What’s the Importance of a Pedigree

Welcoming a new dog into your home can be an exhilarating and overwhelming experience. Rest assured, there are a few things that can be used to help gain information on a dog you may be interested in. One of the primary tools that can be used to learn about a dog is its pedigree. Even if you’re not looking to show or compete with your dog, selecting a dog with a solid pedigree helps you keep track of their lineage and important information. Purchasing a dog with a well-established pedigree gives you the means to learn about a dog’s breeding, lineage, parents, grandparents, working titles, and overall health.

Looking over a pedigree for the first time may seem confusing, but it is basically just a direct listing of the dog’s parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. Titles of each dog on the pedigree are also included, so you will be able to see achievements from the whole lineage. For the German Shepherd breed, titles such as IGP, KKL, V, and VA are listed on the pedigree for each dog where it is appropriate. Even if the pedigree’s main dog does not have any of these titles, the pedigree can still provide valuable information from the lineage group. The parents, grandparents, and great grandparents’ titles can lead us to form an educated guess about the potential of the main dog. While it does not guarantee that the main dog will have these traits, it gives a great understanding of the combined lines used to produce the main dog.

Another benefit of looking over a pedigree is to learn the names of all the dogs in the lineage. In knowing what dogs were involved in the breeding, we can further examine each individual’s health characteristics down the line. Important things to note are the hip and elbow ratings, coat lengths, and coat color. You can also see if a particular trait shows up commonly throughout the line to understand better how the main dog may turn out. There is no guarantee that a pedigree can predict a dog’s future; however, it will provide you with unparalleled information that can aid you in better understanding your dog’s development process.

Once you understand the basics behind the main dog’s pedigree, you can take it one step further by digging into each dog’s pedigrees in the lineage. This can occasionally take some time, depending on how far you want to go back into the lineage. Some well-documented lines can go back 40+ years! It is really fascinating to understand a dog’s history, especially if it is one you are considering bringing into your family! It is important to make sure you choose the right dog for you, your family, and your lifestyle. Reading a pedigree and understanding the history and lineage of a dog you may be interested in is a great first step.

If you would like to learn more, we’ve created a helpful guide that covers how to read a pedigree.

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