You probably know the serious concerns that the AKC has about low entry and small population breeds. The AKC Purebred Preservation Bank (AKC PPB) was developed to address those concerns and provide support and encouragement for preserving the genetic heritage of all purebred dogs.

Following discussion at the January 2021 AKC Board meeting, Mr. Sprung recommended that AKC explore establishing a frozen semen program which would increase gene pools, ensure saving of quality producers, and make it easy for each Parent Club to take this step for their breed. Ultimately, this would assist the breeds and the breeders of today and in the future.

The goals of the workgroup were as follows:

  • Encourage the development and use of Parent Club authorized reproductive banking
  • Maintain Parent Club authority for breeding decisions
  • Consider all possible legal, economic, administrative, and organizational factors

Why is this necessary?
Preservation of dog semen is not just for the breeds with lower-than-average levels of breeding activity. Any breed could be susceptible to genetic bottlenecks or difficulties as the discovery of new diseases emerges. 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.

How long does the American Kennel Club plan to support the AKC Purebred Preservation Bank?
The AKC Board has resolved to permanently support the AKC PPB, as noted in the Minutes of The American Kennel Club, Inc. MEETING of the BOARD OF DIRECTORS November 13-14, 2023:

“Following a motion by Dr. Battaglia, seconded by Mr. Sweetwood, the Board VOTED (unanimously) to adopt the following Resolution:

Whereas: The American Kennel Club founded the AKC Purebred Preservation Bank and is permanently committed to the long-term success of its mission to ensure the viability of purebred dogs. This valuable service is necessary to salvage or restore endangered breeds now and in the future.

Therefore: While coordinating efforts with non-profit breed-specific clubs, the AKC PPB will educate breeders, clubs, and the public about the importance of safeguarding frozen semen and protecting purebred dog breeds for future decades.”

What is the organizational structure?
We are a tax-exempt Delaware non-profit entity and a separate affiliate from AKC, similar in structure to AKC Reunite and the AKC Humane Fund.

Where does the semen originate?
The AKC PPB will accept frozen semen donations from individual owners and semen storage providers and AKC PPB will then own this semen. Currently, frozen semen is often abandoned due to the owner’s death or incapacitation, or because storage fees are no longer being paid.

How does the bank work?
The AKC PPB will be able to take immediate ownership of donated or abandoned semen. 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.

AKC PPB will use these criteria to make decisions regarding which donations to accept, which donations to retain in storage, which donations to destroy and which donations to transfer to breeders or groups of breeders for use in planned breedings.

Where is the physical bank?
AKC PPB has arrangements with Iowa State University’s veterinary schools, as well as several ICSB centers and other independent storage facilities. We anticipate allowing other storage facilities to participate if they meet appropriate criteria.

What expectations does the AKC PPB envision?
We want Parent Clubs to suggest breed-specific distribution criteria, understanding that the criteria may change in the future based on the state of a breed’s Parent Club and the needs of the breed at that time.

Is there a fee to donate to the AKC PPB?
There is no charge to for donations to the AKC PPB.

Is there a fee for Parent Clubs to participate in the AKC PPB?
No, there is no fee or charge for Parent Clubs to participate.

Who pays for the expenses for collecting, shipping, etc.? Who is paid for the acquisition of semen and storage?
AKC PPB will accept donations of frozen semen and will pay for the storage after the donation is complete. Consistent with current breeding practices, the sire owner pays for any costs of collection, transportation, and storage prior to donation.

Will there be additional expenses for semen owners, aside from the cost of transferring the semen from its current storage facility to the AKC PPB?
No, there is no cost to donate frozen semen to AKC PPB. Since the transfer of semen can get costly, AKC PPB will decide at its discretion whether to transport the semen (at AKC PPB’s expense) or leave it at its current location until distribution.

What is the status of preserving ova/eggs?
While there is research and work being done to harvest and fertilize eggs for preservation, the science is not currently advanced enough to warrant going that route. At this time, the AKC PPB will only accept frozen semen.

Will a legal template be provided for estate planning?
While AKC PPB cannot give legal or tax advice, a template is in progress to ensure a smooth process.

