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The United Kennel Club (UKC), founded in 1898, is the second largest registering body for purebred dogs of all breeds. A major difference between UKC and its rival registries is that only owners, members of the owners' family, or family friends can handle their UKC-registered dogs in a UKC show ring. Professional dog handlers are not allowed. The result has been that UKC dog shows have evolved to become very much a family affair, often incorporating on-site picnics, gatherings of friends, and introduction of children of all ages to the sport of dog showing.

UKC dog shows are sponsored by individual dog clubs located variously around the United States. Members of the clubs hire the judges, select the show sites, handle the entries, help serve as ring stewards, prepare the necessary paperwork, and work tirelessly to be sure that a good time is had by all. Club members do all the work that they do for love of dogs - no other payment is involved.

UKC was the original registry to recognize American Eskimo Dogs, although not by that name. When the dog we know today as an "Eskie" was registered with UKC in 1913, the Eskie was recognized as a "Spitz" or the "American Spitz". The breed also was known by other names, including "German Spitz". The outbreak of WWI and resulting anti-German sentiment brought some breeders to adopt American Eskimo as the name for the breed, that name previously used by a pioneer breeding family as the name of their kennel. Gradually, the name achieved universal acceptance.

AAEA is an affiliate of the National American Eskimo Dog Association (NAEDA), the national UKC breed club.