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Five Common Misconceptions People Have About Pedigree Dogs

When it comes to dogs and pedigree status, the views of the average dog lover can fall anywhere along quite a broad spectrum. At one end, there are those that would never consider choosing a dog that wasn’t a full pedigree with paperwork and even in some cases, that had a very distinguished pedigree at that.

In the middle are dog lovers that aren’t really bothered either way, and the scale goes on, moving right through to people who think the very idea of pedigree dogs is harmful, and that would actively go out of their way to avoid choosing a pedigree over a cross breed or mongrel.

When it comes to the average puppy buyer who doesn’t have any strong views either way or that is trying to determine if there are specific advantages or disadvantages to picking a pedigree dog over a cross breed, there is often a lot of confusion. 

Many first-time dog buyers and even experienced owners don’t fully understand what is meant by pedigree, and there are a lot of misconceptions about pedigree dog status and what it means to be, or own, a pedigree dog.

With this in mind, this article will outline five common misconceptions – both positive and negative – that many people have about pedigree dogs, and share the facts behind them. Read on to learn more.

Claim: Picking a pedigree dog guarantees the dog’s quality

The facts: Many puppy buyers choose a pedigree less because they care about the dog’s paperwork and formal registered status, but instead because picking a pedigree means that they know within reason what they can expect from the dog they buy.

Each pedigree dog breed has a breed standard that dictates what the dog in question should look like in fine detail, and their core temperament traits and requirements too.

However, this breed standard is a benchmark that dogs can be measured against, and not a rulebook. The quality of individual pedigree dogs can be highly variable as a result of this.

A dog might be a very poor example of their breed and still be a pedigree, and so pedigree status is no guarantee of quality. There are also plenty of dogs in the UK without pedigree status that look just like the breed they originate from, and that might be a better example of it than many pedigrees of said breed!

Claim: Pedigree dogs don’t live as long as mixed breeds

The facts: The average lifespan of any given dog can vary hugely, and even comparing two sibling dogs there is a good chance one will live notably longer than the other. Across each pedigree dog breed there is a broad norm for the average lifespan range of dogs of the breed, and this in turn can vary massively. Some pedigree breeds have average lifespans of just eight years or so, and others commonly live to over 14.

Cross breed and mixed breed dogs benefit from hybrid vigour, and so statistically are more likely to be robust, free of hereditary health issues, and long lived than most pedigrees.

Across the board, mixed breeds as a whole tend to have an average lifespan of more than the across-the-board average for pedigree breeds as a whole; but some pedigree breeds are notably long lived, and the potential for variance on an individual dog by dog basis means that ultimately, the lifespan of any given dog, pedigree or otherwise, is something of a lottery.


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Claim: A dog can be a pedigree even if it’s not registered with the Kennel Club

The facts: People often mistakenly use the terms purebred and pedigree interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. The term “pedigree” itself means something slightly different in every country and even breed type. 

For instance, in the UK, the Kennel Club is our umbrella body for pedigree dogs. Ergo, when we say “pedigree” here, we mean “registered with the Kennel Club.” In other countries, the use of the term pedigree will refer to their own umbrella registry.

To further compound matters, there are other less well known and highly regarded breed registries that will register UK dogs – often those of types that are not even recognised as breeds by the UK Kennel Club at all – and confer on those dogs pedigree status within their own registry.

Anyone can theoretically set up a “breed registry,” invite dog owners to submit details, and confer their own pedigree status on member dogs – as “pedigree” is not a protected title, ie., one that can only legally be used in a certain way.

In certain dog types that aren’t recognised by the Kennel Club but that are recognised by other breed registries, these may be advertised or described as pedigree – so double-check on the registry the seller claims pedigree status for before you purchase!

A dog in the UK is not a pedigree if it is not registered with the Kennel Club. It might still, however, be purebred.

Claim: Pedigree dogs have to undergo health testing before they can be used for breeding

The facts: Pre-breeding health screening schemes are in place for many pedigree dog breeds in the UK, in order to enable breeders to make informed choices about sensible mating matches to produce healthy litters.

Many of these are overseen by the Kennel Club, and specific tests are associated with specific breeds.

However, there are very few breeds within which mandatory health testing for specific conditions is required of breeders in order for their dogs to be registered with the Kennel Club. Most health schemes recommended for each breed are strongly encouraged for breeders, and some are mandatory for Assured Breeders but not breeders in general

There are very few breeds and associated conditions for which parent pedigree dogs must be health tested in order for their litters to be eligible for registration and so, used for the breeding of pedigree puppies.

Claim: Pedigree dogs are more valuable and expensive than non-pedigrees 

The facts: The average asking price for any given dog of a certain breed can vary wildly, based on a wide range of factors, not least the quality of each individual dog.

Each breed does of course have an approximate average asking price per dog that might fluctuate over time, and like for like, some pedigree dog breeds are much more economical to buy from than others. As an example, the Jack Russell has an average asking price of £460 for pedigree dogs, whilst the English bulldog has an average asking price of £1,690 for pedigrees.

However, what determines a dog’s value is often intangible; for most of us, our dogs are worth more than anything else we own! 

In cold, hard financial terms though, there are hybrid dog types that actually cost more on average than the average pedigree of most breeds – like the Cavapoo – and dog sale prices for both hybrids and pedigrees are so variable that there is simply no rule of thumb in terms of average purchase cost.


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