Does AKC have any requirements of their own that a potential donor must meet in order to donate or is that completely up to the individual breed?
There will be three levels of information that donors will be asked to submit:

  1. Donor Application and Semen Profile, which contains demographic and health information about the sire and semen
  2. Genetic Material Donation Agreement
  3. Breed specific information determined in consultation with Parent Clubs

The basic requirement for donation is that the sire is AKC registered, and the owner of the semen has given proper authorization for AKC PPB to own and use the frozen semen.

Will the Bank be in conflict with stud owners?
No, the AKC PPB will not directly participate in breedings or whelpings and will not own dogs, litters or individual dogs. Frozen semen owned by AKC PPB will not compete with any semen owned by the stud owner.

Can litters be AKC-registered?
Yes, provided all other AKC litter registration criteria are met.

Will owners of dogs registered in their perspective countries’ registries be allowed to participate?
We do not yet have a process for foreign registered dogs. This is under discussion.

What if a donor dog is on conditional, limited, or restricted registration?
How this might apply to distribution has not been decided and is under further discussion. The AKC PPB’s bias is always to save genetic material rather than discard it.

What health information will be required/available for the dog?
The Parent Club for each breed will provide required health testing acceptance criteria.

Who decides who can access what semen, based on what objective qualifications? What is the screening process for applicants?
The Parent Club will provide criteria that will be used by AKC PPB in the application process to determine eligibility of the dam and the owner of a proposed breeding.

How would one know that the semen was actually used on the bitch?
Like any AKC registration issue, the integrity of the registrants is paramount. Furthermore, AKC PPB will be very interested in following the results of any breeding from their semen. Any questions of impropriety will be thoroughly investigated.

What safeguard(s), if any, will be put in place to assure breed purity in the distant future of semen use? Will new breeds be allowed to access the bank or only breeds in existence when semen was collected?
At this time, only purebred AKC registered dogs will be permitted to use AKC PPB. Furthermore, each use of stored semen will be via an application process, which will include such questions as, “why is this proposed breeding necessary and appropriate for the preservation of this breed?” New breeds will be able to utilize AKC PPB once they are fully approved by AKC, but AKC PPB semen will not be used to create new breeds.

When can the semen be used?
The Parent Club’s defined criteria will determine when the semen will be available for use. For example, requirements may be in place that semen cannot be used until the stud dog owner no longer has any other semen available and until applicable health testing has been performed and submitted to AKC PPB.

What is the short-term likelihood that donations are not used?
There is unlikely to be a short-term need for popular breeds, but donated semen could prove valuable in 50+ years – perhaps regarding color or health concerns. The stars from the past may be the dogs to save their breed in the future.

If, due to cost constraints or storage space limitations, will there be a process and prioritization mechanism in place to cull some of the stored material?
Yes, should that time come, there will be a process and prioritization of which semen might need to be culled, according to the perceived value of each sample to the preservation of that breed.

How does the transfer process work? Is there a fee?
The AKC PPB will be able to transfer semen to individual breeders or Parent Clubs through a fee-based application approval process. Once an application is approved, the transfer process will include a Usage Fee to cover any additional storage time and shipping. All or some of the application fee may be applied to the Usage Fee upon transfer.  The amount of these fees has not yet been set but will be proportional to the breeding marketplace of that breed at the time of breeding.

Who makes the selection decision of the sire?
Once a Parent Club establishes its criteria, the owner of the bitch will make this breeding decision and proceed to the appropriate application process. The AKC PPB will then review the application according to the Parent Club derived acceptance criteria.

Who sets the rules and how consistently are they applied? Based on the Delegates’ Forum presentation in June 2023, it seems like the Parent Club is who makes the rules for who gets to use the semen.
Generally, the answer is that the Parent Clubs will provide recommendations for the criteria for semen distribution, to be implemented by the AKC PPB.

What process will be established to allow each Parent Club to update its breed-specific acceptance and/or distribution criteria based on new research into diseases and genetic conditions?
AKC PPB will welcome any updates or changes to the Parent Club recommendation criteria at any time.

Will there be a requirement that a bitch owner requesting semen is a member in good standing of the breed’s Parent Club, if a Parent Club exists?
This would be a reasonable criteria to include in the Parent Club recommendations, as it may be more appropriate for some breeds than others.

Will the Parent Club have input to disallow AKC PPB semen use for certain individuals found by the club to act against our breed preservation? For example, proving to be mixing our breed with another breed?
If the Parent Club can devise reasonable, objective criteria which can detect and identify breeders who should not be allowed access to that breed’s AKC PPB stored semen, that be included in the Parent Club’s recommendations.

