There are a lot of different kinds of dogs out there:
Tall and short, heavy-set and thin, friendly and standoffish, with every kind and color of coat imaginable. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes 189 different breeds.
In addition to purebreds (dogs of two pedigreed parents of the same breed), there are a multitude of hybrids: dogs specifically bred with a purebred dam (mother) of one breed and a purebred sire (father) of another breed. Some of the current favorites among hybrids (also known as "Designer Dogs") are Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever and Poodle), Golden Doodles (Golden Retriever and Poodle), and Chiweenies (Chihuahua and Dachshund). In years past, Cocakpoos (Cocker Spaniel and Poodle), Yorkipoos (Yorkshire Terrier and Poodle), and Peekapoos (Pekinese and Poodle) were among the more sought after dogs.
All the different breeds of dogs are the result of selective breeding—either through natural selection, human intervention, or a combination thereof. Around the world, there are nearly 400 breeds of dogs listed somewhere on a registry in one country or another. So why have some dogs made the roster of AKC breeds while others have not?
The road to becoming AKC registered.
Four criteria must be met to be eligible for consideration to become recognized by the AKC:
There must be a national breed club with a minimum of 100 active household members.
There must be at least 300-400 individual dogs with a third-generation pedigree in the US.
The dogs and owners must be located in at least 20 different states.
The AKC must approve not only the breed standard but also the club's constitution and by-laws.
The breed club must submit a written request, along with the history of the breed, written breed standards, and photographs of the breed.
Just meeting these requirements doesn't guarantee the breed will become recognized by the AKC, but the breed can be considered for recognition.
Many of the breeds that are recognized by other countries either don't have a significant breed population in the United States, and/or there isn't sufficient interest by the owners of the breed to meet the qualifications necessary for the breed to be brought before the AKC for consideration.
Once a dog breed is recognized by the AKC, the breed standards are rigidly set, ensuring the integrity of the breed. A person interested in a specific breed will have a pretty good idea of what to expect of a dog from that breed.
In addition, a careful record of the dog's pedigree is kept on hand. By researching pedigrees, breeders can avoid potential issues that can arise as a result of close in-breeding. It also provides a way for breeders across the country to find each other to help revive dying breeds.
So will today's Designer Dogs be added to the AKC ranks? Probably not, at least not for some time. For one thing, offspring of dogs from two AKC recognized breeds are not accepted. So until or unless Labradoodles, for example, are bred to the point that all Labradoodles are the result of the breeding of one Labradoodle to another Labradoodle, with consistent enough results that a breed standard can be established and all other requirements for breed recognition are met, they'll stay a sought-after hybrid.
Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.