Why might a puppy with the right pedigree be refused Kennel Club registration?
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Why might a puppy with the right pedigree be refused Kennel Club registration?

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In order to be formally recognised as a pedigree dog, receive the appropriate paperwork and be eligible to enter dog shows, or further down the line, to ensure that any offspring the dog has in their turn will be recognised as a pedigree too, a puppy must be registered with the Kennel Club.

If you buy a pedigree puppy advertised for sale, the breeder will have already done this before being able to sell the pup as a pedigree – but if you are a first-time breeder arranging pedigree registration or if you own an eligible pup that needs to be registered, you might be surprised to learn that registration doesn’t happen automatically when you tell the Kennel Club about the pup.

As well as having to apply to have your pup registered as a pedigree, the puppy also has to fulfil a range of criteria to be eligible for inclusion within the pedigree dog database, and should they fail to meet any of these criteria, they won’t be afforded pedigree status.

It is important to check any restrictions on registration before you breed from your dog to ensure that the pups can be registered, because if you’ve already produced a litter or bought a pup and find out later that they can’t be registered, there isn’t usually anything you can do about it.

In this article we will outline the reasons why a pup with the right pedigree background might be refused Kennel Club registration, and the registration criteria that needs to be met. Read on to learn more.

The parents of the puppy

The first criteria a pup must meet for pedigree registration is having been bred from two parent dogs that are themselves Kennel Club registered pedigrees, with up-to-date ownership details of both parent dogs as well as the date of mating and the dam’s date of birth provided.

The dam’s past breeding history

The Kennel Club will only register a maximum of four litters from any given dam within her lifetime. This is to protect the health and welfare of the dogs, and ensure that a bitch is not bred so often that it harms her health.

This means a pup produced from a fifth or subsequent litter borne of any one dam that has already had four pedigree litters cannot be registered.

The age of the dam

The Kennel Club won’t accept puppy registrations of litters bred from a dam that was either under the age of one at the time that they were mated, or over the age of eight at the time that they delivered the litter.

In exceptional circumstances the rule on the upper age limit of the dam may be suspended, but the criteria to allow an exception is strict, and the process needs to begin prior to the dam being mated.

Genetic diversity is vital to the health and wellness of all dog breeds, but there is also a place for selective breeding to reinforce desirable traits present within each breed. This means that dogs that share genetic ancestry and that are related in certain ways (such as cousins) can still be registered; but other forms of close familial mating matches are not.

The Kennel Club won’t permit the registration of a litter produced from parent stock that were also either sister and brother, mother and son, or father and daughter. Once more there is the possibility of exceptions to be made for welfare reasons or scientific advancement, such as might occur if a breed’s total population levels are so low as to pose a risk of the breed dying out entirely.

However again, such exceptions are rare.

Caesarean deliveries

Caesarean delivery places additional strain on the dam’s body, which is exacerbated by subsequent caesarean deliveries.

If a dam has already delivered two registered litters by caesarean section, no subsequent litters can be registered. Once again, if an application for an exemption is made and approved prior to mating this may be permitted in some cases, but again, this is unusual.

Where the litter was born

To be eligible for Kennel Club puppy registration, the litter has to have been born in the UK. If the dam of the litter was not resident in the UK at a fixed UK address when she had her pups, those pups won’t be eligible for registration.

Breeding endorsements

Individual dogs can have endorsements placed on their Kennel Club record, and one of these is “progeny not eligible for registration.” If this endorsement is in place on either the litter’s dam or sire’s owner certificate and Kennel Club record, their offspring cannot be registered as pedigrees.

There are a number of reasons why a dam or sire might have an endorsement of this type placed on their record, but one of the most common reasons is if a breeder mandates that their pups are sold as pets only, and are not to be used as breeding stock later on.

A breeder might place an endorsement like this if they feel that a pup is of pet quality rather than show quality, or their traits are not ones that the breeder wishes to associate with their breed lines.

Breed-specific registration barriers

All of the above limitations are applied to every dog breed that is eligible for Kennel Club registration assuming that they meet the appropriate criteria.

However, within some dog breeds there are also breed-specific registration barriers too, which mean that some individual puppies or litters of said breeds might be ineligible for registration.

Generally, restrictions of this type are made when certain hereditary traits or issues can be harmful to the breed as a whole, so that such traits do not become widely spread within the breed’s gene pool.

Such restrictions might mean that a pup of a certain colour (such as merle within some breeds) cannot be registered, as the presence of the merle colouration in some (but not all) breeds also comes accompanied by an increased risk of health problems.

For this reason, it is really important to check any breed-specific registration barriers before breeding a litter.

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