Limited verse Full Registration

By February 6, 2017 December 4th, 2017 AKC Info


Many people are very confused with the various registration policies which breeders utilize when they sell their puppies. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many articles on the internet that can be researched in order to fully explain the registration options and the reasons why breeders choose to utilize these options. This article is to provide insight on the subject of Puppy Registration options and the differences between Full Registration and Limited Registration.

On average, most new puppy owners have no intentions of breeding or showing their new puppy. However, they most definitely want to ensure their puppy has proper registration papers proving he or she is a pure bred , who the parents are, and also having the opportunity to acquire a pedigree to see the bloodline history of their puppy. This can all be done with Limited Registration. The registration papers on a puppy with Limited Registration actually mirror the papers of a puppy with Full Registration. The only difference in the appearance of the two documents is that Limited Registration is pink and white in color and Full Registration is purple and white. Limited Registration will also say “Limited Registration” on the top. If the owner desires to order an AKC 3 or 4 generation pedigree it is the exact same document regardless if you have Full or Limited Registration.


The purpose behind selling a puppy with Full Registration is to allow the buyer the opportunity to Breed or Show their puppy freely without any restrictions from the breeder.


The purpose of having a co-ownership contact when selling a puppy with Full Registration is to ensure the breeder’s approval for future breeding is required for registering the litter. This ensures proper mates are chosen which will continue the positive reputation of the bloodlines. Co-ownership also allows the owner and co-owner to be credited for any champion titles earned through AKC events.


The purpose behind selling a puppy with Limited registration is prevent future breeding or showing the puppy. Obviously, it may not prevent breeding but it will prevent the litter from being registered through AKC.


Every co-ownership is different and puppy owners who are wanting to breed or show their puppy should carefully review the breeders contract prior to the purchase of the puppy. Some contracts are very fair while others may prove to be extremely demanding and profitable for the breeder.

Normally most all puppies that are provided Full Registration with or without a co-ownership contract will cost more than a puppy that is sold with Limited Registration. Breeders may even mandate that a certain fee be charged for every litter produced by a female or every time a male is studded out. Breeders often refer to this as a “Royalty” fee for producing puppies based off their bloodlines they have earned positive reputation with. Unfortunately, there are breeders who expect far more than a higher cost for Full Registration and small royalty fees for future breedings conducted. Some breeders may require that your puppy earn a champion title in AKC conformation shows before they are allowed to breed at all. Even then, they may not allow you to pick the breeding mate of your dog and require that the dog be bred either back to their bloodline or to an alternate breeder they may be associated with through friendship or a Club in which they are a member of. Additionally, they may also require that one or more puppies from each litter to be provided back to them. Sadly, there are several breeders who take advantage of people by conducting co-ownership contracts which are extremely profitable for them and ensure that they have co-ownership of many dogs from past breedings which are producing more puppies from them to turn around and sell themselves and initiate more co-ownership contracts with. This keeps them from raising and breeding several dogs in their own home and claiming to be a small hobby breeder when in fact they have multiple dogs in which they are co-owned with which are earning them financial reward. This is a hidden monopoly that exists today, so if you happen to see various pedigrees that carry the same bloodline it may not necessarily mean that the breeder was mass producing puppies themselves but they certainly might be involved with dozens of breedings being conducted with co-owned dogs being bred by others who have no choice but to provide them puppies produced which will continue to carry their bloodline name. Once again, it’s best to read your breeders contract in full detail and ask questions if you have the intent to breed or show your puppy. Otherwise, you may find out that you can never be afforded the opportunity to breed your puppy because it doesn’t have the capabilities to earn a champion title or that your litters may be cut short due to having to provide one or more of them back to the breeder of your dog.

So, what is the reason why some breeders provide Limited Registration instead of just giving them Full Registration so the puppy owner can make their own decision on whether they wish to breed or show their puppy in the future?

