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AKC vs. NKC — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 23, 2024
AKC (American Kennel Club) is a well-known U.S. organization for dog breed registration, shows, and breed standards. NKC (National Kennel Club) is a U.S.-based registry for purebred and mixed-breed dogs, known for a broader range of recognized breeds.
AKC vs. NKC — What's the Difference?

Difference Between AKC and NKC


Key Differences

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is one of the most recognized dog breed registries in the United States, established in 1884. The National Kennel Club (NKC), while also based in the U.S., is less known but offers registration for a broader range of dog breeds, including many that are not recognized by the AKC.
AKC is known for its strict standards for breed registration, emphasizing pedigree and adherence to breed characteristics. In contrast, NKC provides registration services not only for purebred dogs but also for mixed breeds and lesser-known breeds.
The AKC organizes prestigious dog shows, like the Westminster Dog Show, and is involved in canine legislation and health research. The NKC, while it also sponsors dog shows and events, does not have the same level of influence or recognition in these areas as the AKC.
AKC’s influence extends to setting breed standards and offering resources for dog owners and breeders, including training and health information. NKC focuses more on providing a platform for a wider variety of dog breeds to be recognized and celebrated, regardless of their pedigree status.
Membership and participation in AKC events are often seen as prestigious in the dog community. NKC, offering a more inclusive approach, appeals to a broader base of dog enthusiasts who may own mixed breeds or less common purebreds.

Comparison Chart


Later, less historical presence

Breed Recognition

Strict, limited to specific purebreds
Broader, includes mixed and lesser-known breeds

Events and Influence

Prestigious dog shows, legislative influence
Dog shows, less influence in canine legislation


Pedigree, breed standards, training, health
Inclusivity of various breeds, recognition


Prestige in dog breeding/showing community
Appeal to a broader base of dog owners

Compare with Definitions


Offers resources for training and dog care.
I follow the AKC's guidelines for training my puppy.


Recognizes both purebred and mixed-breed dogs.
The NKC is more inclusive of different dog breeds.


A prominent dog breed registry in the U.S.
My Labrador Retriever is registered with the AKC.


Provides a platform for lesser-known and mixed breeds.
The NKC gives recognition to rare breeds that are often overlooked.


Involved in canine health research and legislation.
The AKC advocates for responsible dog ownership and health.


A U.S.-based dog registry accepting a wide range of breeds.
My mixed-breed dog is registered with the NKC.


Focuses on pedigree and purebred dogs.
AKC registration requires proof of a dog's pedigree.


Sponsors dog shows and events for various breeds.
We entered our dog in an NKC-sponsored event.


Sets breed standards and organizes dog shows.
The AKC dog show is a major event for breeders.


Appeals to a diverse group of dog owners and enthusiasts.
NKC appeals to owners of breeds not recognized by the AKC.

Common Curiosities

Is the NKC as prestigious as the AKC?

The AKC is generally considered more prestigious due to its history and influence.

How are the breed standards different between AKC and NKC?

AKC has strict breed standards for purebreds, while NKC is more inclusive of various breeds.

Can I register a mixed-breed dog with the AKC?

The AKC mainly registers purebred dogs, but it does offer a separate program for mixed breeds known as the AKC Canine Partners.

What does the NKC do?

The National Kennel Club registers a wide range of dog breeds, including mixed and purebreds.

Are NKC-registered dogs eligible for AKC events?

Generally, AKC events are restricted to AKC-registered dogs.

Can I register any breed with the NKC?

The NKC has a more inclusive policy and registers a wide variety of breeds, including less common ones.

Does the NKC offer resources for dog training?

NKC provides basic resources, but its focus is more on breed registration and recognition.

Does the AKC participate in canine health research?

Yes, the AKC is actively involved in canine health research and legislation.

Are AKC standards universally accepted?

AKC standards are highly regarded in the U.S., but other countries may have their own breed standards.

What is the AKC?

The American Kennel Club is a prominent U.S. organization for dog breed registration and standards.

Is it easier to register a dog with the NKC?

Yes, due to its broader acceptance of various breeds, registration with the NKC can be more straightforward.

What types of events does the NKC sponsor?

The NKC sponsors a variety of dog shows and events that cater to a broader range of breeds.

Which organization should I choose for registering my purebred dog?

If you seek prestige and participation in high-profile events, the AKC is recommended. For broader recognition, the NKC is a suitable option.

Does the AKC only recognize purebred dogs?

Primarily, yes, though it does have programs for mixed-breed dogs.

How long has the AKC been established?

The AKC was established in 1884.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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