There is no doubt that the American Kennel Club founded in 1884 is a very old registry. Ten American clubs and three Canadian breed clubs founded the AKC because the only other “game in town” was the National American Kennel Club founded in 1876, and its interest focused on field trials, not conformation shows for purebred dogs. In time, it would change its name to the National Field Trial Association, and that point, it stopped having conformation shows altogether. There was a need for the AKC.
When it comes to age, however, the Field Dog Stud Book says it’s the oldest purebred dog registry in the United States. Its records its date of foundation in 1874 – two years before National American Kennel Club was organized, and ten years before the AKC – and it still registers several million dogs of all breeds. However, it too focuses on dogs bred to perform in the field, and doesn’t support any conformation shows. It’s stud book is affiliated with the field trial magazine “The American Field” the oldest continuously published sporting dog journal in the U.S. It’s published weekly and offers the latest news on purebred sporting dogs and field trial competition results.
For anyone wondering, the United Kennel Club registry is also old (it dates back to 1898 based on hunting dog registrations) and while it holds popular conformation shows, more than 60 percent of its nearly 16,000 annually licensed events are tests of hunting ability, training and instinct. Its traditional focus has been on working dogs, not show dogs, a concept that the UKC now calls the “Total Dog.”
The first dog registered with the UKC belong to its founder, Chauncey Zachariah, an American Pit Bull Terrier named Bennett’s Ring, His assigned UKC registration number? One, as in #1. The UKC began licensing conformation shows in the 1920s, and as a side note, the President of the UKC in 2000 was a a former AKC Vice President in charge of communications,Wayne Cavanaugh, a post he held until his retirement in 2015.
The United Kennel Club maintains that it is the largest all-breed performance-dog registry in the world.
Image: A certificate from the Field Dog Stud Book found on sale at Amazon here.