American Kennel Club
The AKC is a not-for-profit organization and the largest purebred dog registry in the world. It is the sports-governing body for over 22,000 dog events a year, including conformation (dog shows) and exciting sports like agility, obedience, rally, tracking, lure coursing, earthdog, herding trials, among others. But the AKC is so much more! Through their programs, events, and services they support and enrich the lives of dogs — purebreds and mixed-breeds alike — and their families.
On September 17, 1884, a group of twelve dedicated sportsmen, responding to a "meeting call" from Messrs. J. M. Taylor and Elliot Smith, met in the rooms of the Philadelphia Kennel Club in that City. Each member of the group was a representative or "delegate" from a dog club that had, in the recent past, held a benched dog show or had run field trials. This new "Club of Clubs" was, in fact, The American Kennel Club.
The AKC is the largest registry of purebred dogs in the U.S., and is the only not-for profit registry, as well as the most well-known, and the most influential. For a purebred dog to be registered with the AKC, the dog's parents must be registered with the AKC as the same breed, and the litter in which the dog is born must be registered with the AKC. If the dog's parents are not registered with the AKC or the litter is not registered, an exception may be made if the AKC determines, through special registry research, that the dog is eligible for AKC registration. Once a determination of eligibility is met, either by litter application or registry research, the dog can be registered as purebred by the AKC. Registration indicates only that the dog's parents were registered as one recognized breed; it does not necessarily indicate that the dog comes from healthy or show-quality blood lines, nor is registration necessarily a reflection on the quality of the breeder or how the puppy was raised.
The AKC website: http://www.akc.org/