I just recently got some fantastic news. Amalu has been approved to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). This might seem like a simple thing, but this process has taken me over a year all told. AKC registration hardly counts for everything. I imported Amalu under the impression that I wouldn't be able to register her AKC. I simply pursued the option out of curiosity and it is convenient to be able to have her compete at AKC events. I was the first person with Azawakh to go through this process and I very much would like to make it easier for other people to understand the process in the future.
When a breed is in AKC's Foundation Stock Service or Miscellaneous that essentially means that their stud book, which records all individuals of that specific breed, remains open to individuals who do not have a three generation pedigree (this can be confusing but this means the individual, their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents are registered and accounted for, so essentially a full four generations are tracked by the pedigree).
Once a breed is fully AKC recognized, traditionally the stud book closes and then a breed has a set genepool within the American Kennel Club. A parent club (the organization that represents the breed when interacting with AKC) can take a vote to keep their stud book open and allow individuals without a "complete" pedigree to be recorded with the Foundation Stock Service. This means those dogs cannot compete in AKC conformation, but they can compete in companion and performance events such as Obedience, Agility, and Lure Coursing. Once a bloodline has enough documented generations in their pedigree those offspring become eligible to compete in conformation.
In the case of breeds that developed as landraces, most parent clubs have voted to allow dogs from the country of origins with "incomplete" pedigrees to be registered with AKC. This allows them to keep a broader genepool and genetic diversity. Breeds that have open stud books have a specific registry with which they may register their dogs. Once an individual is registered with that special registry, they are eligible for enrollment in AKC's FSS program.
In the case of Salukis, this registry is an entirely separately maintained entity called the Society For the Perpetuation of Desertbred Salukis. In the case of Sloughis, this registry is the United Kennel Club (UKC) and dogs registered through UKC can then be registered through AKC. Basenjis have gone a completely different route with individuals being approved on a case by case basis by experts and then the parent club membership.
For Azawakh, individuals must be registered with the breed's parent club: the American Azawakh Association. Once they have received their registration number through the AAA then they can be registered with FSS.
Let's walk through the process step by step:
Pet Owners and Fanciers:
1A. Obtain your Azawakh that already has FCI (European, etc) registration but does not have a complete three generation pedigree.
1B. Participate in a Sahelian expedition and import your Azawakh back to the states directly (very complicated, expensive, and risky to do). Then skip to step 3B
2. Obtain all the paperwork from the FCI registration. In some countries it can take a long time for this paperwork to be issued, so you might need to be patient.
3A. Contact the American Azawakh Association Board of Directors. You will need to send them your dog's FCI registration and pedigree as well as their general information.
3B. Contact the American Azawakh Association Board of Directors and explain that you have an Azawakh imported directly from Africa.
4A. Wait to receive your registration and pedigree from the AAA. Keep prompting them in case your email falls through the cracks.
4B. Have your desert bred Azawakh inspected by AAA approved experts. Afterwards, you will be issued your registration and pedigree. This is dependent on the judging thinking that your dog "looks like an Azawakh".
5. Submit an FSS application, your AAA registration/pedigree, and a side and front view picture of your Azawakh to AKC FSS. This can be done through mail: The American Kennel Club, P.O. Box 900058, Raleigh, NC 27675-9058 or through email. If your dog is foreign born just put the breeder's name, don't input the full address.
6. Wait for AKC to process and receive your AKC FSS registration and be eligible to compete in companion and performance events.
7. Before you breed a litter with your FSS registered Azawakh, if they are born outside the United States then you will need to submit an AKC DNA profile for your dog. This is true of all foreign born dogs whether they are registered with FSS or full-status.
8. When you breeder a litter, you should be able to pursue registering your litter with AKC as normal, though you will do so with FSS instead of the regular registration process.
9. Once you have a bred a litter that has a full three generation pedigree, you will register your litter through regular litter registration and they will be eligible to compete in conformation in addition to companion and performance events.
Please remember to be patient throughout this whole process. Everyone involved is busy so be very persistent. My timeline with Amalu looked like this.
November 2019 - bring Amalu home
April 2020 - receive an electronic copy of her FCI pedigree
April 2020 - contact a bunch of branches of AKC to determine the correct path to register Amalu (thankfully others should now be able to skip this step).
June 2020 - having finally determined the correct course of action, contact the AAA board about registering Amalu with them.
June-August 2020 - send several prompting emails to the AAA trying to see where we stood on the process.
August 2020 - receive paper copy of Amalu's FCI pedigree, send everything off to the AAA board and receive confirmation I will be able to register Alu with the AAA.
August-November 2020 - send several prompting emails to the AAA to ascertain where they are in Amalu's registration process.
December 2020 - receive Amalu's official registration number and pedigree from the AAA.
December 2020 - submit Alu's FSS application to AKC and receive her registration back quite promptly.
There are so many places where this process can bog down and go off the rails. My best advice is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease and once you're down it's a good weight lifted.