DNA

AKC BOARD APPROVES FREQUENTLY USED SIRE DNA PROGRAM

At its January 10th meeting, the Board of Directors of the American Kennel Club approved a Frequently Used Sire (FUS) DNA program, prior to registration of the next litter, for those sires with six or more registered litters and those sires producing three or more litters in a calendar year. Effective for litters whelped on or after July 1, 2000, the program requires stud dog owners of these dogs to submit their dog’s DNA with the AKC. Owners should get the DNA Test Kit from AKC Fulfillment Department, 5580 Centerview Drive Raleigh, NC 27606 and return the dog’s cheek swab DNA sample with the accompanying, required paperwork and the payment of a $40 processing fee to AKC’s DNA Operations in Raleigh. The sire’s DNA will then become a permanent part of his AKC records.

Any stud dog whose DNA has already been collected through AKC’s Voluntary Certification Program or the Parent Club Program does not need to be redone as his DNA is already on file and the requirement will be considered as having been satisfied.

Every “DNA Certification” is valid for the lifetime and beyond of the sire.

The discipline policies of the Compliance Audit Program will also be applied to this program. Any litter found to be excluded from 7/1/2000 forward based on DNA testing can either be corrected or, if not corrected, will be cancelled. Owners of stud dogs who signed the litter application attesting as to the sire of the litter may be subject to suspension of all AKC privileges if two or more litter applications are submitted to AKC within a three-year time period certifying the incorrect sire.

Every stud dog that falls in the above parameters must have his “DNA Certification” on file with the AKC prior to the registration of its seventh or higher litter or his fourth or more litter within a calendar year.

Any excess funds accumulated as the result of the FUS program will be set aside and used to fund a future registration integrity programs.

Stud dog owners with any questions about this program may send an email to dna@akc.org.


DNA PROGRAM UPDATES

On May 28th, 1999, the President of the American Kennel Club, Al Cheauré, sent a letter to all member club delegates bringing them up-to-date with AKC’s DNA programs. In his letter, Mr. Cheauré referred to the status of the three programs currently in existence: Compliance Audit (DNA taken as a result of kennel visits by AKC inspectors and investigators), Parent Club (AKC and parent clubs work together for family DNA collections at specialty events), and Voluntary Certification (individuals volunteer to have their dogs DNA tested). Listed in the letter was the number of DNA profiles collected from 1/1/98 to present; the number of litters tested; those that were deemed included in the profiling (or whose DNA was correct); the percentage of included litters versus the number of litters tested; and the number of litters that had initially been excluded, but were subsequently corrected.

Mr. Cheauré also reinforced AKC’s pledge to uphold the integrity of its registry and focused on the vital role DNA plays in ensuring that integrity. In addition, Cheauré announced a conceptual next-step DNA program geared towards “Frequently Used Sires” that AKC’s Board of Directors has approved in concept. AKC’s staff is presently focusing on the development of such a program for final Board consideration.

Given the importance of the contents of this letter, it is shared herein.


ALFRED L. CHEAURÉ
President and Chief Executive Officer
(212) 696-8204
Fax: (212) 696-8329

May 28, 1999

Dear Delegate:

At the Forum on June 8, AKC’s most recent video – “DNA and the AKC” will be seen for the first time. Accordingly, we will mail to your home address a copy of the DNA video, and we encourage you to share it with your clubs, friends, and associates.

I take this opportunity to focus briefly on these related matters and updates (January 1, 1998-present):

 

Program DNA Profiles Litters Included Litters % Included Corrected Litters
Compliance Audit 20,058 4,199 3,771 90% 29
Parent Club Programs 4,758 1,224 1,224 100% 0
Voluntary Certification 4,484 725 722 >99% 1
Totals: 29,300 6,148 5,717 93.5% 30

(1) The following is especially noteworthy:

January through April, 1999, the percentage of included litters in the Compliance Audit Program rose to 92.6%.

