The love of dogs is practically universal. Some dog lovers have elevated their canine appreciation to an art — or sport. The American Kennel Club is dedicated to the studying, breeding, exhibiting, running and the maintenance of purebred dogs, according to the American Kennel Club (or AKC). But what is the AKC exactly?
AKC history. Members J.M. Taylor and Elliot Smith of the Philadelphia Kennel Club called a meeting to order in 1884. The result of their meeting was the development of a club that contained members who owned dogs that had recently held a benched dog show or had run field trials. This group of the elite began what is now known as the American Kennel Club. Through the years, the AKC organized and formalized its organization with headquarters in New York and an executive management. The AKC standardized guidelines for breeding quality, purebred dogs, and its dog show was created with formalized standards for judging the dogs. The organization published "The National American Kennel Club Stud Book" and published a magazine. In 1908, under a special charter by the Legislature of the State of New York, the AKC was granted its third articles of incorporation.
How is the AKC governed? The organizational structure has evolved though the last 126 years. A full organizational chart is available on the AKC’s website. The major offices include:
- President — The president and CEO directs all AKC functions, carries out policy and otherwise communicates the mission of the AKC to the public.
- Chief operating officer — The chief operating officer directs the day-to-day activities of the North Carolina Operations Center. The COO also oversees core business such as marketing, communications, registration, customer service, conformation, performance, events, judges and the Canine Partners Department.
- Executive secretary — The executive secretary's main role is to keep a record of meetings and policies, as well as to curate the official historical records. This position has oversight responsibilities, including relations with foreign registries; the Club Relations department; the award programs; archives; the library and art collection, which are open to the public; and the maintenance of the AKC’s New York headquarters.
- Chief financial officer — This role involves directing financial reporting, analysis and planning. The CFO is also responsible for managing investments of the pension plan and operating funds. Human Resources, Audit and Control functions also fall under the purview of the CFO.
What is the AKC role today? Today the AKC has an integral role in upholding the integrity of its purebred dog registry. Additionally, the AKC promotes the sport of purebred dogs, proper breeding and to champion the rights of dog owners while promoting responsibility in the ownership of dogs.
AKC’s contribution over the years. The AKC has worked on legislative issues that support dog and dog owner’s rights. The club has sanctioned dog shows and performance events and has launched campaigns for public awareness of responsible dog ownership and education. The AKC is responsible for contributing to the health research by establishing the Canine Health Foundation. This foundation offers grants for research that benefits the health of dogs.