The place of the dog: AKC breeds in American culture

Angela G. Ray*, Harold E. Gulley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The American Kennel Club (AKC), the primary registry agency for purebred dogs in the United States, had recognized 138 breeds through September 1995. An investigation of the source areas of these breeds reveals the cultural authority of Great Britain in organized dog breeding in the United States. Although Great Britain accounts for more than one-third of the AKC breeds, however, its importance has declined. Dogs from Asia account for more than one-fifth of the breeds recognized since World War II. Breed names that contain toponymic elements (such as Sussex Spaniel) usually reinforce the importance of the area in which the breeds were developed. An analysis of the patterns of geographic names reveals a pronounced emphasis on Western Europe, particularly Great Britain. A decline in the prominence of names from Europe has occurred. Asian name sources have become more important, and Australia and Africa have begun receiving attention. North America as a source of breeds as well as a source of naming has occupied a relatively minor role throughout the AKC's history. American breeders and promoters of purebred dogs have tended to look outward, especially toward Europe, for sociocultural forms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-106
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Cultural Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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