Prevent yourself from any possible trouble and register the domain at a registrar seperate from the web hosting company.
Never register your domain with your web host. It's a bad idea!
most of the problems i read are usually because the users did not check to see if the domain name is actually registered to them insted of the hosting company. i was assured by the company i asked ( ix webhosting ) that i have full control over my domain and would be listed as the owner so i assume shouldn't be too difficult to transfer if i find their services lacking. please correct me if i'm wrong
Completely agree with actually owning your domain name, because if you ever have problems with the hosting company, you can always transfer your domain name. From personal experience I have lost a domain because of this.
My answer is yes! I learned it the hard way, with my site down for a whole week.
While sayng ALL hosts are "keeping your domain names" may be a bit exaggerated, there are DEFINITELY more than just a few HUNDRED horror stories. I have personally come across quite a number of situations myself switching hosts for my clients; many, including some well established hosting companies, are making transfers or even changing nameservers DIFFICULT, and you could guess the reason why
Having two different provider for Domain and Hosting is totally depends on the clients and the way in which he find himself comfortable, some prefer different providers and they cant give the whole control to one ervice provider, whereas some prefer single provider as it help them in resolving the technical issues. So its all upto you and your mode of working.