It’s an exciting time!  You’ve gotten your puppy home from the breeder.  You are bonding, working on potty training, obedience training and just enjoying watching him or her grow.  Then, you suddenly remember that folder of paperwork given to you by the breeder.  What is all of that stuff?  Usually, it contains some pretty important material, such as AKC registration forms, health guarantee and (hopefully) copies of the parents’ health test documents.  Many people erroneously believe that the AKC registration form given to them in their puppy packet is the puppy’s “papers” and nothing further needs to be done.  However, the form you received only verifies that AKC was notified that two AKC registered parents produced a litter.  One application form is sent for each puppy in the litter.  It is usually the responsibility of the individual puppy owners to “complete the circle” by giving their puppy an official AKC registration name and submitting the modest fee for registration.  Otherwise, your puppy isn’t really AKC registered.  Some breeders complete this registration process for you, so it’s important to ask and understand what needs to be completed.

You may wonder how in the world people come up with their registration names.  Let’s face it, some of them can seem quite strange!  And, owners of dilute puppies need to take some special precautions.  You see, it’s no secret that the silver (and other dilute) Labradors face some negativity among the public (who may not be educated regarding the dilution gene).  They “seek out” pedigrees of dilute dogs and place them in a “database” intended to discriminate against our beautiful dogs.  In order to prevent this, it is important to properly register your dog.  If you have a puppy that is silver in color, the AKC registration form should reflect this dog is “chocolate” in color (AKC considers silver to be a shade of chocolate).  Charcoal (dark gray) dogs should be AKC registered as black and Champagne dogs should be registered as yellow.  To prevent scrutiny of your dog’s pedigree by the dilute haters, please do not include the words “silver”, “charcoal” or “champagne” in your dog’s registered name.  This only raises a red flag to the haters.

Another matter of “naming etiquette” sometimes unknown to the general puppy buying population is the inclusion of the breeder’s kennel name in the registered name.  Some breeders require this and some don’t.  It’s always nice to ask the breeder if they’d like the kennel name included in your puppy’s registered name.  For example, if you purchase your puppy from “Walnut Grove Kennel” and you’d like to name your puppy after your favorite Bruce Springsteen song, you might select “Walnut Grove’s Born in the USA”.  Other than that, the sky is (almost) the limit.  Get creative, and enjoy that new puppy!