Need for Trademark Protections...
It is far easier for brand new kennels, without a history, to receive a US trademark registration than register with the AKC. A US trademark can be applied for as early as when you have an intent to use the kennel name in commerce. That is, you can file for a US trademark before you are actually in business so long as the breeder has a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce. Therefore, a US trademark can provide some protection for the kennel owner before the kennel is eligible for AKC registration. It is quite possible that if the new kennel files and receives its trademark early in the kennel's life, by the time the kennel name can be AKC registered in five or so years, the kennel's trademark may become incontestable.
So, new kennel owners should strongly consider whether acquiring a US trademark is a good investment for a business that is strongly dependent upon name recognition and good will. Reliance upon AKC registration, common law trademarks, or state trademarks, is simply not enough, especially for the critical first years in which the kennel is trying to establish the value of its dogs.
Best of luck in the canine competition and exhibition world.
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This post is advertising material and not legal advice.