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Pedigree Knowledge


Pedigrees are  more than just names on paper. To top quality  breeders, pedigree analysis is much more important than DNA because a top breeder can analize genetic makeup.


Purebred dogs are much more than a cute cover so it is the “family tree” that determines what is inside the "head turning" outside. 


The kennel names on the pedigree should be familiar, and certainly some dogs should have the coveted Ch.  and ideally, some dogs should be recognized top quality producers.



Based off of AKC records, the average life span of a new breeder used to be 6-7 years but I’ll venture to say it is about 3-4 years.  So it only seems fair to take some time to learn things that can improve your lines in dogs. 


Although you see several names on a pedigree....


If a name of a certain dog is “repeated”, pay particular attention and research that dog.  If you haven’t actually observed the dog in the flesh, try to talk to someone you can trust or a mentor or even look at a video.  Pictures are better than guessing, but dishonest people try to hide a fault or 2, so a word a caution when looking only at photos.


The sire & dam or even the grandparents can represent the most dominant genes in the pedigree but not always.  We’ll get to the “doubled up on” factor shortly but for right now, you need to know the phenotype and genotype of the first 6 dogs; sire, dam, and all of their parents.


Look for genetic evidence of thoughtful line-breeding on a particular dog within the third or fourth generation of the pedigree you are contemplating .  If that dog produced consistentsy , then regard him as being in the first or second generation because his genes are more concentrated and should be more influential. 


A dominant, linebred/inbred great-grandsire repeated on the pedigree can contribute as much as one of the first 6 dogs.


Wait, before you dive into that pedigree bandwagon, you need to know there’s more to know in the above statement.  Most so-called line breedings occur as a matter of  convenience, not due to researching of the genetics involved.  An average dog repeated in the pedigree can be good or bad.  It’s up to you to search  out the concentrated dog’s quality before getting excited about a “line-bred” pedigree.


Top ranked breed winners in the first two generations only means that they were shown, but not limited to being of quality.  Those dogs might be your answer to breeding success.  Breeding finished champion dogs doesn't mean anything , except that they were finished and breeding cute dogs to each other doesn't guarantee anything either. You can breed for type, or pedigree or both. I prefer researching the pedigree and knowing the dogs in the pedigree, and then breeding for pedigree & type.


A compatible pedigree means that neither sire nor dam have the same fault either visibly (dominant) or hidden in their genes (recessive). 


Ideally, both would be dominant for the most important features of breed type and/or correctness.  Anyone can get lucky a couple times.  Before you obtain a bloodline, you need to take  your time & research.  You must have a pedigree & know how to understand it, because there’s no shortcut. 


As the clock keeps ticking, there is more people breeding to a title or the most popular dog, whether of today or from the past. Breeding to a famous dog can potentially aid in selling puppies, but doesn't help you become a quality breeder and being that "special" artist.



Ring success can be had if you have a big bank account and/or have a super handler, but at some point you will have to be totally involved, which means you need to understand pedigrees and their makeup. That doesn't mean you shouldn't show your dogs, rather you must make intelligient decisions and know the dogs behind a particular dog before investing in someone else's dog, and have an understanding why he/she has their championship.




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