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Difference Between ACA and AKC


Two American dog registries seem to be on top of the competition. They are the ACA and AKC. The two are not the only American registries for canines around for there are a lot more of other similar firms. Moreover, there are several equivalent registry clubs that serve the same function as the AKC or ACA in other countries around the world.

Without any form of bias, AKC is truly the more reputable registry than the ACA. Because of this, their services are undoubtedly a lot more expensive when compared against their imitators. By the way, AKC is the acronym for the American Kennel Club, which is the oldest dog registry in the U.S.

But think about this, it doesn’t mean that because a dog is AKC registered then it will automatically be deemed a quality dog nor does it imply that the breeder is always a reputable one. What this means is that the dog’s parents were both registered under the AKC, hence it can be considered as a purebred dog. Needless to say, it is just highly probable that buying an AKC registered dog would give the buyer more chances of purchasing dogs of the best quality and those that were raised by trustworthy dog breeders.

To clear things up, it is not the responsibility of the club to breed the dogs ‘“ it is just a registry. Also, AKC does not accept any outside dog aside from those that came from the offspring of their own AKC registered canines. There is an exception however when the case dictates that the dog is coming from another country and is registered under an equivalent registry club. In this instance, the dog is eligible for AKC registration through cross registration.

AKC registration can be a form of social status for dogs because buying or owning a non-AKC registered dog may raise the red flag for most dog buyers or dog lovers. AKC is not also a firm that assesses your dog if it fits a certain criteria of quality or not, it is just there to facilitate the registration process of purebred dogs and keep it in their records forever. It keeps track of a dog’s parentage or lineage.

For the most obvious reasons, other registration firms have sprouted like the ACA (American Canine Association) to issue attractive dog certifications to potential dog buyers. They enable a dog to be ‘registered’ under their belt. With regard to their services, the ACA boasts of a more affordable array of dog services. They can even provide some of their registered canine with free vet and dog trainer visits.

1. AKC is the oldest dog registry in the U.S compared to the ACA, which is just a newer registry.

2. AKC is a more reputable dog registry club than the ACA.

3. AKC has more expensive services than the ACA.

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  1. About the American Canine Association:

    The American Canine Association (ACA) is not affiliated with, but does recognize the American Kennel Club (AKC). Headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming and having processing centers in Clermont, Florida, the ACA has been in operation as a canine registry since 1984. The organization is the largest veterinary health tracking canine registry in the United States that provides a variety of additional services to dog owners and breeders who choose to register their dogs.

    Health Tracking Registry
    Veterinarian certified genetic health records of dogs that are registered with ACA are updated and tracked every day. Part of the health tracking service provided by ACA is documentation of congenital defects as a means of playing an active role in healthy breeding practices. This information benefits professional breeders and individuals who purchase purebred canines alike.

    Pet Safety and Protection
    The association also focuses on helping pet owners protect their registered pets. One way the organization does this is to provide microchip registration FREE for all dogs registered with the organization. Additionally, you’ll receive an identification tag with the association’s phone number on it along with your dog’s registration papers. Both benefits are powerful tools for increasing the chances of a safe return home if your pet is lost.

    Registrant Customer Service
    When you register your dog with ACA, you will have access to the organization’s customer service center. The ACA focuses on providing the owners of registered canines with courteous and cooperative service that meets their needs in an efficient manner. Service is available with toll free telephone (1-800-651-8332) and fax (1-800-422-1864), email, and the http://www.ACAinfo.com website. Ask-A-Vet and Ask-A-Trainer expert services are available to registered pet owners directly from the website.

    Resources and Service
    Owners of ACA registered dogs can request and receive information related to registration, dog care and training, details about relevant legislative matters and more. The service center also handles veterinary health tracking and can provide registrants with referrals to qualified veterinarians.

    Expert Guidance
    The organization operates under the guidance of advisory boards made up of veterinarians as well as legal and legislative specialists who are leaders in the industry. ACA staff members are actively involved in legislation that impacts the canine industry, including factors relevant to dog ownership and breeding, as well as the service dog component of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    ACA Dog Show Events
    A variety of ACA sanctioned educational events, trade shows, and dog shows are held throughout the U.S. every year. There are many different types of shows and competitions, ranging from breed conformation to agility, field trials and more. ACA registered canines are eligible for participation in these events. A calendar of events is published online at ACAevents.com.

    How to Register with the ACA
    Are you ready to become a part of the ACA? Registering your purebred dog with the American Canine Association is easy. You can see a list of dog breeds eligible for canine registry at acabreeds.com. Assuming that your dog is eligible for registration, you’ll find that submitting the necessary paperwork is quick and easy. You can fill out the registration forms online, in just a few minutes.

