What Are the Levels of AKC: A Comprehensive Guide

These levels of competition in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Obedience trials are designed to showcase the exceptional skills and training of dogs and their handlers. The Novice class is the starting point, where dogs demonstrate their basic obedience skills such as heeling, basic commands, and recalls. As they progress to the Open class, dogs showcase more advanced abilities like retrieving, jumping, and off-leash commands. Finally, the Utility class challenges dogs to perform complex tasks like scent discrimination, directed jumping, and hand signals. Each level signifies the dog's mastery of specific skills and their ability to perform under various distractions and challenges. These levels serve as milestones for dogs and their handlers, highlighting their journey and growth in the world of obedience training and competition.

How Many AKC Categories Are There?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) categorizes these 200 breeds into seven different groups based on their traits and purposes. These categories are: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding. Each group has it’s own distinct characteristics and purposes for which the breeds were originally developed.

To be an AKC registered breed, there are certain requirements that need to be met. This means that it must meet the breed standard, which outlines the ideal traits, appearance, and function of the breed. The breed standard is carefully maintained and updated by the AKC to ensure that only purebred dogs meeting the standard are accepted for registration.

Once the application is reviewed and all requirements are met, the dog will be officially registered with the AKC and assigned a unique registration number.

The Role of AKC Registration in Recognizing and Preserving Purebred Dog Breeds

  • AKC registration is a crucial tool in recognizing and preserving purebred dog breeds.
  • By registering a dog with the American Kennel Club (AKC), breeders and owners can provide documented proof of the dog’s pedigree and lineage.
  • This registration process helps ensure the integrity of breed standards and maintains the purity of specific dog breeds.
  • The AKC registration system requires strict adherence to established breed standards, which encompass physical characteristics, temperament, and other specific traits unique to each breed.
  • Registration also grants access to various AKC events and competitions, allowing purebred dogs to showcase their breed-specific skills and abilities.
  • Furthermore, AKC registration provides a sense of credibility and trust for potential buyers looking for purebred dogs, as it confirms that the dog’s lineage has been verified and meets breed standards.
  • Without AKC registration, it becomes challenging to distinguish between purebred dogs and mixed-breed or “designer” dogs.
  • The AKC plays a significant role in educating the public about purebred dog breeds, their histories, and responsible ownership, promoting the importance of breed preservation.
  • In summary, AKC registration plays a vital role in recognizing, preserving, and promoting purebred dog breeds, ensuring their continued existence for future generations.


Starting in the Novice class, dogs gradually advance to Open and eventually Utility as they demonstrate mastery of increasingly challenging tasks. By participating in these levels of competition, dogs and their handlers can demonstrate their dedication, training, and bond while also contributing to the enrichment of the sport of Obedience.

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