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Buying a pedigree

It's all in the breeding

Buying a pedigree cat or dog can cost hundreds, even thousands, of pounds. Before you decide to buy such an animal you should take into consideration any potential health problems common to the pedigree, and make sure you have confidence in the integrity of the breeder - as well as the pet

Pedigree dogs

There’s a lot to consider when deciding on the type of pedigree dog to suit your home. Apart from thinking how big the animal is likely to become when fully-grown, it’s worth thinking about the job your intended breed was designed to do. This will mean you will have to cope with the innate behaviour that comes with it.

The 209 varieties of breed recognised by the Kennel Club can be divided into seven breed groups. These are Hound, Gundog, Terrier, Utility, Working, Pastoral and Toy. Time spent looking into the background of the different breeds you’re interested in will mean you’re more likely to end up with a dog that suits your circumstances and that you are happy with.

Pedigree cats

If you decide to buy a pedigree cat it will almost certainly stand out among the local moggies, as they make up around 90% of cats in the UK. Although there are over 100 different recognised breeds and colour varieties, cats fall into five basic categories: Persians or Longhairs, other Longhaired cats, British Shorthairs, American Shorthairs and Foreign Shorthairs.

One of the main reasons why people choose a pedigree cat is because their appearance and personality is likely to fit a particular profile. For example, if you want a mischievous, vocal furry friend who will demand lots of attention, then you’ll probably plump for a pure-bred Siamese. Buying a specific pedigree will also mean you’ll pretty much be able to predict what size the kitten will grow to, how long the coat will be and any breed-specific health problems that could be more likely to occur.

Health watch

Unfortunately, pedigree cats and dogs have a greater vulnerability to genetically-inherited disease and an increased tendency towards behavioural issues. This is largely due to generations of inter-breeding. Check out and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF - the feline equivalent of the Kennel Club) for more information on pedigree cats and the possible hereditary conditions they may suffer from.

For further details about pedigree dogs and likely health issues, visit The Kennel Club website. Pet insurance from Direct Line will help you give your animal the care it deserves. Check out our summary of pet insurance cover, which may be more suitable if you have a pedigree pet as it gives you extra cover for vets fees.

‘He’s terribly well bred!’

Finding a trustworthy and reputable breeder is key when buying a pedigree puppy or kitten. You should always visit any potential pet while it is still with its mother and the rest of the litter, ideally a few times.

This will not only give you an opportunity to get to know the breeder, but also to assess the developing personality traits of the young litter. For instance, a kitten that shies away from the group and is unwilling to approach you is likely to grow up to be a timid cat, which dislikes being handled. It is preferable for the breeders to have already registered your pet with either the Kennel Club or GCCF.

A reputable breeder will be able to give you advice on training, feeding, exercise and general care, as well as letting you know what vaccinations the animal has already been given and is due to have. Be sure that the breeder you choose has provided your animal with the best possible start in life, before they hand them over to you.

Related information:

Alternative health for pets – you’ll want to give the best health care possible to your pedigree cat or dog – if you’re interested in alternative health, there are important considerations to bear in mind