This article is from the American Kennel Club FAQ, by Cindy Tittle Moore firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Each breed recognized by the AKC has a parent club, which is
considered to be the national breed club for that breed. These clubs'
main responsibility is maintaining the Standard for their breed, and
representing the interests of their breed at AKC meetings by assigning
attending delegates. These clubs often also sponsor a national
speciaty once a year. If the breed is a working or sporting one, often
a national performance event is also sponsored. Different breed clubs
operate differently: some coordinate national breed rescue programs,
and others do not. Many have educational brochures and Public
Education Coordinators to answer the public's questions about the
breed. Some clubs are quite open to membership; for example the Golden
Retriever Club of America has over 1500 members. On the other hand,
the Labrador Retriever Club has less than 700 members (and twice the
recorded registrations of Labradors to Goldens!). Membership
applications generally require some background in the breed (it could
be ownership, showing, or breeding) and the sponsorship of one or two
members of the club. In general, you can write to the Corresponding
Secretary of the national breed club you are interested in for the
exact requirements of membership.
There are also many regional breed clubs. These clubs put on regional
specialties, promote their breed, coordinate educational efforts in
their region and often have a breed rescue program. Many people start
out with membership in these programs before gaining membership in the
national club, although you should remember that for many people the
regional clubs are all they need. Become involved with your regional
club and learn more about your breed! It's also a good way to keep
track of events in your area that you would like to attend. Many
national and regional clubs put out newsletters for their members.
Regional Kennel Clubs
In addition to the breed clubs, there are also regional kennel clubs
affiliated with the AKC. The AKC licenses member clubs to put on all
breed shows. Depending on their size, most clubs put out one to two
shows per year, as well as holding one to several sanctioned matches
(practice shows) per year. Local kennel clubs are a good way to
network with other dog fanciers and to learn more about breeds besides
Some clubs are licensed to put on just obedience shows. These clubs
often have training classes, regular obedience matches, and other
benefits for members.
All member clubs are listed in the back of AKC's _Gazette_.