Introduction to the AKC Purebred Preservation Bank
“Long term preservation of our breeds has become a central issue of focus for many AKC Parent Clubs. Preservation is not just for the breeds with lower-than-average levels of breeding activity, but for any breed that might face genetic bottlenecks or other genetic difficulties, now or in the future.”
– Dr. Charles Garvin – AKC PPB Chairman and Delegate of the Dalmatian Club of America (June 2021 Perspectives)
In July of 2022, the AKC Purebred Preservation bank (AKC PPB) was formally established as a Delaware non-profit entity (tax exemption pending) to provide support and encouragement for preserving the genetic heritage of all purebred dogs.
Identifying the Problem
Currently, valuable frozen semen is abandoned or destroyed at storage facilities every day due to owner incapacitation, financial barriers, or death. Executors and heirs may be unaware of the abandoned semen, or they may not appreciate the real value of semen as breeding programs come to an end. As a result, thousands of breeding units are destroyed each month across the United States.
Historically, significant events such as World War II led to near extinction of several famous breeds:
- Rottweilers – for five years, there were fewer than 10 dogs registered per year
- Bernese Mountain Dogs – for five years, there were ZERO dogs registered
- Alaskan Malamutes – for three years, there were ZERO dogs registered
- Flat-Coated Retrievers – for three years, there were ZERO dogs registered
As recently as 2021, the AKC identified 12 breeds that had fewer than 10 litters registered nationally. This illustrates that any breed could face a genetic bottleneck, experience adverse effects from new diseases, or suffer unanticipated crises. Therefore, focusing on preserving semen solely on low entry breeds is not our solution.
One of the many goals of the AKC PPB is to educate breeders and Parent Clubs about available opportunities to preserve frozen semen from both current and former dogs. Storing diverse semen could address unknown future health concerns and rejuvenate breeding programs, e.g., provide genetic repair by using frozen semen that pre-dates the existence or evolution of the disease in the breed. Imagine if it were possible to add the conformation quality or health traits of an outstanding specimen of your breed from 50 or more years ago to today’s gene pool.
The AKC PPB will be able to take immediate ownership of donated or abandoned semen at storage facilities. AKC PPB will fund the storage of frozen semen and manage the transfer process to individuals or Parent Clubs, as directed. Protocols and criteria will be established by Parent Clubs to make acceptance and release decisions for the stored semen.
Through research, development of resources for Parent Clubs and breeders, and ongoing education efforts, we can all take these important steps to protect the heritage of quality purebred dogs.
Please visit our FAQs page to learn more about getting involved and next steps for breeders and clubs.