(2) Forbes Magazine published an article in the May 31 edition entitled: “The Pooch Police are on the Move” suggesting that AKC registrations are declining because we are using DNA to verify litter registrations. I want you to remember that my focus will always be to ensure that AKC will lead the way in the registration of purebred dogs – more than a million dogs a year – and our registry will be distinguished and different in that the integrity of the registry has the highest priority and will continue to improve by the rigorous application of present DNA programs and the adoption of new ones.

(3) I am pleased to announce that the next DNA Program is called ‘Frequently Used Sires.’ The Board of Directors approved this Program in concept and the Staff is currently focusing on its development. The ultimate goal is to have on file DNA Profiles for all breeding stock. However, this can only be accomplished with thoughtful implementation of DNA advances. The ‘Frequently Used Sires’ Program represents the first DNA requirement linked directly as a prerequisite for registration and will necessitate the integration of informational services, registration, customer service, general fulfillment and DNA operations. That is why our advancement of this cause is careful and deliberate. Additional details about this Program are included in the attached Memo from Bob Slay.

Sincerely,

Alfred L. Cheauré


May 28, 1999

TO: Delegates

FROM: Bob Slay

RE: Frequently Used Sires Program (FUSP)

AKC ‘DNA Certification’ will be required for all frequently used sires – that is, dogs producing more than “X” number of litters in their lifetime. This represents the first step in the direction of underwriting AKC’s Registry with DNA Certified breeding stock. Two essential decisions remain: the effective date for the implementation of the program (e.g., 2000 or 2001) and the total number of litters sired (e.g., 3 or 5 or 7 or ? litters) for inclusion in the program.

AKC’s DNA Programs have revealed that most mistakes in the stud book are created by incorrect paternity. Accordingly, the first requirement of a DNA Profile for the registration of a litter will be with those individual males siring the most litters. Breeders will, of course, have the option of using the voluntary DNA Certification Program for dams, and likewise for new puppy owners, to complete the underwriting of the registry with DNA.

Questions and Answers:

(1) How many sires will be profiled in the first year of this new Program?

Possibly as many as 90,000.

(2) Why are DNA Profiles not required for the dams?

It is essential to add DNA Profiles to the Database in an orderly, efficient and meticulous fashion. The possible 90,000 required samples in the first year will provide an opportunity for AKC’s DNA Operations Department to ensure that this volume of samples can be processed correctly, that necessary quality assurance mechanisms are in place, and that the process of parentage verification can be initiated for breeders electing to also use the voluntary program.

(3) Does the AKC plan to require DNA Profiles for all sires, dams, and litter mates at some time in the future?

The long term goal of the AKC is to have on record DNA Profiles only for all breeding stock. The AKC believes that the millions of dollars required for breeders to test all offspring will be better invested in the well being of purebred dogs in general, rather than in paying for DNA Profiles for dogs not used for breeding. Thus, the goal is DNA Profiles for all actual sires and dams, and for the offspring when (or before) parenting the next generation.

(4) When will DNA Profiles be required for dams or other sires for litter registration?

Advancing the integrity of the registry always occurs with due deliberation – never fast enough for some and often too fast for others. The implementation of the Frequently Used Sires Program will provide essential information to be used by the Board, Staff, Delegates, and responsible owners/breeders as additional guidelines and requirements are adopted. One unchanging fact is clear: every AKC loyalist/supporter benefits as we collectively advance the underwriting of the integrity of the Registry with DNA Profiles.

(5) What happens if a breeder refuses to provide a DNA Profile on a dog that is classified as a frequently used sire?

As is customary, individuals failing to follow AKC policies as adopted by the Board of Directors are subject to appropriate disciplinary action.


