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Registering an Unregistered Bitch’s Puppies?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Most registries, including the American Kennel Club (AKC), do not allow the registration of puppies from an unregistered bitch.
  • However, there are alternatives for AKC registration, such as contacting the original breeder for registration paperwork or going through a process to prove the dog's pedigree without AKC paperwork.
  • The British Kennel Club requires both the dam and sire to be registered, and the litter to be born in the UK, for registration.
  • The United Kennel Club offers single registration if both parents are registered, but not full registration.
  • The Canadian Kennel Club requires the dam to be registered with a CKC-recognized breed organization in order to register the puppies.
  • It is generally recommended to only buy registered puppies, as it ensures ethical breeding and may increase the selling price.
  • Pedigree papers can only be obtained from the breeder and dictate a dog's family tree and purebred status.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Wednesday 19 February 2020
Last updated on
Monday 6 November 2023
registering unregistered puppies
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Registering an unregistered bitch’s puppies can affect owners and breeders depending on the circumstance. It can influence dog show admittance, future breeding opportunities, and sale prices. Therefore, you need to know what options you have.

Registering puppies from an unregistered bitch is a question that may arise when you have adopted a puppy or taken one on from a friend that can no longer care for them. We have researched the AKC, UKC, CKC, and KC. Different registries have different rules and we have summarised the information you need in this article.

Can I Register an Unregistered Bitch’s Puppies?

Unfortunately, most registries do not allow the registration of an unregistered bitch’s puppies. This is because clubs trace the lineage of each dog through their parents and then forward. This is so they can identify if your dog is purebred and trace their entire family tree. However, each club has its own set of rules.

American Kennel Club

The AKC does not allow you to register dogs that do not have AKC-registered parents. They have a clear list here of reasons why a puppy cannot be registered with them and in this case, it is because there is no proof of a clear purebred lineage. Limited registration, created for owners as opposed to breeders, also does not allow a dog to register with an unregistered mother.


There are alternatives that you can look into. These will only work if your dog is purebred though and evidence can be gathered of this. They recommend contacting the original breeder of the dog to see if AKC registration paperwork can be gathered. If this is not possible, the AKC has a new scheme where research can be taken to find out if a dog is purebred, even without AKC paperwork. If evidence of “pedigree, registration application and/or registration certificate from another registry” are found then the dog may be able to qualify still (this is a long and uncertain process).

Kennel Club

For the British Kennel Club, both the dam and sire must be registered with the kennel club. The sire must be registered at the time of mating and the dam at the time of birth. Furthermore, the litter must be born in the UK as well. Unless these are fulfilled you cannot register your unregistered bitch’s puppy.

If a sire from overseas is used and you reside in the UK, you are still able to register their puppy, the process is just more difficult. The foreign kennel club the sire is registered to will need to send a three-generation pedigree along with the litter application form. A fee will only need to be provided if the sire has not already been registered or if the ownership of him has changed. The fee is usually £17 and the processing will take around fourteen days before the sire is formally registered.

After this, a puppy can be registered.

United Kennel Club

Full registration will not be given by the United Kennel Club unless both parents are registered. However, the UKC can give your dog a single registration. This is a method of UKC registration but is not the same as a full registration, which can only be attained through both parents being registered at the time of mating.

To complete a single registration, you first have to complete this application form (PDF). Your dog must also have another completed registry certificate by either the AKC, CKC, Kennel Club (of Great Britain), the Field Dog Study Book or any FCI-affiliated registry. Step three is to send off evidence of your dog’s three-generation pedigree. This can be handwritten or photocopied. Finally, the payment of the single registration is $35.

The processing time, not including the mailing period, is around ten days. Furthermore, these applications can be posted, sent by email or fax through the following:

  • Mail: UKC, 100 E Kilgore Rd, Kalamazoo MI 49002
  • Fax: 269.343.7037
  • Email: [email protected]

Canadian Kennel Club

You are not able to register your puppy with the CKC if their mother is not. However, you can register the dam with the CKC if it is registered with a CKC-recognized breed organization. Then you are able to register the puppy. This can be frustrating if you do not own both the bitch and her puppies but it is an option for breeders.