    If your pet’s lineage is documented through a different registry, you can apply for dual registration. When you fill out the online dual registration form, you will need to attach a three generation certificate of pedigree along with your pet’s existing registration certificate or completed ACA application form.

    Additional Information
    For more information about ACA, you can submit the online contact form at http://www.ACAinfo.com

    • Their “health tracking registry” is literally just an exam with a regular vet. It in no way requires (or even encourages) the genetic testing or specialist exams that should be done before breeding a dog.

      Literally any dog can be registered with ACA, no matter the breed/mix and background of the dog. The parents did not need to be registered, nor did they need to be proven purebreds. AKC has a lot of improvements to make, but ACA exists solely to make money by allowing irresponsible breeding practices. No reputable breeder would ever register their dogs with ACA.

      • You are obviously getting AKC and ACA mixed up there has been several disasters with the AKC and it’s not acceptable so before just coming on here and leaving replys I encourage you to do research.

        • The person you replied to literally said the AKC does have faults, but nothing else she stated about the ACA is false.

          • No actually that person said much I just got a website that I was under the impression it was all and not I’m researching cuz turns out it’s she is ACA and got me nervous about my purchase

          • Much more and that is west highland

          • You are correct. The ACA allows dogs they do not meet all breed standards to be ” registered” like $3600.00. Imperial shih tus. Which is not recognized because they are way out of size for breed standard. Or mixed breed designer dogs which used to be mutts for astronomical prices.

      • Kim,

        95% of ACA’s registered dogs link back to AKC. AKC has a strong campaign right now asking breeders to switch back to AKC. AKC accepts ACA dogs with pedigrees linking back to AKC.

        ACA does not register any dog from a different registry without a copy of the original registration certificate and a certified pedigree. You may call them directly at 1-800-651-8332 to verify this.

        ACA’s Star Breeder Program is miles above AKC’ Breeder of Merit Program. To see the requirements for ACA’s Star Breeder Program, please go to https://www.starbreeder.org.

        ACA’s free breeder support program give breeders unprecedented support and tools to help the breeder continually improve and become more efficient. You may find more information on this breeder support program at https://www.mykennel.org.

        ACA does not register any mix breeds. However, AKC does and you can read more about this fact right from their website http://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/did-you-know/does-the-akc-like-mixed-breeds/

        ACA has acquired MARRS Microchip Corporation (https://www.marrsmicrochip.com.) ACA includes FREE lifetime microchip registration to all ACA registered dogs. AKC charges an additional $15 for this service.

        ACA includes Lost & Found tags with every dog registration at no charge. AKC charges for this service. ACA’s has live operators who provide lost & found services 24 hours a day – 7 days a week.

        ACA’s fees are far less than AKC’s and without the punitive penalties at every turn… each intentionally designed to increase their financial bottom line.

        • Umm.. AKC has a PAL/ILP
          The Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP) werevto get said number your dog has to be spayed and neutered. You are not allowed to hold one of those numbers and breed. Those with PAL/ILP numbers are only for competition and titles. ACA even breed list labradoodles to register and breed lol! They are not a purebred only dog registry. They even give you the history of the mutt and you can register you labradoodle “purebred” litter to get the puppies ACA papers. Its so funny you are advocating for a club you know nothing about.

        • Bob,
          Did you even read about AKC mixed breed you attached? It’s NOT saying you can register your dog as akc it’s saying you can AKC titles which is totally different. It’s a competition it’s not like going to an actual show ring or anything. I’ve done this.

        • Bob, you may want to actually research ACA rather than simply copying and pasting from their website.

      • My dog was purchased through a reputable seller who has breed cockers for 30 years and he is a excellent breeder.

  2. My puppy is registered with the ACA., doesn’t that entitle him to AKC registration? If so, please send an application.

    • We were told we cannot get our dog registered through the AKC just because it is a ACA register. Hey Casey does have a program called PAL Which stands for purebred alternative listing. Our puppy is taking obedience training through an individual that deals mostly with the AKC organization so even though the public and get training it can’t get a certificate through the AKC unless we go through the PAL program. It’s a shame that you can’t give the AKC your P AL registration information and get a dual registration .It would have been nice to know the difference before we purchase this dog.Having said all of that we love our puppy he’s eight months old and obviously a purebred beagle and we love them to pieces and we could care less of his registration now. We never plan to breed him in fact he is neutered and we don’t plan to go to dog shows so really none of it matters.

      • Thank you saying my exact feelings Greg…this is a heart to heart affair.

      • This is the best comment here. Love your puppies, have fun with them and watch them grow. It does not matter how you registered them but how you love them.

