Saturday, April 18, 2015

P -- Pedigrees and Registrations

I'm an animal control officer. When I'm in uniform people come up and tell me random things. Last week I had a woman tell me about her Cairn terrier. Apparently, her daughter was Dorothy in a local production of The Wizard of Oz and someone gave the theater the dog to play Toto in exchange for season tickets. When the show was over they kept the dog. Then the woman said "He's a beautiful dog. I could have shown him if I wanted to." I looked at her and smiled, while the voice in my head was cross-examining such an odd statement: "Really? Does he meet breed standards? Does he have a pedigree? Does he have a full registration? -- Do you even know what I'm talking about?" I'm sure she didn't. Most people assume that any purebred dog can just run around the ring. If you're following the A to Z of Dog Shows this month then you know it's more complicated than that!

A "purebred" is a dog whose ancestors were all the same breed. A pedigree is used to show a dog's ancestry. A pedigree is simply a chart showing a dog's family tree. The AKC issues purebred dogs registration numbers to keep track of which dog is which. Each dog's full name and registration number is listed on the pedigree. Below is Jedi's AKC pedigree showing three generations.

Zente's Jedi Mind Trick
(US) CH Mar Haven's Last Cowboy Song
2007 GV CH (US) Welove Du Chien's Army of One
SEL CH (US) Welove Du Chien's Rollins
Welove Du Chien's Bethel
Mar Haven's Southern Nights
AOE SEL CH (US/CAN) Elvaston's Southern Byrne
Jericho's Avant Garde D'Arte
Golden Breeds Zente Zasha
CH (US) Golden Breeds Color Copy

AOE 1997 GV CH (US) Mar Haven's Color Guard
Golden Breed's What A Tripp
Golden Breeds Christmas Angel
Tollhaus Gold'R'Ush
Golden Breed's Balinese

Reading a pedigree is fairly easy. Males are always listed on top. Reading Jedi's pedigree, you can deduce that Mar Haven's Last Cowboy Song is Jedi's father, Golden Breeds Color Copy is his mother's father (maternal grandfather), and Elvaston's Southern Byrne is his father's mother's mother (father's maternal grandmother). Other things to note:
  • AKC registration numbers are written in black under the dog's registered name.
  • Championships are written in red.
  • AOE stands for Award of Excellence. This is the most prestigious conformation award given by the parent club
  • Certified pedigrees show OFA and CERF (hip/elbow and eye tests) scores.
PLEASE NOTE: a pedigree does not guarantee that the dog is of good quality. A pedigree only shows that a registered dog is the descendant of other registered purebred dogs. Puppy mill dogs are sold in pet stores and online "with papers" all the time. Some of them actually have AKC papers. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people in the dog world -- just like everywhere else. It's your responsibility to research names and breeders to ensure that your puppy is from a strong and healthy line.

Something most people don't know is that a pedigree isn't the only thing a dog needs to show in conformation; a dog must also have the proper registration. The AKC has different levels of registration: Full, limited and PAL (purebred alternative listing). To show in conformation, a dog must have a full registration. This means that the has dog full breeding rights and that any puppies produced when he/she is mated to another AKC fully registered dog of the same breed are eligible for AKC registration. Responsible breeders only give full registration to dogs they feel are worthy of being part of a breeding program.

Sometimes a puppy doesn't meet the breed standard. It could be something minor (coat color) or something major (an undershot jaw). A responsible breeder will sell this puppy as "pet quality" with a limited registration. Breeders often put a mandatory spay/neuter clause in the contract of all pet quality puppies. On the off chance that a dog with limited registration is bred, the AKC will not register any of the offspring. However, a breeder may change a limited registration to a full registration at a later date if she feels the dog is worthy of being bred after all.

The third registration option, PAL (purebred alternative listing), is for dogs without papers who are obviously purebred. I did this for Logan. According to the AKC website:
There are various reasons why a purebred dog might not be eligible for registration. The dog may be the product of an unregistered litter, or have unregistered parents. The dog's papers may have been withheld by its breeder or lost by its owner. Sometimes, it is the dog itself that was "lost." There are many dogs enrolled in the PAL program after they have been surrendered or abandoned, then adopted by new owners from animal shelters or purebred rescue groups.
Dogs with limited registrations or PALs can participate in a wide variety of AKC sports like obedience, rally, agility, herding, lure coursing and tracking.

How do you know which registration a dog has? Look at the official registration! Limited registration forms are white with an orange boarder, whereas full registrations are white with a purple border. PAL registrations have a red border and clearly state "Purebred Alternative Listing."

Before I started showing I was like the woman above and thought "with papers" was enough. I was wrong. Fortunately, I had knowledgeable Dog Club members to explain it to me. I hope you understand now too. See you tomorrow. -- K

Tomorrow's Topic: Questions To Ask BEFORE Buying a Puppy

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