Historically, when most people think of AKC registration they are thinking of purebred dog registration. More recently, with the proliferation of so-called “designer dogs”, such as Goldendoodles and Labradoodles, many people now believe these breeds are eligible to be AKC registered.
Unfortunately, designer dogs are still considered mixed breed dogs and are not allowed to receive full AKC registration.
However, the AKC has a program that allows large mixed breed dogs to become registered as Canine Partners.
The Canine Partners registration is not a full AKC registration. It also does not allow you to breed puppies that can have full AKC registration.
Even with these limitations, the Canine Partners registration does come with several significant benefits, and you can register any mixed breed dog with the AKC using this type of limited registration.
What is an AKC Canine Partners Registration?
The AKC Canine Partners Program allows both hybrid breed dogs and mixed breed dogs to gain access to many of the AKC dog sports and titles. You can register small, medium, and large dogs with the AKC Canine Partners Program.
Once registered, eligible activities include popular sports such as obedience, tracking, the coursing ability test, AKC FAST CAT, agility, AKC scent work, and AKC rally. This can be a fun way to spend time with your dog and meet other dog enthusiasts.
Many people who have dogs that are mixed with poodles particularly enjoy the obedience events, and dogs that are mixed with herding breeds often excel at agility events.
AKC Canine Partners are also required to be spayed or neutered. If you have a hybrid dog like a Goldendoodle that you want to breed or you just don’t want to spay or neuter your dog, then you will not be able to participate in this program.
There are also other certifications that your mixed breed dog can receive if they are part of the AKC Canine Partners Program.
These include: AKC Agility Course Test Program, AKC Search and Rescue Dog, AKC Therapy Dog, AKC Canine Good Citizen-advance, and AKC Canine Good Citizen.
The Good Citizen certifications can be particularly helpful because they focus on dogs with training that creates good behavior. The AKC has an entire training program that can help your dog earn this certification.
Because Canine Partners are mixed breeds they cannot participate in Conformation events. Conformation is when a dog is judged against breed standards, like in the Westminster Dog Show. Mixed breed dogs take on traits from both their parents and don’t have breed standards and are thus ineligible to participate.
There are also breed-specific activities that Canine Partners can’t compete in – such as earthdog, hunt tests, and herding.
If you are looking to be able to bond with your dog through fun activities and certifications, then registering your mixed breed dog with the AKC Canine Partners program is well worth it.
If you are looking for AKC registration to breed your dog, then this program will not do that for you.
What Does the AKC Mixed Breed Registration Cost?
The current cost of registering your dog for the AKC Canine Partners Program is $35 and there is an extra $10 fee if your dog’s name exceeds 36 spaces.
You should be aware once your dog is eligible for and registered with the Canine Partners Program, participating in AKC events and programs also cost money and you should plan accordingly.
AKC Canine Partners vs. PAL
When people are inquiring about different types of AKC registrations, we often also get questions about PAL. Here’s the difference between the AKC Canine Partners Program and PAL.
PAL, or the Purebred Alternative Listing, is similar to the AKC Canine Partners program, but for dogs that are purebred and not from an AKC lineage.
Dogs that use PAL are purebred (not mixed breed) and have either had their papers lost or have been rescued. The PAL program allows these dogs to participate in AKC events.
When participating in the PAL program owners must submit a photo of their dog and their dog must be spayed or neutered.
Like Canine Partners, this program does not allow dogs to be bred as AKC registered dogs.
Because these are purebred dogs rather than mixed breeds, PAL does allow for a slightly broader participation in AKC events. These include breed-specific events like Earthdog trials, Herding tests and trials, and Hunt tests.
Overall, these two programs are very similar. AKC Canine Partners is meant for mixed breeds and the PAL program is for unregistered purebred dogs.
What Kinds of Mixed Breed Dogs are Eligible for AKC Canine Partners Registration?
You can register any mixed breed dog under the AKC Canine Partners registration. That includes both “mutts” and designer hybrid dogs like Goldendoodles and Labradoodles.
The AKC wants to make sure that all dog owners get to participate in as many AKC programs as possible and that is why they created this program.
Beware of Unscrupulous Breeders
One word of caution. Sometimes, unscrupulous mixed breed breeders will misrepresent the types of papers that a mixed breed dog can get. This is especially true for popular hybrid breeds like poodle mixes and puggles.
While mixed breed dogs can make wonderful companions, mixed breeds are not eligible for full AKC registration under any circumstances. They cannot produce AKC registered puppies, and they cannot compete in conformation or breed-specific events.
If you buy a dog that is “AKC registrable” that means that the dog is purebred with a verifiable lineage. If your breeder makes excuses about papers or tries to tell you that a mixed breed is AKC registrable, you need to know that they are lying to you.
The bottom line is that mixed breed dogs are only eligible for the AKC Canine Partners program and not full ACK registrations.