What is a Pedigree Dog?

What is a Pedigree Dog?

Last update: 27 June, 2018

The word pedigree comes from French “Pied de Grue”. This term refers to the straight lines marked by the first English horse breeders. In the equine genealogical trees, that sign indicated that the animals were pure.
Currently, pedigree refers to a document certifying that an animal breed is of pure origin. Below you will find out what this document is for and how to get it.

What is a pedigree?

A pedigree is a document issued by an official organization to certify that a pet, such as a dog or cat, belongs to a certain breed, which proves its lineage is pure. However, you should note that people have used pedigrees for centuries as a selection method, and to guarantee purity while breeding some animal species.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, pedigrees also apply to genealogical analyses in medicine and genetic engineering fields.
Purebred puppies
A pedigree chart is a diagram that uses symbols to demonstrate the phenotype within family generations. It includes at least 3 or 4 generations, but there should be more traceable ancestors.
The basic symbols used in a genealogical tree are:
  • square (for males): empty or filled in
  • circles (for females): empty or filled in
Vertical lines and a Roman numeral represent consecutive generations. According to the information you provide, I represents the oldest litter, the horizontal lines represent crosses, and a diagonal line indicates that a specimen has died.

How do you get a pedigree certificate for an animal?

This document certifies that an animal’s genealogy belongs to a certain breed known for its beauty or originality. To obtain a pedigree certificate, you must demonstrate the animal’s purity during several generations.
Only those animals whose ancestry is known are entitled to such a document. Otherwise, you can begin to keep a descent record to get a purity certification from an officially certified organization. 
For example, a dog’s puppies may have a non-pedigree genealogical certificate. After an owner has registered at least three new generations, (this varies according to the species) the animals can be deemed pure.

Can I get a pedigree certificate for a dog?

Many people feel having a pedigree pet is like having a trophy. Plus, it can even be a source of pride for a family. When this certificate was first awarded, people believed the document indicated that a dog was “ideal” or it met the “expected” standards for its breed.
Breeding has distorted canine evolution and morphology. For this reason, breeds such as last century English Bull Terriers are not the same as the ones alive today. Different canine federations determine on the breed’s traits. They are in charge of granting documents that endorse a dog’s pedigree.
First, an organization will register all information regarding an animal’s genealogy in a special book. In some cases, they will request a sample of the animal’s DNA for analysis, to determine if it’s 100% pure. If the results prove a dog’s pedigree, the organization will issue an official certificate.
However, do pedigrees really matter? It all depends on a certain number of factors. The following are some of the advantages to having this document:
  • It allows your pet to participate in a canine beauty or pedigree competition (it’s an essential requirement for enrollment)
  • You can cross the dog with another pedigree dog to sell their puppies (this may or may not be a good thing, depending on how the animals are treated, and whether they are only intended for breeding).
Since some breeders cross dogs from the same family to guarantee pedigree, buying a dog with this certificate can mean that it has genetic mutations or health problems. Therefore, it’s obvious that “perfection” is not necessarily what we believed it to be.
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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.