Fortunately, there are a lot of people who care nothing about a dog's pedigree. They just want a dog they can love who will love them in return. For those who want an AKC registered dog, there are some facts to keep in mind.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) designation means only that both parents are the same breed and are registered with AKC. The AKC makes it very clear that they are not a policing agency. Although they do follow through with some complaints, because of the number of dogs being registered each year, there is no way they can inspect each litter.
Dogs raised in puppy mills from very poor breeding stock most always have papers. Sometimes these papers are obtained in illegal ways, but most of the time, the parent dogs are registered. Often raised in deplorable conditions, in small cages never getting out to run or play, the females are bred twice a year until they just cannot produce puppies any longer.
Puppy mill puppies are mostly sold through pet stores although you can find ads for them in the paper from time to time. If one breeder is raising and advertising several breeds of dogs, you can pretty much assume it is a puppy mill. Or if a breeder wants to meet you some place and show you a couple of puppies, be suspicious. You should always be able to go to the home or kennel where the puppies are and you should be able to see at least one parent.
An AKC title does not guarantee a healthy pup of good breeding or even one true to type. It is not uncommon to see a dog with papers that is said to be a miniature poodle or a Labrador retriever that is far from the standard. Puppy mill dogs and dogs from uneducated back-yard breeders can have serious health and behavior problems.
The startling fact is that the price you pay for an AKC registered dog from a puppy mill or a pet store is about the same or often more than you would pay for a high-quality dog from a reputable breeder.
Reputable breeders are primarily interested is producing the perfect dog. They are always looking to produce a dog that is true to the breed standard, has a wonderful temperament and has come from stock that does not carry genetic flaws such as hip displasia. Usually, a breeder will keep the best from a litter to show in AKC dog shows and earn a championship title. This dog then becomes part of their breeding program.
Their first aim is not to make money by producing as many pups as possible and selling them for as high a price as possible. Reputable breeders feel a responsibility to those pups who are not pick of the litter. They are very careful to place their puppies in homes that will be nurturing and loving.
A good breeder will insist that the pups sold are spayed and neutered. They keep the best pups for their breeding program and therefore, they do not want these other, less than perfect pups, having litters under their kennel name.
Don't be fooled by the AKC designation. You can study the breed and have at least some clue that this AKC pup will have generally, the characteristics of the breed. The value of the AKC registration is totally dependent upon the integrity of the breeder.
Pound puppies do not have the benefit of AKC registration. Some are healthy and some carry genetic defects that will be a constant problem. But most all of them are hoping beyond all hope for a loving home where they will be an important member of the family.
AKC papers or not, all dogs deserve a home and a family. The price of the dog has very little to do with his value.