The American Kennel Club, the largest and most famous registry of pedigreed dogs in the United States, is actually a club made up of smaller clubs. Before the AKC will recognize a new breed, that breed must have a National Breed Club supporting it, along with a certain number of dogs in the United States that meet the breed standards. As of July 2015, the AKC recognized 187 breeds.
Rare or up-and-coming breeds can register with the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service (FSS). FSS registration allows more unusual breeds to build their stock and ownership records. Many of these breeds have existed for hundreds of years, but they are not yet popular enough in America to qualify for full AKC status. Some examples of FSS breeds that have already been recognized by European kennel clubs include the Barbet, or French water dog; the Stabyhoun, an extremely rare breed of hunting dog from Holland; the Broholmer, or Danish mastiff; and the Pumi, a sheepdog from Hungary.
Other FSS breeds are actually relatively new. For example, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was bred as an attack dog for the Czechoslovakian Special Forces in the 1950s. It was created by breeding German Shepherd Dogs with Carpathian wolves. The Miniature Australian Shepherd, which transitioned from FSS to full AKC recognition in July 2015, was bred in the 1960s in California from full-sized Australian Shepherds.
To qualify for full recognition, an FSS breed must first qualify for the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class. This status requires that the breed have at least 150 registered dogs in the United States with three-generation pedigrees. Breeds usually have to be in the Miscellaneous Class for at least one year before they can achieve full recognition. In the meantime, the club must remain active by holding events and registering new litters. FSS breeds can participate in some events, but once the breed attains full AKC status, it can compete in all AKC events as a member of its group.