Direct Line magazine

What is a pedigree dog?

Updated on: 21 August 2020

A pedigree bulldog on the grass.

If two dogs of the same breed have a puppy, that little pup is considered to be purebred. In order to be classed as a pedigree, the puppy must also be added to a pedigree dog registration scheme run by a recognised club or society.

Which clubs and societies register pedigree dogs?

  • The Kennel Club
  • Pedigree Pets Registration
  • The Pedigree Club
  • The Dog Lovers Registration Club

To register a dog, you'll need to have details of the pup's dam and sire (mum and dad) and their owners. You'll also usually have to provide the names of the puppy's grandparents and great-grandparents. Any responsible breeder of pedigree dogs should be able to provide this information.

The Kennel Club

The Kennel Club's registration scheme records a puppy's birth. They have a register for pedigree dogs and a register for crossbreeds. Every year they register over 250,000 pedigree dogs.

What are the rules?

The Kennel Club has its own Code of Ethics. For example, all breeders must "properly house, feed, water and exercise all dogs under their care and arrange for appropriate veterinary attention if and when required." If a club is set up for a specific breed, then its members must obey this code. The club can add their own breed-specific clauses too.

Dog owners who register their pets with the Kennel Club can get lots of information about health and training. They can also take part in Kennel Club shows and events, such as Crufts.

Crufts is the Kennel Club's world-renowned dog show, with activities like show classes and competitions, including agility and obedience tests, and the famous Best In Show prize. It's just for pedigree dogs, but they also run a similar event for crossbreeds called Scruffts.

Pedigree Pets Registration

You can register adult dogs, individual puppies or litters through Pedigree Pets Registration. They're also able to keep records of all of a breeder's litters.

The Pedigree Club

The Pedigree Club offers information about welfare, local vets, and dog walking services. It’s free to register adult dogs and puppies, and the club will give you a pedigree certificate for your furry friend.

The Dog Lovers Registration Club

You can register individual pedigree puppies, litters, and adult dogs with the Dog Lovers Registration Club. They’ll give you all the paperwork and registration documents you need to prove your pup’s pedigree.

Note: This club doesn’t register dogs for shows except exemption/companion or fun shows.

Pedigree dog breeds

There are many different dog breeds, each with their own set of characteristics. Most people choose a pedigree breed, which account for eight out of the top 10 dog breeds in the UK.

The top 10 most popular dog breeds in the UK for 2019 are:

  1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier. A boisterous but obedient dog that loves bonding with its owners.
  2. Cockapoo. (a crossbreed - one parent is a Cocker Spaniel and the other is a Poodle)
  3. Labrador Retriever. An intelligent, sociable dog that's good with everyone, including children.
  4. English Springer Spaniel. An active, playful dog that loves joining in with games and going for a swim.
  5. Cocker Spaniel. A happy dog that loves to be a companion for its owners.
  6. Boxer. An energetic dog that has a calm temperament under its playfulness, and is loyal to its owners.
  7. Border Collie. An intelligent dog that loves to be active, and may try herding smaller pets and children in the house.
  8. German Shepherd. A loyal, trustworthy dog that thrives when exercised regularly.
  9. Golden Retriever. An affectionate dog that loves to be social and active.
  10. Mixed breeds.

Source: ITV's Britain's Favourite Dogs

Pedigree dog names

Pedigree dogs often have their given name (chosen by the owners and used day-to-day) and their registered names (chosen by the breeder).

Registered pedigree dog names can be unusual. They normally start with a Kennel Name, which is a word associated with the breeder and their dogs.

A Kennel Name must be:

  • One word
  • At least four characters
  • No longer than 12 characters
  • The entire name must be no longer than 24 characters.

Numbers, initials and abbreviations aren't allowed. Names must be submitted to the Kennel Club, who reject around 20% of applications for dog names due to the strict rules.

Examples of pedigree dog names:

  • Koolwaters Calamity Jane
  • Plumhollow Top Hat
  • Bannonbrig Mr Brightside

Koolwaters, Plumhollow, and Bannonbrig are the Kennel Names in these examples. Litters of puppies are often given themed names - these dogs have been named after a musical, item of clothing and song, respectively.

Types of pedigree dog

Every dog is an individual. Their personalities are what make them such endearing companions. But their breed has a strong influence over their character and preferences. It's worth researching the different types of dog to get an idea of which one would suit you and your family best.