      • I have had to deal with APRI, ACA, and ACA. With a pedigree you can list your ACA dog w AKC. I keep maltese. The AKC listed a 12 lb malty that I rescued! The ACA would not do so bc of pedigree concerns…in other words, they felt the breeder faked/switched the paperwork. I have found the AKC to be horribly rude, greedy, and stuck up… even when I bred champion liniage. I quit using them bc of their attitude, while ACA gives me SO much more for far less hassle and headaches. DNA doesn’t lie and my pedigrees stand just the same. I just don’t have to pay them to treat me badly…lol

    • no….u have to have AKC heritage (bloodlines) to get ALL registry. Having ACA is not going allow u to get AKC if u don’t have AKC pedigree (bloodlines)

  3. If my dog is ACA registered and we breed her with an AKC registered male, her puppies will not be able to register with AKC? And viceversa? Can we register her puppies with ACA?

    • Ingrid,

      If your Dog is ACA registered and you can trace the linage back down both lines to an AKC grand parent you can apply for both AKC and ACA. But if not you can still register with ACA. We had this issue with our beagle. Our problem was the Father ( I know I’m using the wrong term here) we could trace back to it’s linage back to both Sire and Dams, so we were good there. But the mother only on one side of the linage was AKC for some reason the the Sire was linage was always ACA, so we could apply for dual registrations. We never plan to bread our Male and he has been neutered so for us, it makes no difference. He did get his PALs rating from AKC. All me know having raised several Beagles is that he is 100% a Beagle.

    • I would like to known the exact same thing!

    • Yes, we will be able to register with ACA. You can also submit the blood line of you ACA dog and they find that their Dam and Sire have AKC registered relatives down both blood lines you can submit to AKC and you may be able to register the pups with them. If fact the will to the search for you and you may also be able to register your ACA registered dog with the AKC as well. I just went through this but the blood line on my ACA registered dog. The Sire’s blood line was good, the my pup’s Mom didn’t have what they needed. For us, it didn’t really matter as we had our pup neutered and we don’t plan to enter it in any AKC events.


    • She will not be able to register at all with the AKC. He how ever can register with th me ACA. If you want a AKC dog and get litters registered with the AKC then looking into getting a AKC dog.

    • Also the litter can’t be registered with the AKC also 🙂

      • Karen,

        Over 95% of ACA’s registration originate from AKC registrations. I suggest you contact David Robert, Vice President of the American Kennel Club (AKC) at (919) *** If you have pedigree lineage of an ACA registered dog leading back to AKC, AKC will registered the ACA registered dog with AKC.



  4. I’m guess my post above was not read. Again, AKC will trace the linage if you have the needed paper work. If somewhere down the linage of the Sire and the Dames have AKC registration then that dog can be registered. and in fact can have dual registration. We have done this! None of this matters however if you are not breeding or not showing.

  5. So in all truths what I’m hearing is it’s all about someone being able to say their dog is better cause they have a piece of paper that the other don’t have. And since when has a piece of paper been able to prove something was true?

  6. Lol… let’s not burn anybody at the stake here.. you all are missing the point and all this bickering sounds to reminiscent to racial biases and all the nightmare, back-in-Highschool, mean girl, click club, smack talk that is all so wrong.. so very very wrong… smh. There really is a difference between the two. The AKC is like an exclusive country club once renowned for its unchanging and everlasting mission to serve its members and keep our pure breeds true and pure, but just like the unjoinable country club on the west side of town, being modern and up-to-date is a part of being the best. Grandpa is dead. And please let the ladies in! I’m sick of spending all this social luxury time with Just the guys! Because girls are fun! Could u imagine joining a club of just women?! Drag me to hell! … the ACA is like the cool music club.. dynamic and ever changing. The AKC accepts breeds that were created (again CREATED) a long time ago but the thing is breeds are being created all the time. Something the AKC has no obligation or responsibility to change for because it’s a club. It has made some adjustments overtime to accommodate its ehh hemm… top human members that bring mostly good intentions to keep a more up-to-date registry to, you know, be more knowledgeable and not ‘old’ or out-of-date. The ACA is an association meant to be used as a way to validate the creation of any new breed in a fair, unbiased, safe, and healthy way so that we may forever enjoy the ever-changing landscape of human preferences and the roles, whether new or just forgotten, dog breeds serve to accommodate or even enhance the lives they serve daily. The ACA wasn’t necessary at first because the AKC didn’t need to add breeds. Their list was pretty thorough and no requests or rebuttals were made. But then new generations and new perceptions about dogs came tumbling threw (ironically so did Disney’s all time fave 101 Dalmatians)! People’s interest in dogs were renewed and breeders proud of their new CREATIONS and genetic lineages long forgotten and some almost gone were brought back to us. My point is the AKC is very picky about what they accept in their club but they also know new breeds can be created anytime. So responsibly they must keep their values and criteria very clear and on a tight leash (no pun intended):)… so the ACA was born. The ACA mission is to NOT be an EXclusive club but be an INclusive association that helps registries and clubs, like the AKC, make final decisions about what is an acceptable pure breed canine, again, for the health and safety of dog breed creation, debate, and well-deserved but under-served or just forgotten or hidden exotic breeds just now making their debut. The ACA is simply a more complete registration of all possible pure breed canines available for us to choose from. Remember breeds were CREATED. The first dog was a mix of coyote and wolf or wild dogs and dingos or wild dogs and fox or coyote and fox. Some were a success some not so much. Pure breed canines didn’t come to us until around ohhh the 16th or 17th century. Before then they were all a Heinz’s 57 of mixes looking for warm homes and tasty handouts just like today.. and please stop saying the US AKC is the most exclusive and oldest canine club in the world.. thats like saying the US has the best judgement of character in the world.. or the cutest babies in the world or makes the best ice cream or won WWII.. now anybody interested in a discussion of HOW we genetically engineer a pure breed?

