A lot of people think that the words “pedigreed”, “purebred” and “registered” can be used interchangably. Unfortunately this isn’t true.

Every registered purebred has a pedigree, but so does every mixed breed dog, and so do you in fact! The only thing is, that your pedigree is called a family tree. The term “family tree” CAN be used interchangeably with the world pedigree, because that is all a pedigree is – it’s your dog’s family tree.

If someone gives you a pedigree, it doesn’t mean your dog is necessarily purebred, or that it is registered. All it will be is a listing of the dogs ancestors.

However, learning to read a pedigree can give you a lot of information about the puppies that you are looking at.

A pedigree lists the ancestors with the most recent “parents” to the left – the male on top and female on the bottom and each previous generation to the right.

At the beginning of each dogs name are the titles the dog earns in Conformation shows, afterwards are performance titles and Register of Merit awards.

Attached is an actual pedigree of a litter bon in 2014. You can gather a lot of information from a pedigree. From this pedigree you can see the father is a multiple Best in Specialty Show winner who is an American Grand Champion & Canadian Champion. The mother is a Best in Show and Best is Specialty Sow Winner that has earned the titles of American Grand Champion and Canadian Grand Champion Excellent, with Canine Good Citizen, Canine Good Neighbour, Therapy Dog International, Herding Instinct Tested and Temperament Test Society titless.
Sample pedigree
As you move to the right, you can see the grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great and great-great-great grandparents. Since this pedgree shows champions in red, it is easy to see that of the 62 ancestors listed only 6 are not champions, so approximately 90% of the pedigree is champions in at least 1 country, and some are champions in multiple countries.

Looking at some of the pedigrees of the litters bred by the people breeding these cross-breds there are a few glaring issues that are concerning.

First – incomplete pedigrees. The pedigrees have gaping holes where they are unaware of the ancestors.

Second – they claim the pedigrees have “lots and lots of champions”. But looking at the pedigrees, the champions are back in the 5th generation. At this point they are contributing very little of their genetic material to the pedigree. The parents each contribute 50%, the grandparents each contribute 25%, Great-grandparents 12.5%, Great-great grandparents 6.25%, so a great-great-great-grandarent contributes 3.125% to a puppies pedigree.
So if three are three champion GGG-Grandparents – that means they contribute less than 10% to each puppy.

Third – illegible pedigrees. Breeders show tiny scanned pedigrees that are totally unreadable. Potential purchasers really have no clue whether they are truly related to their puppies or not.

If you have further questions about how to read a pedigree, or questions about the pedigree of a litter you may be looking at, feel free to contact us through Facebook or the Contact page of the website