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· Registered
8,205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Came across this today - thought it was rather informative and may set settle some thoughts on AKC Papers, esp when buying a new puppy!!

________________________________ ... apers.html

AKC Registration Papers and Pedigrees
What They Mean -- And Don't Mean
At some point, if you're talking to an unknowledgeable breeder or a proud but unknowledgeable owner, you might hear something like this:

"My Labrador Retriever puppy has AKC papers and a pedigree!!"
They expect you to respond with an awed whistle. Here's a better response:

"Oh, yay."

"But I thought AKC registration papers meant good quality!"

Nope. The truth is...

The AKC will register any puppy whose parents are registered.

The AKC registered those parents because their parents were registered.

The AKC registered their parents because...

You get the idea.

Registration is nothing but a mechanical process, a chain of numbers.

You send the AKC money.

If the owners of your puppy's parents and grandparents were all good doobies who kept the chain intact by sending in their own money, the AKC will insert your puppy's name into the database, too.

They'll send you a piece of paper with a number on it.

Voila...he's registered.

Dr. Herm David, Ph.D. says: "The AKC has an infinite supply of numbers. It's a good business to be in."

"But what about a pedigree? Doesn't that mean something?"

Send more money. The AKC will access their database again and it will spit out the names of your puppy's parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, as many generations as you're willing to pay for.

Voila...his pedigree.

That's all a pedigree is -- a list of names.

Registration papers and pedigrees don't tell you a single thing about a dog other than its place in the chain of names.

To get registration papers or a pedigree, a Labrador Retriever doesn't have to meet any qualifications of health, temperament, behavior, or sound structure.

None whatsoever. Your Labrador Retriever can be purple, sickly, aggressive, obese, ears pointing every which way -- and the AKC will give them the same kind of registration number they give to the Best of Breed champions at the Westminster Kennel Club show. The exact same kind of registration number.

"Good grief! And here I thought AKC registered meant good!"

Don't be fooled. Registration papers don't suggest quality in a Labrador Retriever any more than registration papers suggest quality in a CAR.

Does buying a "registered" car mean it won't be a clunker? Of course not!

In fact, in CARS, registration papers at least mean that a car has passed a smog check or a mechanical safety check (in most states, anyway).

The AKC registers DOGS
with no health or safety checks at all.
Hopefully you will never again
make the mistake of thinking that the
existence of AKC papers or a pedigree
has anything whatsoever to do
with a dog's quality.

"But papers at least guarantee that a dog is purebred, right?"

I'm beginning to feel like the bearer of bad news here!

Being purebred has nothing to do with registration papers.

Being purebred simply means that a puppy and all of his ancestors going back many generations have the same set of fixed genes.

Fixed genes can be counted on to reproduce traits such as large size, short coat, black color, etc. Having fixed genes is what makes a dog purebred. The presence or absence of registration papers has no effect whatsoever on genes.

In fact, if a dog DOESN'T have those fixed genes, he isn't purebred -- even he HAS registration papers!


It's true. A Labrador Retriever puppy can have registration papers that are false. Most canine registries such as the AKC operate on the honor system. They simply take the breeder's word for it that "King" and "Queen" were really the parents of "Solomon."

But scams happen all the time. Let's say someone has a female Labrador Retriever and a male Labrador Retriever who are purebred and have registration papers. Unfortunately, the female gets loose and is accidentally bred by the mixed breed who lives down the street. When the litter arrives, a dishonest person could fill out the litter registration paperwork -- claiming that his Labrador Retriever was the father. The AKC will dutifully send him a bunch of individual registration papers for each puppy, which he will happily pass along to the new owners. And no one will be the wiser until the puppies grow up and start to look suspiciously non-Labradorish!

Fortunately, the AKC does have a new DNA testing program where participating breeders submit DNA samples of parents and puppies, which conclusively proves parentage. If you want to be sure of who your puppy's parents really are, look for breeders who participate in this program. However, this technology has limits. Since it's new, PAST dogs in your puppy's pedigree can't be tested.

Always remember that GENES make a dog purebred. The presence or absence of registration papers doesn't change the genes inside a dog. He can be purebred without having papers -- and sadly, he can have papers without really being purebred.

"So are papers and pedigrees worth anything at all?"

In the hands of responsible, knowledgeable breeders, oh, yes.

It is extremely important for breeders to check pedigrees to be sure they're not breeding together closely-related dogs, which can lead to serious health problems in the puppies.

Responsible breeders also use pedigrees to track down and evaluate the temperament, health, and physical build of as many ancestors as possible. This information is crucial in deciding how to match up breeding partners.

"Should I buy a purebred puppy without a pedigree?"

I sure wouldn't. How else will you find out whether a prospective puppy's parents and grandparents were too closely related? If you can't see a 4- or 5-generation pedigree, you'll never know whether the same name appears on both sides of the pedigree, which would mean the puppy is inbred.

Anyone who breeds a litter of Labrador Retriever puppies without examining the pedigree for inbreeding is ignorant and irresponsible. Why reward such a person with money AND take on the risk of an inbred puppy who is likely to develop health problems?

You have as much right to a well-bred, genetically healthy puppy as anyone else. Rewarding an ignorant breeder with money only encourages him to keep doing the same thing.

So you want papers and a pedigree
with a purebred Labrador Retriever puppy --
not because their PRESENCE
means you're getting a high-quality puppy,
but because their ABSENCE
automatically means that
the breeder was clueless
AND that you're taking a big risk
of getting an unhealthy puppy.

· Registered
18,320 Posts
That is a great article Heather. Lays the facts out that are easy to understand....Maybe I need to make copies of this and pass them out to fools that ask stupid questions or make some of those same comments in the article :lol:

GREAT info.  I had no idea about ANY of this.  Makes me sad that I was happy they had papers.    :(

this is really good info. though.  I wanted to bump it up so other people could see it if they hadn't yet!

· Registered
4 Posts
yup, but pet stores still want to charge more and act like AKC puppies are better :( and people fall for it. I actually had a family pass on one of my babies because they were not AKC. The stud is, the mother not because I refused to bother with tracking down a breeder and try to get the papers. They mean nothing and even less to me. Both bitch and stud were given complete medical exams and blood tests before I chose to breed and they came out with "flying colors" according to the vet....... but some people just don't care if you aint got that paper

· Registered
1,552 Posts
No need; DNA certification is for frequently-used sires (dogs who sire more than three litters in one year, or seven litters in their lifetime), for multiple-sired litters, or in cases where parentage is in question.  "Regular" show dogs do not need DNA certification. :)  (It is just a certification, and not a test - like a fingerprint, a way of individually identifying the dog.  At this time there are no genetic tests for Boxer health conditions.)

· Registered
381 Posts
It's not as if AKC papers are a bad thing, they just don't guarantee anything, and like any system people have figured out ways to defeat that system.  

Having AKC papers and a pedigree is still a good thing.

· Registered
2,598 Posts
Agreed.  I'd pass on a puppy too if the owner "couldn't bother" with tracking down the pedigree.    

Plus it's kinda cool to know where your pup came from.  If any of the ancestors were show dogs, it's likely you can track down photos of his/her family on the internet or via the owners.
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