dog through the AKC, you will need to obtain the registration application from the breeder from whom you purchased your dog.[17]
    • If you are registering your service dog, you will likely need to provide valid proof of your disability.[18]
    • If payment is required, be aware that your payment may be nonrefundable.[19]
    • Some dog registries will have applications that you can fill out and submit online. For others, you may have to download the application from their website and fill it out by hand.
  2. 2
    Wait for your registration certificate. The length of time between submitting your application and receiving your dog’s official registration certificate will vary between dog registries. For example, the registration process usually takes about three weeks for the AKC.[20] Consider contacting the registry if its website does not provide information on when you can expect to receive the registration certification following submission of the application.
  3. 3
    Check the accuracy of the registration certificate. It is important to carefully read through the information on your dog’s registration certificate. Contact the registry if you notice any errors or inaccuracies on the certificate.[21]

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Can I register a pet that was a gift and came with no papers?
    Answered by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS
    • Yes, although consider why you wish to register the dog. If it is because you want to be able to prove ownership or be reunited if the dog is lost, then consider getting them microchipped. An ID chip is a permanent means of ID, and your contact details are logged on a central database.
    Thanks! 14 5
  • Does my dog need to be neutered if I want to register him?
    Answered by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS
    • No. Registration is more about proving ownership and hopefully settling any disputes should he be stolen or get lost. As such, neutering status is irrelevant.
    Thanks! 6 1
  • What if you don't have information about the dog's parents?
    Answered by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS
    • This will prevent you from registering a purebred dog with the AKC or UKC, but not with any number of hybrid dog registers. However, you should ask yourself: what is your motivation for registering the dog? If it is to prove ownership, then implanting an ID chip and registering the number is a legal and binding way to show that you own the dog.
    Thanks! 4 5
  • How can I get a companion license so that my dog can go into stores with me?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • It depends on whether your dog is considered a service animal or an emotional support animal. Service dogs need 18-24 months of training and are considered medical equipment. Service dogs are permitted many places where typical pets are not. To have your dog considered an emotional support dog, you need a note from a doctor saying the dog is necessary to your mental health, however, emotional support dogs are typically not allowed anywhere a pet would not be allowed.
    Thanks! 8 1
  • How do I get papers for my dog?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • You may register your dog at your veterinarian's office.
    Thanks! 16 4
  • I have to shift another country and I want my dog to come with me, so what are the requirements for that?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • That depends on which country you are moving from and which country you are moving to. Check the government website covering quarantine laws for the country you're leaving from. Usually dogs are okay but there will be special requirements, in some case quarantine periods and in most cases, fees to be paid. Some breeds might not be permitted, depending on local laws. You'll need vet papers, showing the latest vaccinations and health status of your dog. Your veterinarian can help you with more specific advice as well.
    Thanks! 2 0
  • Can I register my dog if I do not know its exact date of birth?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, but try to find the date if you can by asking the previous owner or shelter. If you really can't find the date, then put "N/A" on the form, or tell the vet that you don't know the date of birth.
    Thanks! 3 1
  • What can I do to get my dog registered if I don't know whether its parents had papers?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • The Designer Breed Registry will re sister your dog, however, the registration would be classified as IAL /Indefinite Ancestry Listing.
    Thanks! 0 0
  • Can I register my dog if the breeder didn't register the litter, but I have pictures of my dog's parents registrations?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, you can register your dog with the Designer Breed Registry if you have pictures of the parents registrations.
    Thanks! 0 0
  • Is there a way to register a Rottweiler as a service dog?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes. All you have to do is find a company that will give you the supplies you need to train your dog and certify them as a service dog. You can find a company near you online.
    Thanks! 0 0
Show more answers
  • Where and how can I register my dog as a service dog?
  • What paperwork is needed to adopt a dog I just found?
  • What is the purpose of registering dogs?
  • The owners of my pure-bred won't register the litter or give me information. Is there any way around this?
  • How do I register my dog if one of my dog's parents is registered with the AKC and the other is registered in the CKC?
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  • If you are interested in registering your service dog, be mindful that he should be certified as a service dog before he is registered. Oftentimes, certification is more important to a service dog’s qualifications than registration.[22]
    0 Helpful?  0
  • The AKC offers an alternative program called the Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) for purebred dogs who are not eligible for AKC certification.[23] The PAL allows purebred dogs to participate in AKC events, such as agility trials and hunt tests.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Be aware that there are no legally recognized registries for service dogs in the US. Any that claim to be an official registry are a scam.
    0 Helpful?  0

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Expert Review By:

Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

This version of How to Register Your Dog was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on April 24, 2017.

80 votes - 63%
Co-authors: 19
Views: 89,937
Categories: Dogs

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