ILP numbers allow any dog to compete in AKC performance events

Shelter and rescue dogs can compete in obedience and agility events


The American Kennel Club offers opportunities for unregistered purebred dogs to compete in many AKC events, a boon to those who adopt dogs from shelters or rescues or who purchase purebred dogs without registration papers and would like to participate in tests and trials for fun and excitement.

Purebred dogs can be transferred only from an individual owner to another individual owner, so dogs that enter rescues and shelters are no longer considered registered even if they are turned in with registration papers. However, if owners get a special Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP) number, they can compete in obedience, agility, tracking, herding, lure coursing, earthdog, and hunting events alongside the fully registered dogs.

In 1999, ILP dogs earned 2646 titles in these events.

To qualify for an ILP, a dog must look like an AKC-recognized breed; be spayed or neutered; and be at least six months old. The application must be accompanied by two recent photographs of the dog a full front view and a full side view; a veterinary certificate to confirm the spay or neuter; and statements describing why the dog is not eligible for regular registration (if the reason is known) and why the dog is considered to belong to an AKC breed. Any available supporting documentation (such as a pedigree or a statement from the breeder) should be included.

For information about and pictures of AKC-registered breeds, see the organization website (, or check the library for the AKC Complete Dog Book. Many breeds are similar; once the breed has been narrowed down, check breed books and breed club websites for details that will help identify the breed that is closest to the dog.

Once the ILP number is issued, owners can enter the listed events by including the number on entry forms.

The cost of the application is $25. The form can be downloaded from the AKC website. Instructions for downloading the forms in pdf format, a link to the free pdf reader and the address to mail the completed form are available at ( or the form may be ordered by mail from the AKC, 5580 Centerview Drive, Suite 200, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606-3390, or by telephone at (919) 233-9767.

Dogs with blue slips the forms that allow individual registration of a puppy from a registered litter received from the breeder do not need an ILP number, but owners will have to pay a late fee if more than a year has elapsed between issuance of the blue slip and application for registration. If the blue slip has been lost, owners can call AKC customer services at (919) 233-9767 for assistance.

Norma Bennett Woolf

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