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Are There Advantages To Choosing A Pedigree Dog Over A Non-pedigree?

There are a total of 210 different dog breeds that are formally recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK and so, from which individual dogs are eligible for pedigree registration. Once you’ve decided upon the right dog breed for you, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether or not you particularly want a dog with pedigree paperwork.

When it comes to the vast majority of common and popular dog breeds recognised by the Kennel Club, non-pedigree offerings of dogs of each breed are often as numerous as or even more numerous than pedigree specimens – and they tend to cost less to buy than their pedigree counterparts with paperwork too.

For some puppy buyers, only a pedigree with the paperwork to prove it will do, whilst for others, pedigree status is unimportant, or even undesirable – and if you’re seeking to buy a puppy to join your family, you might be wondering how important pedigree status is, and if it is relevant to you.

Whether or not a pedigree dog is the right choice or if you might want to look for a non-pedigree of your breed of choice is a very individual preference – but if you’re wondering if there are any advantages of choosing a pedigree, or any limitations to choosing a non-pedigree, this article is for you.

Read on to learn about the potential advantages (and limitations) or choosing a pedigree dog with paperwork over a non-pedigree of the same breed.

Breeding from your dog

One factor to consider is if you might wish to breed from your new pup yourself in the future, and what type of litter you want to produce, and so, what type of buyers they might appeal to.

Pedigree dogs with paperwork cost more to buy on average and whilst a lot of people aren’t too bothered if their dog is a pedigree or not, some will only consider choosing a pedigree – whilst few people will deliberately avoid a pedigree if all other things are equal.

Entering dog shows

If you are interested in competing in formal Kennel Club and Kennel Club affiliated dog breed shows, only registered pedigree dogs can be entered. This means that if getting a start in the world of dog showing is important to you, a pedigree will be the best choice.

However, to enter events like agility and other canine sports and of course, to take part in fun and informal dog shows, you don’t need pedigree paperwork.

A record of your dog’s ancestry

Being able to trace back your dog’s ancestry and look up their own parents and grandparents is important for some people, and pedigree records contain details on every dog’s family tree, relatives and ancestry.

This is usually much harder to come by (if not impossible) for non-pedigree dogs, for which a complete and verifiable record is rarely available.

Health tests and results

Most dog breeds have some hereditary health challenges, and health testing protocols are in place for most breeds to enable dog breeders to find out the status of their parent stock before proceeding with a mating match.

Aside from when working with breeds and conditions for which health testing is a mandatory factor of pedigree registration, however, most such tests are optional – but breeders of pedigree dogs are more likely to perform health tests than those producing non-pedigrees.

Additionally, for pedigree dogs, you can look up dogs by their formal name within the Kennel Club’s health tests results finder to help you to make a healthy choice, or pick a good stud dog – which is not possible for non-pedigrees, which are not included within the database.

The dog’s provenance

Generally, when you buy a non-pedigree dog you won’t be able to find out for sure if their ancestry as claimed by the seller is accurate, nor even if they are actually 100% comprised of parentage of the breed in question. Even though many non-pedigree dogs look like excellent and even show-quality specimens of their breed, you’re unlikely to be able to find out for sure that another breed wasn’t added to the mix somewhere.

This is not a problem for many people, but it is worth bearing in mind.

Cost and value

Registered pedigree dogs tend to cost more to buy than non-pedigrees of the same breed, but the balance to this cost saving comes from the relative unknowns – such as ancestry, health, and provenance. 

It is important to weigh up the cost saving and value of a pedigree versus a non-pedigree in terms of how it relates to you and what you consider to be important, which can only be decided by you on a case-by-case basis.

Why isn’t the dog registered?

Finally, even if you’re not at all bothered about the pedigree status of the dog you are considering, if their seller claims that they have a full pedigree ancestry and this appears to be true, it is worth trying to find out why the dog is in fact not registered.

Many hobbyist breeders and even some professionals simply aren’t interested in producing registered litters, but in some cases, pedigree registration may have been denied or the dog ineligible, which may have implications for the dog in question and their future owner.

There are a number of reasons why an otherwise eligible pup may be denied pedigree registration – such as if their dam had already reached the limit of the number of registrable litters the Kennel Club allows, if one of the parent dogs received poor health test results, or if the dog is of a colour that is considered to be harmful to the dog and wider breed, like double merle in many breeds.

Always ask questions and make an informed decision – and remember that however vigilant you are about making a wise choice, and whether you choose a pedigree dog or not, there are no guarantees for the long term when it comes to buying dogs!


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