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3 American Breed Clubs and Health Initiatives

Jerold S. Bell


The formation of dog clubs and official studbook registries did not occur in America until the late 1800s. All-breed clubs were developed to organize conformation shows or field trials. Single-breed clubs were formed to develop a breed and to establish an American breed standard. The establishment and publication of pedigree studbooks provided legitimacy to breeding records and separated mixed-breed from purebred stock.

Many breeds were imported from Europe and other areas of the world. American breed standards initially mirrored those of the originating country. However, based on the function of the breed and American preferences, many breed standards changed from those of their country of origin.

Some American breeds were developed on the basis of a working phenotype that brought together founders from unrelated breeds. Other breeds were developed by inbreeding on a limited number of related founder dogs, and then expanding the population. There are also breeds or varieties that developed as offshoots of other pure breeds.

In the U.S., dogs were bred as working dogs, for sport, or for companionship. The first American studbook of pedigrees, which included 327 sporting dogs, was published in 1876 in The American Kennel & Sporting Field. The Field Dog Stud Book continues to be published for field trail and hunting dogs. On January 26, 1876, the National American Kennel Club (NAKC) was formed in St. Louis, Missouri, with the purpose of running field trials and bench (conformation) shows. Their first studbook of 1,416 dogs was...

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