If a breeder is aware of issues in another line, is there an option for them to refuse use of semen or does AKC PPB control the breeding?
If the donor is aware from experience that the donated semen may not be appropriate for use with a certain line, or with dams carrying certain traits or genetic features, that information can be included in the section on the donor application that describes the donating sire and semen.

Does AKC have any requirements of their own that a potential donor must meet in order to donate or is that completely up to the individual breed?
There will be three levels of information that donors will be asked to submit:

  1. Donor Application and Semen Profile, which contains demographic and health information about the sire and semen
  2. Genetic Material Donation Agreement
  3. Breed specific information determined in consultation with Parent Clubs

The basic requirement for donation is that the sire is AKC registered, and the owner of the semen has given proper authorization for AKC PPB to own and use the frozen semen.

Does the AKC model assume that the bank is going to pay for itself? 
AKC has given a ten-year commitment to fund the AKC PPB. The projections do not expect that this will break even, although other sources of funding will be sought.

What would happen if the bank were not successful and had to be shut down?
This is a long-term project, but if it had to be shut down, we would essentially not be worse off than our current state.

In such a scenario, is there a plan in place to determine how banked straws would be disseminated?
There is not yet a plan in place for that eventuality, but is under discussion.

If the AKC PPB did have to close down, would Parent Clubs be given first option of obtaining semen or would it be destroyed?
This is a reasonable option provided the Parent Club has an AKC-approved preservation bank of their own in operation at that time.

What determines how many straws can be withdrawn for a single breeding?  Is this number in any way dependent on the total number of straws on hand for an individual breed?
The Society for Theriogenology and the ACT are coming out with recommended number of semen per breeding dose based on dog size. We plan on following those recommendations once they are released.

If a breeder has a limited number of straws from a stud from 20 or more years ago, would AKC require that one of those straws be given up in order to perform modern day genetic testing on that stud?
No, we do not anticipate such a requirement. We do plan on making available to the breeder/recipient what tests have been completed, if any. Also, since the array of tests available will change with time and progress, any such specific requirement would be impractical. This emphasizes the importance of the sire having blood in the CHIC DNA repository, or on FTA cards, to provide future DNA testing.

Have any decisions been made as to what type of paperwork will be required for a breeder to apply for withdrawal of straws?
Similar to the information required for semen donation, there will be three levels of documentation requested:

  1. Generic demographic information and history about the dam and breeder
  2. Legal disclaimers
  3. Breed specific information determined in consultation with Parent Clubs

How is the price of the straws determined?  Would it be based on the current price of a puppy from that breed or based on the number of puppies that came from the use of those straws?
We will not be in competition with existing breeders or sire/semen owners, and the term “price” will not be used. However, there will be application and processing fees, which likely will be comparable to the realities of the existing market at the time of use.

It might be wise to promote the idea of a 50/50 straw donation.  Donate 10, keep 10?
Yes, that is an excellent suggestion.

What happens to straws in the AKC PPB if a Parent Club decides to start its own reproductive bank?
This continues to be under discussion. It should be possible for both banks to cooperatively coexist. Transfers could potentially occur, provided appropriate permissions and releases are secured.

Does the AKC PPB plan to create a database of available straws (i.e. information about the stud in question)?
Yes, the plan is to eventually have an interactive web site connected to the database that can display the inventory and relevant information about the sire and semen.

Why is this effort not called a “repopulation bank” instead of a reproduction bank? This seems to get across the idea of the real reasons behind this initiative?
The name chosen, AKC Purebred Preservation Bank, reflects the importance of preservation breeding, both now and in the future.

Is there any thought of creating a set of rules that would open up the breed bank only when breed based low-point thresholds are passed (# of puppies or # of litter falls below a certain point)?
Yes, that concept is under discussion, and data is now being collected for that consideration.

Any more news on the plan to present an AKC PPB overview with a Q&A at a breed’s National Specialty?
There have been a few in-person presentations at National Specialties and at ANC, and more are planned, but it is impractical to send people to every specialty across the country. Our plan is to create a webinar-type presentation that can be recorded and shared with clubs, followed by a remote Q&A session. We currently are in the queue of pending AKC Education Department tasks.

Visit our AKC PPB Documents page for additional background information.