Many breeders that carry a positive reputation within their bloodlines and Kennel name care deeply about the welfare of the puppies they produce as well as the reputation they have within their own bloodlines. Breeders that sell their puppies with Limited Registration do so NOT because they don’t wish for them to be shown or bred but to protect their bloodlines from inappropriate breedings that could jeopardize their reputation as well as minimize the breed standards in the event proper breeding ethics were not conducted.

As an example, let’s say a reputable breeder with the bloodline or kennel name of “Shining Light Bullies” sold a female with Full Registration and without co-ownership. This would mean the new owner could breed her to whoever they wished regardless if it was in the good graces of the breed standards. Let’s say this female puppy turned two years of age and the owner noticed a friend or neighbor that had a male bull terrier and made the decision to breed their female with this other dog. Even if the male Bull Terrier had undesirable conformation, structure, temperament, etc the intent of the owner may only be to produce puppies in hopes of selling them for a lot of money based on the reputation of the dam’s bloodlines and pedigree. Once the puppies are born they could be advertised in the owner’s local paper or online as “Shining Light” bloodlines in hopes of gaining attention to their litter. Those puppies may very well develop genetic disorders due to the bloodlines of the stud utilized. However, the only recognized bloodline listed on the puppy’s pedigree happens to be “Shining Light”. Someone that just paid more than $1400 for a puppy they thought was reputable is now faced with a puppy with possible liver, kidney, heart, problems that require extensive medical responsibilities. In the event a puppy does develop a genetic disorder they may feel notification to AKC is warranted so others aren’t faced with the negative genetic faults associated with the “Shining Light” bloodline. Obviously, the genetic fault doesn’t stem from that particular bloodline but it’s the one that was mentioned, remembered, and used in vain. This is every breeder’s nightmare but it is easily prevented by either selling puppies with Limited Registration or by conducting Full Registration with co-ownership.

Another example would be selling a puppy with Full Registration and later finding out the puppy was resold to some backyard breeder or puppy mill that was happy to stick the dog outside and breed it during every heat cycle to whatever stud they sought fit. Adult dogs with Limited Registration are of no interest to these breeders for obvious reasons since they only care about breeding for profit and would be happy to obtain a Bull Terrier from a reputable bloodline.

Breeders that care about their bloodlines don’t allow things like this to happen by mandating all puppies sold to be registered with “Limited Registration.” Please understand that this doesn’t mean they could never show or breed their Bull Terrier. However, it does mean if they wish to show or breed they would need to contact the breeder in order to convert to Full Registration in order to register the litter of puppies. It isn’t rare that a past puppy owner will contact their breeder later on for full rights on their dog for the intention of breeding him or her. Normally when a reputable breeder provides an owner with Full Registration, whether it be from the very start or later in the future, they will have you sign a detailed “Co-ownership Contract” to ensure they have some control on future breedings which will not jeopardize the bloodline reputation they have worked hard for over many years.

This is a long article and I know some breeders reading it will have opposing views on some of things I have mentioned. Some breeders may even be disturbed that I exposed certain elements of co-ownership contracts that certainly exist today and will be around for a long time. Every breeder has their own ethics in regard to how they wish to sell their puppies. Most breeders that have no reputation or haven’t even earned a reputable bloodline name have no clue about protecting their bloodline and preventing the rise of backyard breeding and puppymills so they may have no issues at all about selling their puppies with Full Registration without any form of co-ownership contract. I’m sure this is how they received their puppy too. However, one thing is for sure, any breeder willing to blindly sell their puppies with Full registration without co-ownership has no concern about the future welfare of their puppies who can be bred to any available mate regardless of health, genetics, and overall qualities. This is exactly how irresponsible breeders get their hands on dogs they wish to sell for profit without any knowledge on breeding to the standard of the breed with health, temperament, and proper structure in mind. If all breeders took the time to conduct proper co-ownership with the puppies they sold with Full Registrations we certainly wouldn’t have the problems we have today with poor quality puppies produced from unknowledgeable and unethical backyard breeders and puppymills.