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What is a Dog Pedigree?
Pedigree Dogs


It is a common mistake to refer to a pedigree dog or puppy.  The correct term is a purebred dog.  A Certificate of Pedigree is the document that should be handed to the buyer of a purebred puppy at the time of purchase.

The buyer should also be given a transfer from enabling him or her, for a modest fee, to register the pup in the buyer's name, in place of the vendor's with the respective national kennel club.

The Certificate of Pedigree which, like any transfer from, should be signed by the breeder, must show the registered name and number of the puppy...Obviously you can call your puppy whatever pet name you wish, it's date of birth, and the registered names and registration numbers of its parents and ancestors for 3, or preferably 5, generations.

This Certificate of Pedigree is a valuable document which calls for careful scrutiny. Unless the pup's parents are registered, and the signature of the breeder appears, the new owner will not be able to register a transfer of ownership and perhps more importantly, will be unable to enter the dog in purebred show classes or to register and sell its future offspring as purebreds.

You will probably notice on the paper that most of the dogs' names bear a prefix, for instance: "Merry Mable of Renfold" or "Renfold Merry Mable". This is because breeders, again for a modest fee, are enabled to register with a prefix with their respective kennel club, which enables stock from their kennels to be easily recognized.

Where a dog has been bred by the prefix holder, the word will appear in front of the name (called an affix).  If the dog has been acquired, the prefix will follow the name, for example "of" or "at" and this is called a suffix.

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How to Detect Prize Winning Stock

If you attend dog shows and look at the catalog entries for a specific breed, you may find it interesting to detect, from their affixes, those kennels that predominate and produce considerable prizewinning stock.  Pedigree certificates are usually completed by hand.  Those which have entries written in red ink are highly prized, for only the names of champions are thus honored.

The American and British championships systems are different...

In Britain, champions are dogs that have been awarded three Challenge Certificates by three different judges.

In the U.S. a championship is attained via an accumulation of points.  The dog may earn from one to five points at a show and only 1 male and 1 female can win points at a show.

It is worth repeating that when buying a puppy, the Certificate of Pedigree should be carefully looked over...and that even if the pup you intend to buy is an attractive and healthy example of its breed, and you have no intention of exhibiting or breeding, if the certificate is not complete the pup should not command as high of a price as any puppy who has been correctly documented.

Note:  The greatest number of Challenge Certificates (CCs) to be won by a British dog, were the 78 awarded to champion U'Kwong King Solomon, a Chow Chow owned and bred by Mrs. Joan Egerton of Bramhall, Cheshire in the north of England. Known as Solly, this magnificent Chow died in 1978 at the age of 10 years.  It is the life's ambition of some dog exhibitors to win even 1 CC.

Are Pedigree Dogs Show Dogs?

The acquisition of a certificate of pedigree proves that you own a purebred.  It enables you to register ownership with the national kennel club, to legitimately enter him or her in purebred show classes and, if you wish, to breed, to sell its offspring with a similar certificate.  But, contrary to a widely held belief, a pedigreed dog is by no means always a perfect prospect for the show ring.

Kennel clubs all over the world have what is known as a standard laid down for each recognized breed.  This standard describes the perfect example of every variety and it is the dogs which meet this exacting requirement that compete against each other in the ring.

There are, however, countless breed members that fall short of the standard perfection, if only in some minor detail...they may be slightly too big or too small, their teeth formation may be under or over shot, or there could be a wrongful patch of color on the which case, they would be sold (as most purebred dogs are) as pet dogs rather than show dogs.

Most people only want an attractive, faithful companion of their favorite breed. However, problems can arise when having made a purchase and thinking that their pet is a show dog, they enter it into a show with disastrous results.

"But my dog has a pedigree" they say...or "I paid a good price for her and I have been ripped off if she is not a show dog!"...But the truth of the matter is that they were confused about what the term means. Unless one specifically asks for and pays for a show dog, they will not get a show dog.

Obtaining a show dog is not easy, particularly as it is rarely possible to determine a dog's true potential until he or she is about 6 months old...or even older for some breeds. Often breeders will 'run on' a likely puppy in their kennels with a view to exhibiting or breeding him or her for themselves. 

Those who want to exhibit must first convince a breeder that they will prove to be a worthy owner, and of their eagerness to become involved in the breed, probably by joining the relevant breed club, attending many shows as a spectator and learning all they can about handling.

Once they have passed this test and have been awarded with the acquisition of their 1st show dog, they will discover that the world of show is a completely new way of life.

Interesting Points of Interest

  • A dog's mouth is overshot when the upper teeth project beyond the lower ones.
  • It is undershot if the lower jaw projects out
  • A scissor bite means that they line up perfectly

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