In 1884, a group of 12 sportsmen convened at the Philadelphia Kennel Club to form the “club of clubs”—the American Kennel Club. Their mission was to advance the study, breeding, exhibiting, running, and maintenance of purebred dogs, which the members all cherished as family companions. More than a century later, the group now recognizes 180 dog breeds, ranging from the well-known labrador retriever to the lesser-known treeing walker coonhound. All dogs are held to rigorous standards during dog shows, where they showcase skills such as obedience, agility, and timed slipper-fetching. But purebred owners don’t have to participate in shows to reap the benefits of the Club’s offerings. AKC assists potential owners by describing each breed’s temperament and grooming needs and providing resources for training and socializing puppies.