The CKC hosts a list of breed organizations that accept purebred individuals even without CKC registered ancestry. Once a dog is registered with one of these breed clubs, you can request CKC registration. This is done by filling in a CKC canine registration application. Send this along with a photocopy of your dog’s registration document, pedigree if available.

This will only work if both parents and the puppy are registered to the organization. An adult can be registered here with lost or undocumented ancestry and information can be sent at the address below.

Continental Kennel Club, Inc.
P.O. Box 1628
Walker, LA – 70785

Is it possible to register a puppy without papers?

This is dependant on the registry.


The (United Kingdom) Kennel Club will allow a puppy to be registered on its activity or companion dog register but they would not register any pedigree of your dog.

With the American Kennel Club, you are unable to register a puppy without the required papers. These can be gained from the breeder if both of the parents are AKC registered.

You will be unable to permanently register your dog with the United Kennel Club without their papers. However, you can register your dog for single registration, which allows them to gain all the UKC registered privileges as long as they have two UKC parents.

It can be possible to register a puppy that the Canadian Kennel Club without the correct papers as long as you can prove their unbroken genetic line. This should last longer than three generations.

Should I buy an unregistered puppy?

This depends on why you are buying the puppy and what reasons the breeder has for not registering the puppy. We recommend only buying registered puppies when buying from a breeder as it ensures ethical breeding from the registry’s guidelines.

Furthermore, registering a litter will actually increase the selling price of each pup. Therefore, it can be considered suspicious as to why they have not been registered because it is beneficial for both parties. It is possible that the breeder is new, that the puppies are mixed-breeds or other understandable reasons. It is best to have an open discussion with the breeder, if you are considering buying an unregistered puppy as to why they are not registered and if this so something they would consider.

How can I get pedigree papers for my dog?

Reading a Dog Pedigree
Read our blog post on how to read a dog pedigree.

You can only receive pedigree papers for your dog from their breeder. Pedigree papers dictate a dog’s family tree so you are able to trace back their heritage and prove they are purebred. This is a certificate received from the registry that the dog is registered to.

Usually, this is the same registry as both the dog’s mother and father. It may be possible that your breeder forgot to give them to you or your dog is not registered. If both the mother and father are registered, you can get back in contact with the breeder and ask for the puppy to be registered or the documents from both parents to do it yourself. It is usually recommended to apply to the same registry as the mother or both parents are listed for ease of transferring the documents.

Is a UKC registration better than AKC?

No, both kennel clubs have their aficionados and target audiences. It depends on why you are registering your dog and what type of breed they are, whether UKC or AKC will be better for you.


  • You can register more breeds at the AKC whilst the UKC registers new and rarer breeds. Depending on the breed of your dog, one kennel club may be better suited than the other
  • The AKC is much larger than the UKC. If you want to join a club with more members and more events, the AKC may be better targeted for you. However, if you want a club that is targeted to rarer and specific dogs, the smaller UKC may be better.
  • The AKC does not recognize UKC dogs but the UKC does recognize AKC dogs. This may influence your choice if you are a breeder as some studs you prefer may be in the UKC. However, as the AKC is larger, it may have more of a choice.

How can I AKC register my dog?

On the website, there is an online registration which you can find here. This can include a purebred dog, mix breed (AKC Canine Partners), a purebred not eligible for full registration (PAL) and for other registries such as foreign.

You will fill out a number of questions and details such as what your role is, i.e. the owner or litter owner, etc. You will have to record the dam’s registration number and her certification issue date. Your email will be noted and other questions about the individual or litter will be asked depending on the options you picked. Please note that you can register a dog or puppy at any age to the AKC.