  7. I bought an ACA registered purebred chocolate labrador dam to breed. Spent a lot of money on tests making sure she is a very healthy and fit dog to carry on the gene into future generations. Spent a lot of time finding a sire that was top notch. The one I found was AKC registered. AKC will not register the litter unless both parents have full AKC lineage. At some point, if AKC can only breed to AKC, where does the line of inbreeding begin? How long before that happens? Anyway, I get really annoyed at the fact that I have all the paperwork, blood sweat and tears of doing this breeding thing right and it simply isn’t good enough for the AKC. So, I focus on what matters, the health and well being of the breed. The registration will be what it has to be. I have a feeling ACA will end up with a wealth of strong breeds because they encourage and welcome responsible breeding and people feel welcome. They don’t just register stuff willy nilly. Why is it necessary to state that most ACA registered trace back to AKC? If AKC was so good…why did they end up ACA registered? And if ACA was so bad, why are they wanting AKC lineage to come back after they’ve been ACA registered? I mean, the horrors what they could’ve been exposed to, considering some AKC defenders comments.
    I get it, I’ve read a ton…talked to a lot of breeders and veterinarians, visited clubs and brown nosed. I see both sides. But the bigotry and name calling and stuck up attitudes need to cease and we need to focus on responsible breeding and overall wellness instead of this petty bickering.

  8. This has definently been an interesting forum. I have owned a Sheltie for 4 years. He is AKC registered. He comes from parents that are championship breed. His siblings are also winners of multiple dog shows around the country. I never got into the dog shows and he has been the family pet. Although, I must say the smartest and loving dog I ever had.
    I just bought a female that I found out was ACA. I don’t plan on going into the doggy business but only wanted to breed her 2 times. Out of the liter I was wanting to keep one puppy to grow old with if he would be anything like his Dad. I now understand why Sheltie puppies are $400 to $2000 more in our area. These puppy’s are AKC. Thanks for all the info and it has definently been enlightening and a little confusing.
    Best of luck to all!

  9. What is required to register a aca puppy as an akc puppy

  10. Is limited registration a common thing. Is your breeder a co-owner of the dog ?

  11. So from what I’ve read and researched both the ACA and AKC have their flaws- a lot of those flaws overlap- and while the AKC does tend to pull ahead in most people’s eyes it really depends what you’re looking for. A dog being purebred may or may not matter to you (although generally that is the point in going to a breeder) but what matters to everyone is getting a healthy dog raised in a healthy environment, and both organizations can’t guarantee this at all because neither do routine inspections of their associated breeder facilities or health checks on the breeding dogs (you don’t have to be inspected at all to obtain papers from either). Both decline to answer questions about how many of their registered dogs and breeders have been inspected at all, because the answer would cost them a lot of credibility. So if, like me, you’re looking to get a dog and you want to make sure you’re making the best decision possible, don’t focus on the fancy paperwork. Focus on what you can prove.
    That means going to the breeders facility when possible (covid and distance play a part in this) and if you can’t facetime the breeder multiple times so that you can see your puppy, its littermates, the mother caring for them, their living conditions and any paperwork they may have from a vet. Discussing your dog and dog care with the breeder until you’re confident that they know what they’re doing and they know their dogs. Researching the breed thoroughly so that you know what to look for and what to ask about. If you can checking into any customer reviews/testimonials.
    It also means looking out for any red flags, like:
    -a breeder who won’t allow you to come to their facility OR facetime/video chat.
    -a breeder who seems to be rushing towards a sale. Good breeders will ask you questions because they want to know their dog is going to a good home.
    -being told that the mother isn’t there at the moment- even if they’ve bred someone else’s dog, in most situations the puppy is too young to be away from their mother.
    -pricing that’s way below the standard; if it seems too good to be true it usually is. If the breed you want usually goes for $1500-$2500 and they’re selling it to you for $900 that’s not a good sign.
    And most importantly, remember that you can’t rescue a dog from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder- you can only support their business or report them.

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