This article is from the rec.pets.dogs: Assorted Topics, posted to rec.pets.dogs newsgroup. Maintained by Cindy Tittle Moore with numerous contributions by others.
You should not rely on AKC to keep all your records straight. Breeders MUST keep official records on their dogs. There are numerous fines listed in the back of the Gazette for failure to maintain proper records. If you don't have your own record book, you should start one. If you are cited, you may have to start all over again with new dogs. That means that all the dogs you breed lose their AKC registrations. The AKC screws up a lot of things. That's why it is so important that breeders keep good files for their own breed club's use.
Breeders need to keep records in a book about their breeding dogs. This includes the dog's registered name, number, sex, color, markings, date of birth, and OFA, CERF etc. Every time that dog is bred (either male or female) the date, the name of the other dog, the number of the other dog, and the number of the owner of the other dog goes into it. When the puppies are born, the number of puppies, sexes, colors, markings, date of birth and litter number is added. The breeder's name(s) is also included. On the litter registration form, the information is reprinted to get the individual registration forms.
When the puppies are placed in a home, the new owner's name, address and phone number go into the proper places. (You can order these books from the AKC -- they are called "Dog Ownership and Breeding Record" books and they cost about $5 -- but they have enough pages for many dogs.)
For titles and points, keep a small bound notebook (so that the question never comes up whether pages have been added or removed) to record the judge's name, the number of dogs in the classes, the number of points, the date, the show, and the club sponsoring the show. Record obedience trials the same way. You may want to have a folder in which to keep all ribbons and copies of certificates and pedigrees along with a few pictures of the dog. You just need to have a record of your own -- like your check book -- to make sure someone doesn't goof up. Two records are better than one!
Dogs that work: e.g., Search and Rescue dogs, Police dogs, Disaster dogs, any that work in potentially liable situations or do work that may be challenged in court should have an ongoing record of their training and of actual cases. Note date and time, individuals involved in the training, the purpose of the training, how the training session was set up, how the dog did, and where it needs to improve. For an actual case, note all the specifics involved: who you talked to, where you got the scent article or other applicable information from, who was found/rescued/attacked, etc. If you can, go back and take pictures of the trail followed or other useful sites. Keep training and actual case records separate.
If, for example, an SAR dog's identification of a felon comes into question, that record may prove the difference as to whether the evidence is ruled admissible or not. In contrast to the above for titles, keep training and case records in a loose-leaf binding, so that only the record pertinent to the case need be forwarded to the lawyers.
Your personal enjoyment
Anyone training a dog may find it useful and interesting to keep a log of their dog's progress in training. In particular, it might help you uncover patterns unique to your dog, or suggest other ways to approach training.