Registering an unregistered bitch’s puppies can be a stressful and worrying time. This is why we have attempted to answer all your possible questions on the topic and offer you alternatives. This situation is not ideal but there are always methods to achieve your goal or something similar. There are multiple kennel clubs you can contact to see for a permanent, temporary or alternate form of registering your dog. This will hopefully give you options to breed, sell or enter your dog into shows.

20 comments on “Registering an Unregistered Bitch’s Puppies?”

  1. Tiffany B Reed

    I bought a dachshund puppy 10 weeks old and I need to get paper work on the puppy and I was wondering how I could do that I mean you can look at the dog and see that it’s full blooded but the people that sold me the dog didn’t worry about trying to get the puppies registered and now I am trying hard to figure out how can I get my puppy registered if you have and info that would be great thanks

    1. Mandi Roberts

      This is something I’m needing to do as well. I’d love to know how.

    2. Tl

      I would like to know this as well

  2. Jayne I.

    Have you ever heard the expression—– looks can be deceiving? A pup/dog can look identical to the breed BUT a DNA is a very reliable way to find out if it is pure breed or not. It could be for example 90% yorkie and 10% poodle,pom,ect or 90% yorkie and 2% this 1 % that 4% it 3% whatever and still look identical to a yorkie

  3. Connie M

    Most likely the parents or previous generations of your puppy were not given breeding rights, “Limited Registration.” Many reasons a reputable breeder does not allow “Full Registration” may include genetic testing shows the puppy is affected or a carrier of a disease such as Degenerative Mylopathy, a bleeding disorder, inverted eyelashes, bad hips/elbows, incorrect confirmation, aggressive personality, fearful personality and so on. They sell the puppy with an understanding it is “pet only.” Unfortunately the puppies suffer as a result of an irresponsible owner breeding without breeding rights. These pups are sold for less money and the backyard breeder uses the excuse they didn’t want to be bothered to obtain papers – liars!

  4. Todd

    We purchased a puppy from a breeder on the AKC website 2 weeks ago. We were told that the breeder would register the puppy and we would receive a confirmation email. We have not received any confirmation and we are not getting a response from the breeder. We are at a loss of what to do next.

  5. Angela McEntire

    How can I get a dna testing kit for my two female toy australian shepherds?

  6. Lisa Gaston

    I received a puppy that was suppose to be papered and they said “they were having difficulty” papering the dogs would that be a problem. At first I didn’t think so but now I am. Is there any way to follow up with this

  7. L young

    If an unregistered pup has DNA work done and is proven to be pure bred can it then be registered

    1. Rachel

      I would also like to know this

    2. Nicole M Schmitt

      Id like to know as well

      1. Steven Beddoe

        yes since dna testing is very accurate and even can determin more that being purebreed. Can it be used for proof? If not the clubs need to update their rules.

    3. Elena britt

      I would like to know as well!!

  8. Gina

    If you have a puppy and both parents have an AKC Number (but the litter was not registered) Can you still register the puppy?

    1. Erin Hadley


  9. krista wardlow

    I bought a puppy both parents are registered. It was between two breeders. One of the breeders is refusing to give the paper info so I can register my dog. What can I do?

  10. Brooke Nicole Deaville

    I have a American Bulldog that is full blooded.I asked the owner of the mother for papers and she said that she was still trying to get her dog registered as well. She doesn’t have a number of the fathers owners anymore So I am not sure what to do about registering my dog.I want him for stud services. Help would be great.

  11. Yara Cueva

    I bought my Pomeranian tho the lady didn’t register her dogs n now I want to register my dog she is full blooded Pomeranian I ask a professional breeder where do I go to register her I don’t have any info on parents

  12. Megan Colreavy


    I am interested in how you got on with getting papers?

    I have an 18month old Bernese Mountain dog who has no papers. Parents were family pets the mum had papers the dad did not. I am eager to get her papers, any advise is much appreciated

  13. Rachel Murray

    Hi have got oldtyne English bulldog I ain’t got papers what to I do.

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