The Difference Between The AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC

The Difference Between The AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC

Welcome to this guide exploring the difference between the AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC, four major canine registry organizations in the United States. Are you confused about the different dog registries?

This guide will explain everything you need to know about them. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of which registry is best for your dog and be able to make an informed decision when it comes to registration. So please join us as we examine these clubs and their unique registries!


Registering your dog provides proof of ownership. Not only that, but it also will help provide proof of lineage on future offspring of your dog.

If you’re looking to register your pet or buying a purebred dog, you’ve might have heard of the AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC. These are the four major dog registry organizations in the United States, and they all have different requirements and benefits.

Video: The Difference Between The AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC

The American Kennel Club (AKC)

The American Kennel Club (AKC), founded in 1884, is the oldest and most well-known of the organizations. It is a not-for-profit organization that registers purebred dogs and sanctions dog shows and competitions.

The number of AKC registered dogs are more than 60 million dogs worldwide, making it the largest registry in the world. Although there are about 400 dog breeds known throughout the world, the AKC recognizes only about 200 of them. The reason for this is that either there aren’t enough of those other breeds in the United States, or there is not enough interest among owners of those breeds to achieve AKC recognized status.

Besides the American Kennel Club purebred registry, they also have a program called AKC Canine Partners, where mixed-breed dogs of any age are welcome to the AKC family. The American Kennel Club sports and events, such as Agility, AKC Rally, or Obedience, are open to dogs who have been enrolled in the AKC Canine Partners program.

The AKC holds dog shows and competitions and offers a variety of services to its members, such as obedience classes, puppy classes, and canine good citizen tests.

The AKC has a more rigorous registration procedure than the other three organizations.

Effective July 1, 2000, every sire who produces seven or more litters in his lifetime or more than three litters in a calendar year must be AKC DNA profiled. These DNA profiles are utilized to strengthen concerns regarding the registry’s honesty and for genetic identification and parentage verification.

The American Kennel Club will not register a dog if it is produced by a female under eight (8) months old or over twelve (12) years old at the time of mating or a sire under seven (7) months old or over twelve (12) years old.

AKC breeders participating in the AKC Breeder Programs certify that applicable health screens are performed on their breeding stock as their AKC Breed Parent Club recommends.

In AKC conformation shows, AKC dogs compete in various classes based on breed and sex. Breeds are divided into hound, terrier, working, herding, sporting, non-sporting, toy, and miscellaneous groups. Westminster Dog Show and AKC National Championship are two well-known conformation events in the AKC.

The Difference Between The AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC

To compete in an AKC sanctioned conformation show, your pet must be an AKC registered dog.

Other types of shows the AKC participates in are companion ( Agility, Rally, and Obedience) as well as Performance Events (Hunting and Field Trials)

The most basic AKC registration fee is $39.99 for paper and $35 online. The AKC does offer different registration options, so be sure to choose the right one for your circumstances.

American Canine Association (ACA)

The American Canine Association (ACA) is a more recent organization, established in 1984, and is the largest health-tracking dog registry. It is a for-profit organization that registers purebred dogs. 

The ACA is the second oldest registry behind the AKC. The ACA is made up of over 170,000 purebred dog owners and breeders nationwide. The ACA registers more than 2 million dogs each year, which helps to protect breed quality and promote responsible dog ownership.

The Difference Between The AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC

The ACA registry aims to promote purebred breeding and maintain quality breeding programs.

As a free service to members is the Worldwide Lost and Found Pet Tag. It is a plastic tag for your dog’s collar that has a unique number attached to your dog’s registration number. If someone finds your dog, they can call the 1-800 number on the tag, and the ACA can provide your contact information so they can return your dog.

All ACA registered dogs are eligible to participate in ACA sanctioned events and dog shows.

Registering with the ACA is pretty straightforward. The fee associated with registering with the ACA is $18.00 and up. It includes free lifetime genetic health checking and lifetime lost and found services with unlimited replacement tags.

America’s Pet Registry, Inc (APRI)

America’s Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI) is a for-profit organization established in 1992. The APRI is a for-profit organization that registers purebred dogs and is a member of the BBB with an A+ status.

The Difference Between The AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC

Services provided by America’s Pet Registry include dog shows, teleconferences, and educational seminars.

Registration with America’s Pet Registry allows your dog to participate in any APRI dog show.

APRI offers various registration packages starting at $50. The organization has a code of ethics you agree to when registering a dog. One of the codes is to never breed any animal until it is both physically and mentally mature, but they don’t give a specific age.

Continental Kennel Club (CKC)

The Continental Kennel Club (CKC) is a for-profit organization established in 1991 that registers purebred and mixed-breed dogs. The CKC recognizes 450 breeds.

For clarification purposes, there is another registry, Canadian Kennel Club, that uses the CKC abbreviation. The Canadian Kennel Club is an entirely different registry than the one discussed here.

In Continental Kennel Club sanctioned performance events and conformation shows, dog breeders and owners may show their dogs, puppies, breeding programs, and training achievements. These events allow dog owners, trainers, and breeders to have their animals evaluated by a licensed and trained professional.

A feature the Continental Kennel Club has that the other registries don’t offer is that they will acknowledge and act on DNA test findings in situations of disputed parentage of any registered dogs who are with the CKC or candidate for registration with the CKC.

Registration with the CKC Continental Kennel Club starts at $15; however, there are various packages available at different prices.

Resources for AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC

All four of these organizations have websites that provide information about their services and requirements. They also have online forums and support groups for pet owners.


Which one is better: AKC, ACA, APRI or CKC?

The best registry to choose when breeding purebred dogs will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

The American Kennel Club (AKC), the American Canine Association (ACA), the American Pet Registry Inc. (APRI), and the Continental Kennel Club (CKC) are all registries that offer different benefits and rules for registration.

Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

How can I tell if my dog is a purebred or not?

There are a few ways that you can determine if your dog is purebred or not.

The first way is to obtain a pedigree from an AKC, ACA, APRI, or CKC registered breeder. This will give you the best assurance that your dog is purebred.

DNA tests can also be used to confirm whether your dog is purebred. These tests compare the dog’s DNA with that of other purebred dog registries.

Though not official, visually, you can look for the physical characteristics of a particular breed to determine its likely heritage. For example, if you have a Shih Tzu, they will have certain physical features that set them apart from other breeds of dogs. A veterinarian can also give you an opinion on your dog’s breed.

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It’s important to understand the differences between these organizations and the benefits of each before registering your pet or buying a purebred dog.

The important differences between the AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC are more likely than not found in what you are wanting from a registry. Each organization has different registration processes, from pure bred dogs to mixed breeds, breeder requirements, dog show requirements, and health testing requirements.

If you’re looking to register your pet or buy a purebred dog, the AKC, ACA, APRI, and CKC are all excellent options. Each organization offers various services and resources for pet owners, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

Have you had any interactions with any of the registries? If so, what were your impressions? Please comment below.

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