A White Paper: Update
DNA, AKC & THE REGISTRY:
THE EXTRA STEP TO ENSURE THE INTEGRITY OF AKC’S REGISTRY

The American Kennel Club, the largest purebred dog registry in the world, has taken bold and aggressive steps to help ensure the integrity of its registry by making a major investment of resources in the use of DNA technology. For over a century, the integrity of the AKC registry was based solely on trust. Unfortunately, today trust alone is not enough and other means using new technological advances had to be found. AKC spent over three years conducting the necessary research and field testing to determine the feasibility of using DNA to support its mission of ensuring the integrity of its registry for future generations.

Compliance Audits

A Compliance Audit Program was formally adopted by AKC’s Board of Directors in the fall of 1997 as a viable and worthwhile program. In January 1998, AKC instituted the Compliance Audit Program which is projected to encompass the collecting, processing and evaluating of over 16,000 DNA samples during its first year.

AKC’s Inspection Field Staff conducts approximately 3,600 kennel inspections annually and with the new Compliance Audit Program, DNA testing has become a powerful additional tool in this inspection process. Kennel owners must not only meet all existing AKC requirements for record keeping and identification, tested dogs must also match DNA profiles as reported on registration papers. Among those being checked by the Inspection Field Staff are breeders who breed seven or more litters a year, as well as individuals who traffic in dogs – areas traditionally noted for potential registration difficulties.

This new audit program is expected to eliminate most of the problems currently associated with the registry and verify that a sire and dam is in fact the sire and dam of a given puppy. AKC’s use of DNA is sending a clear message, “play by our rules or don’t use our services,” to those who may want to circumvent the need for accurate registration reporting. With this program, AKC is making a clear commitment to maintaining a purebred dog registry that is noted for being unimpeachable and honorable.

Incorrect Litters Canceled

The use of DNA represents the most effective and proactive option presently available to help ensure the integrity of AKC’s registry. The first five months into the Compliance Audit Program have confirmed much of what was expected from the program. As of June 12, AKC’s Inspectors have collected over 8,000 DNA samples (sires, dams and offspring), resulting in the cancellation of 198 litters and numerous individuals being suspended from AKC privileges. Keeping in mind the category of kennels where DNA samples are collected for use in the audit program (i.e. large, commercial, for profit kennels with seven or more litters a year and/or individuals who traffic in dogs), 88% of all litters tested have proven to be registered correctly. The 12% which were registered incorrectly, meaning the reported sire or dam was not, in fact, the true sire or dam, have all been canceled and the breeders/owners subjected to probation or disciplinary proceedings. It is important to note that this 12% does not represent 12% of all litters registered by AKC, but 12% of those commercial kennel operations tested in the Compliance Audit Program and, by virtue of cancellation, this 12% is no longer a part of AKC’s registry.

A Success Story

As time goes on, AKC expects that random sampling using DNA will result in fewer improperly reported litters that will require canceling. As a matter of fact, DNA samples taken in other AKC programs, not including commercial operations, have verified an extremely high rate of accuracy in the registry. For example, the Parent Club DNA Program, which collects DNA samples on a voluntary basis at national specialty shows, has shown a 100% accuracy among participating breeders/owners when family units (sires, dams and offspring) were available for testing. Of the over 1,000 DNA samples taken at National Specialty Shows, all of the dogs have proven to be registered correctly when family triads exist to verify parentage. AKC believes that this high level of accuracy is more reflective of the norm and a random sampling across the entire registry would show a high percentage of correctly registered dogs. Breeders are responding to AKC’s initiatives in supporting and guaranteeing the integrity of its registry. They recognize that tomorrow’s breeding stock will be improved by those steps being taken today as a direct result of DNA profiling.

AKC remains committed to ensuring the integrity of its registry to the best of its ability and knows that as more and more individuals become aware of this commitment, they will also take steps to work with AKC in meeting the requirements of an AKC purebred registered dog. DNA affords the Kennel Club, its constituents and customers, a positive method for guaranteeing the honesty of the registry for the benefit of all interested in the future of purebred dogs.