Type of dog Characteristics
Gun dog Sociable, very obedient (they were originally trained for hunting) Examples of gun dogs: Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever
Hound Strong sense of smell, very fast, good endurance (originally trained to track and chase prey) Examples of hounds: Beagle, Dachshund, Greyhound, Whippet
Pastoral Active, obedient, strong herding instinct (originally trained to work with farm animals) Examples of pastoral dogs: Border Collies, Corgis, Sheepdogs
Terrier Lively, active, fearless (originally trained to control vermin) Examples of terriers: Jack Russell, West Highland White
Toy dog Small, loyal, good guard dogs (originally bred as lap dogs) Examples of toy dogs: Bichon Frise, Pug, Yorkshire Terrier
Utility dog Active, love being around people (originally trained for specific jobs, such as running in front of carriages to clear a path) Examples of utility dogs: Dalmatian, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Poodle, Schnauzer
Working dog Like having their own space, very intelligent, powerful, must get plenty of exercise or be put to work (originally used on farms, as guard dogs, and even in wars) Examples of gun dogs: Boxer, Great Dane, Rottweiler

Choosing a good breeder

Once you've decided on a breed, it's time to look for a breeder. It's a good idea to ask around to see if anyone has recommendations. You can also look at breeder registration lists, such as the Kennel Club's Assured Breeder Scheme. Only responsible breeders are accepted.

A responsible breeder will... An irresponsible breeder will...
Spend time talking to you on the phone before arranging a visit Arrange to meet you immediately
Let you visit the litter in the place they were born and raised Arrange to show you the puppy in a random place, like a car park
Let you meet the puppy's mum and siblings Make excuses so you don't get to meet the puppy's mum and siblings
Answer all your questions clearly and confidently Fob off your questions if they don't have a satisfactory answer
Ask you questions to make sure the puppy is going to a good home Pressure you into paying for the puppy there and then
Microchip the puppy, show you valid certificates for their vaccinations, and make sure all health precautions have been taken Brush off any noticeable health issues (such as leaking eyes or snoring) and be unable to show you valid certificates
Be happy to use The Puppy Contract (a legally binding contract between you and the breeder) Refuse to use The Puppy Contract, or say they don’t see the point in it

Always keep these things in mind when you're trying to find a breeder. And don't be tempted to rescue a puppy from an irresponsible breeder. As much as you want to give the dog a good home, by paying the breeder you're helping their business continue.

Once you've decided on a breeder, you should register your interest as soon as possible. Some of them have a long waiting list.

What to look for in a pedigree puppy

Clear, bright eyes

They should look healthy, without any dirt, redness or leaking.

Clean ears

There shouldn't be any wax or ear mites. You shouldn't be able to smell anything.

Cold, wet nose

The nostrils should be open. There shouldn't be any leaking.

Clean mouth

Teeth should be white and gums should be pink.

Effortless breathing

It should be quiet. They shouldn't cough, grunt or wheeze.

Clean, dry skin

There should be no inflammation, soreness or infection.

Soft, shiny fur

Fur should look healthy, with no sign of fleas.

No sign of any ribs

No bones along the rib cage should be visible.

Strong legs

They shouldn't find it hard to walk.

Clean bottom

The area under their tail should be dry.

A friendly nature

A healthy puppy is bright and active. Puppies that are afraid may experience behavioural issues when they're older.

The Puppy Contract

It's very exciting when you've chosen a puppy. But there's one last thing you need to consider before you take them home: The Puppy Contract.

The Puppy Contract is a legally binding contract of sale between you and the breeder. It provides you with information about the breeder, the puppy and its parents, helping you identify any warning flags before committing to buy the puppy.

What is a crossbreed dog?

A crossbreed is a dog whose parents were different breeds. For example, a Cockapoo is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. If two Cockapoos were bred, their puppies wouldn't be considered to be purebred or pedigree. This is because the puppies still have changeable characteristics, some are more Spaniel-like and others are more Poodle-like.

If a crossbreed has been around for long enough, it might be recognised as a new breed of dog.

What is a mongrel dog?

A mongrel dog is a mix of three or more breeds. They're sometimes known as a mutt or a mixed breed. They normally have fewer genetic health problems than pedigrees/purebred dogs.

If you're not sure which breeds your dog is crossed with, then it's considered to be a mongrel. It's worth checking with your vet to see whether your dog has one dominant breed.

At Direct Line, we ask you to state whether your crossbreed or mongrel dog is:

  • Small (less than 10kg, Terrier size)
  • Medium (10kg - 20kg, Border Collie size)
  • Large (more than 20kg, Labrador size)

Direct Line pet cover allows you to take out insurance for pedigree dogs, crossbreeds and mongrels. Get a Direct Line dog insurance quote today and you'll be able to customise the level of cover for your dog. You'll also get 24-hour access to UK practising vets with PawSquad.

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