The ad said “AKC registered puppies, $400.”
Below it, another ad for the same breed read “Puppies, no papers, $150.”
What's the difference?
By the organization's own admission, American Kennel Club registration is not a mark of quality. In many cases, it indicates that the breeder has taken some steps to assure that the puppies meet the breed standard in some fashion — in other words, that they look and act like the breed they are identified to be. However, the fact of registration, a process that requires that registered dogs are used as sire and dam of the litter and costs the breeder some money, may indicate either that the breeder cares about the puppies or wants merely to get a few more dollars for each puppy.
It does not mean that the puppies are healthy or that they are good representations of the breed standard.
On the other hand, puppies without papers might be fine examples of their breeds, but they are less likely to be so. A $150 puppy of whatever breed without papers is also likely to be less physically or mentally sound than a $400 puppy of the same breed. While it is not always true that you get what you pay for when buying puppies, the difference between those two puppies may be far more than the presence or absence of a piece of paper.
But if AKC registration is not a mark of quality, why pay more for a registered puppy?
Buyers should still ask what else they get for the registered puppy. If the sire and dam have been screened for genetic diseases, the puppies are clean, healthy, and well-socialized, the breeder offers a contract that protects the breeder, the buyer, and the puppy, that additional $250 buys a lot. If those things are not available from a breeder (or a pet store), the quality of the puppy is suspect.
But back to AKC registration.
Actually, the puppy is only registered as a member of a litter by the breeder. The buyer gets a blue slip giving the names of sire and dam, the breeder, and a physical description of the puppy that must be filled out with the puppy's name and the buyer's signature. The puppy name can be up to 25 characters and must be unique. For example, a puppy with the call name Sassy might be named Nancy's Sassafras or may include a kennel name, as in Nancy's Sassafras of Oaktree.
Puppies can be assigned full or limited registration by the breeder. Limited registration is for puppies that the breeder does not consider breeding quality; if they are bred, their puppies cannot be registered. The individual puppy is not registered unless the registration form is filled out and mailed to AKC.
When the puppy is registered, he is eligible to compete in all AKC competitions, bringing to his family the opportunity to enter the exciting world of dog shows. Far from being an elite and limited field of interest, dog shows are far more than the Westminster Kennel Club Show seen each February on cable television. AKC runs more than 13,000 events each year ranging from the “beauty contests” epitomized by Westminster to field events, obedience trials, and agility competitions.
For more information about AKC registration and events, visit the AKC website at www.akc.org or call (919) 233-9767.
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