There are the obvious things such as dog tags that will help with the return of your dog. Having a tag with your name and phone number is a big help in locating the owner of a lost dog. But what if the dog doesn't have a collar on? There are other ways to determine ownership through the use of tattooing and microchipping.
Permanent identification by tatoo or microchip not only provides a means to recover a dog if it is lost but it also satisfies the AKC’s policy for record keeping and identification. A microchip is a rice-sized device encoded with a unique and unalterable identification number. The "chip" is implanted in the trapezius muscle over the withers and is read by a scanner. Most shelters have scanners and personnel are trained to look for microchipped animals and those with tattoos.
We microchip all of our dogs. The identifying microchip number must be noted on the dog or litter record. Microchip identification is not required in any way for AKC registration or to participate in AKC approved events. Tattoos remain an acceptable form of identification to comply with AKC’s rules; however, I find that the microchip is a much less traumatic way to go. With tattooing the dog must be held down by a number of people and it takes a much longer time to complete a tattoo than to implant a chip.
- Other means of identification that are used by breeders include DNA analysis. The use of certain genetic markers in a dog's DNA for the production of a unique genotype provides a method of absolute identification of individual dogs and parentage verification from one generation to the next. A dog's genetic constitution, called a "genotype," can be determined by an analysis of a simple bristle swab swirled against the inside cheek portion of a dog's mouth. The AKC has initiated a program by which breeders can now have their dogs voluntarily DNA certified. A Certificate of DNA Analysis is issued with the dog’s name, registration information, DNA Profile Number, and genotype. If the dog is registered, Registration Certificates and Pedigrees issued after the dog has been DNA certified will contain the DNA Profile Number. The AKC has also initiated a Frequently Used Sires Program in which every sire producing seven or more litters in his lifetime or producing more than three litters in a calendar year must be 'AKC DNA Certified.' Dogs with DNA profiles from the voluntary DNA Certification Program or from the Parent Breed Club Program have already met this requirement. Furthermore, AKC DNA Certification is required for all stud dogs collected for fresh extended and frozen semen use, including foreign stud dogs collected for imported semen use in the UnitedStates.