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The Rules For Formally Naming A Pedigree Puppy For Kennel Club Registration

One of the most exciting things about getting a new puppy is deciding on what you’re going to call the pup, and sometimes the right name will become self-evident as soon as you get to know the puppy better, whilst sometimes making a decision can be quite tricky and take a long time.

However, the name that you call your puppy every day is not the only thing to think about – and if the puppy in question is a pedigree dog that is eligible for Kennel Club registration, the name that they are formally registered under for their pedigree paperwork may well be quite different!

If you buy a pedigree puppy from a breeder, the breeder will have registered the pup with the Kennel Club already, and so have registered their formal name before you even pick them and take them home.

You might wish to use this formal name (or a shortened form of it) as your pup’s everyday name, or pick something totally different – but if you are about to register a pedigree litter of your own or are the person responsible for providing the formal name of a puppy for registration purposes, there are a surprising number of rules and guidelines that you must comply with before the name you choose will be accepted.

If you’ve ever attended a formal dog show or watched events like Crufts on the TV, you have probably noticed that many show dogs have long and complicated-sounding names, often involving several words or sounding more like the sort of names we often associate with racehorses rather than dogs, but they are all unique and distinctive.

The Kennel Club dictates what types of names can be provided for a puppy’s formal registration paperwork, and also places restrictions in terms of things that are not allowed too, and you need to know about thee before you start brainstorming the pup’s formal name, or your application will be returned to you.

With this in mind, this article will tell you the considerations you need to bear in mind when naming a pedigree puppy for Kennel Club registration purposes to ensure that the name you pick is in line with Kennel Club policies and will be accepted. Read on to learn more.

The number of words and letters

Even the length of the dog’s pedigree name is mandated by the Kennel Club to a certain extent – the dog’s full name must consists of at least two words (so you could not just register a dog as called “Rex”), but must not be longer than 24 letters in total, including all of the words used within the name.

Whilst the name must have at least two separate words in it, there is no upper limit to the number of words you can pick, as long as the combined total of letters doesn’t exceed 24.

The kennel name

A kennel name is the name under which professional breeders breed their dogs; think of it as a brand name, which people who know the kennel name can then immediately use to identify what kennels or breeder produced the puppy in question.

The kennel name is often seen as an indication of quality for well-regarded kennels that have produced past show winners, but having a kennel name is not necessary to register a puppy.

However, using a kennel name is common practice when registering pedigree pups, although obviously hobbyist breeders or people seeking to produce one litter from their own dog won’t usually use one.

If you do wish to use a kennel name as part of your dog’s registration name, there are several rules that apply to this alone.

  • First of all, if the kennel name you use conflicts with that of another person’s approved kennel name, the Kennel Club will not accept it. This means that you can’t replicate someone else’s kennel name either deliberately or accidentally, and if the kennel name you pick sounds or reads as too similar to someone else’s kennel name, it might be rejected too.
  • Kennel names should be registered and approved with the Kennel Club before you can register a litter under them too, so if you wait until the pups are born to devise a kennel name, you may be leaving it too late.
  • If you do use a kennel name within your dog’s formal name, it must be the first word in the name.
  • Additionally, you cannot use your own surname as the kennel name or as part of the dog’s name, although you might be able to argue for an exception if your surname is established as the name of your breeding business and kennel name as well as being your own name too, and it meets all of the other criteria.

You can’t duplicate the name of another dog of the same breed

If there is already a dog of the same breed as yours with exactly the same name as you wish to choose for your own dog, you will have to think again! Every dog within a breed that is registered with the Kennel Club must have a unique name, so there can be no confusion about which dog it is referring to.

However, you can duplicate the name of a dog of another breed already registered without this being a problem.


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You can’t repeat words when naming puppies

You cannot use the same word more than once within the name when naming pups, so you cannot simply use the same word twice within the name, for instance, to try to make a name that is already in use unique for your own pup.

Numbers and initials are not allowed; abbreviations should be used with care

The name you give to your dog cannot incorporate numerals or initials. Abbreviations are not always allowed either and there can be some inconsistency in terms of when they may and may not be accepted, so if possible, try to steer clear of abbreviations to ensure that your name is permitted.

Certain dog-related words cannot be used in the name

There are also quite a number of specific words that cannot be used within the name too; these include the names of dog breeds, and even simple dog-related words like “dog” and “bitch.” You also can’t use terms like “champion” or “Crufts,” and this list is by no means exhaustive.

Checking the name before submission

When you think you’ve come up with a name that you’re happy with and that you are confident the Kennel Club will accept, you can use the Kennel Club’s online checker tool to see if the name is already in use by another dog, and so, whether or not it will immediately be rejected.

However, this is still not a sure-fire guarantee that the name will be accepted, and the Kennel Club may return your application and ask you to try again if something about the name you have chosen isn’t quite right!


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