ABOUT AKC PAPERS AND PEDIGREES

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ABOUT AKC REGISTRATION PAPERS AND PEDIGREES

Written by Leslie LeFave, Shih-Tzu Kisses

How much do AKC papers really mean? If a dog is AKC registered it must mean it is one of the best representatives of the breed. Right?  Wrong!! It must mean that AKC recognizes this breeder to have quality healthy puppies. Right? Wrong!! It must mean at the very least, the puppies were raised in a clean, healthy, environment, right?  Wrong!!

AKC Papers Must Mean The Dog Is Of Good Quality

This is not true. In fact, AKC registration papers only mean the parents are registered with AKC. AKC does not regulate this in any way. They do not see photos of the parents. AKC can not testify to the quality of the dog, only that its parents were AKC registered and their parents are AKC registered and so on.

HOW DOES A PUPPY BECOME AKC REGISTERED?

Picture AKC Registration as a family tree. As puppies are born they are added to the tree when breeders send in information.  AKC IS ONLY A REGISTRY. NOTHING MORE.

  • Breeders send to AKC for a litter application. They then fill out this form with who the mother and father of the puppies are, with their AKC registration numbers, date of birth, and certificate number.

  • The breeder then signs this form testifying to the fact that these two dogs were bred and the puppies are the result of that breeding.

  • The breeder then sends this paper work (litter registration) to AKC to add these puppies to their database and the breeder gets AKC papers and numbers for each puppy. No questions asked.

  • After filling out the individual puppy papers they (buyer) send this into AKC for this puppy to be registered in their name (buyers). You can now do it online.

Does AKC Papers AND A Pedigree Make A Dog a Good Representative Of The Breed? No!

To obtain a pedigree all the breeder or dog owner has to do is to send AKC money and they will access their database and print out their record of a particular dog's family tree. You can get a 3 to 5 generation pedigree depending on how much you want to pay. AKC puts an official stamp on it and you have an OFFICIAL pedigree. This is only a record of what AKC has in their database.

An AKC registered dog with a pedigree only means that the breeders of this particular "family" of dogs did their homework and sent into AKC all the information needed. It does not mean the breeders of that particular dog "family" did their homework and ensured all the dogs in this "family" were:

  • Healthy and free of genetic defects
  • Have good temperaments
  • Have good structure and conform to the standard for that breed

Don't be fooled by breeders throwing around the terms, "my dogs are AKC registered and have champion pedigrees". AKC registration papers do not attest to the quality of a dog, nor does a pedigree.

Example: When you buy a house there is a deed to the house. Would you buy the house after seeing the deed? Would you know this is a good house just by looking at the deed? Would you make the commitment to buy a house just because it has a deed, or would you want to see it and do your homework to make sure this is a good sturdy house that is not going to fall down in a few years?

AKC Registers Thousands Of Litters

Every year, thousands of puppies are registered with AKC. The majority of them are poor quality because selling puppies is a way to make money to many people. Having quality dogs requires a breeder to invest money and time in their dogs. A good breeder does genetic health testing if available for their breed, and spends hours going over pedigrees and learning all they can about their breed. To breeders who are in it for the money, AKC papers are only a means to jacking up the price of their puppies. They figure without them the puppy will fetch less money.

OK, AKC Papers Do Not Attest To Quality, But At Least They Prove A Dog Is Purebred, Right? WRONG!

Again, it only means AKC has a record of your dog's family tree. The tree that breeders say it is. AKC operates on the honor system; they just take the breeder's word for it.  It is not uncommon for a breeder to have two or more breeds. Let's say breed A accidentally hooks up with breed B. OOPS! Does the breeder just cut their losses and sell the mixed breed puppies without papers or does he do the unthinkable? You guessed it the ...."UNTHINKABLE"!!! The breeder is in it for the money. He has a male and female of dog breed A and a male and female dog of breed B. Instead of accepting they were irresponsible and made a mistake, he uses papers from his stud dog breed B and his female breed B who is pregnant and ...........he gets AKC papers and numbers for his mixed breed puppies.

If this happens once in a family tree it dilutes the line and this is why you can have one "dog" look totally different from another in the same litter. This is where buying from a reputable/responsible breeders comes in. Reputable/responsible breeders "preserve" the lines and keep them clear of "mistakes". A reputable/responsible breeder makes sure the genes in a given line stays fixed and produce the traits that each breed standard calls for.  It is the presence of these fixed genes that make a dog purebred, not AKC papers. Or any registries papers.

AKC CATCHES ON

AKC has finally come up with a program to help stop this practice. Effective for litters born on or after July 1, 2000, that have implemented a DNA testing program where all frequently used stud dogs are required to be DNA tested. Any stud dog used more than seven times in a lifetime or more than three times in a calendar year must be tested. They send a letter out stating that you have to DNA the stud or they can no longer register his puppies AKC. The breeder must purchase a DNA kit from AKC. The breeder swabs the dog's cheek and sends it back. AKC puts the DNA record in the frequently used stud dog's file.

If a consumer suspects their AKC purebred puppy might not be so purebred, can contact AKC and have a DNA test done to prove parentage. The breeder would suffer severe consequences or even be banned from AKC.

The only problem is what if the breeder uses their dog sparingly and no more than seven times or less than three times a year? Documents can be still be falsified, no one will ever know.

COMMERCIAL KENNELS AND PUPPYMILLS FOLLOW THE RULES

These kennels are a BIG money maker for AKC. Of all the breeders they stand more to gain from AKC than anyone does. They are only in the "business" of selling puppies for the money. AKC papers mean more money for the same amount of effort on their part. They even DNA as required by AKC. All they have to do is follow AKC's rules and AKC gives them the right to say their dogs are purebred. Not to mention the moral dilemma here, as these kennels seldom produce good representatives of the breed and many suffer health issues to numerous to mention.

WHY BOTHER WITH AKC PAPERS?

The presence of AKC papers does not make a dog purebred, but the absence of them indicates unknowledgeable breeders from the get go. The absence of AKC papers is a RED flag for the consumer to take heed. If a breeder claims they use another registry for their dogs..............STAY AWAY.

WHAT AKC HAS TO SAY ON THE MATTER

http://www.akc.org/reg/about.cfm

In closing I would just like to warn you, if you wish to purchase a purebred puppy do your homework on the breed you are thinking about. You would not adopt a child without investigating the child's background and learning about any health issues he or she may have. You would not commit to loving and raising that child without being certain you were making the right choice for you and your family. Why would bringing home a new baby be any different? You are committing to a life. When you purchase a puppy you are making a promise to that puppy that you will love it and take care of it FOREVER. Don't be another statistic.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK.