Reading a Pedigree Reading a Pedigree
Reading a Pedigree

The pedigree of a carefully bred, quality dog may be distinguished from the pedigree of a dog which may have just been bred by someone whose sole goal was to produce puppies for sale.  To help you see the difference here are a few basic facts.

A well bred dog usually will include many titled dogs in its pedigree, especially in the first few generations.  Often back yard breeders will use terms like "from champion lines", but when you look at the pedigree of the litter it may only contain one or two champions back in the forth or fifth generation.  What this usually means is that there may have been carefully bred dogs in the past, but the most recent generations were probably bred without any determination that the dogs were, in fact, breeding quality.

What does it mean to have "papers".  All that means is that the dogs are most likely pure bred, in other words, all the dogs in the pedigree are the same breed.  However, unscrupulous breeders and puppy mills are known to falsify breeding records and the "papers" on a particular litter of puppies may, in fact, not truly represent who they are.  In addition,  "papers" mean NOTHING about the quality of those dogs.  It does not mean that they really look like the written standard of the breed.  It does not mean that they are healthy specimens.  It does not mean that they are sound of body and mind.  There are also registries whose "papers" mean even less.   For example the CKC (Continental Kennel Club), will issue registration papers to almost any dog without any real proof that they are in fact a pure bred dog.  In other words, some "papers" may only be good enough to use to line the bottom of your bird cage

If you just want a nice pet, why should you care if there are champions in the pedigree?  Because this tells you that the parents and grandparents have been shown to ascertain that they are, in fact, better than just average,  They have been judged by several judges over a period of time and determined to be worthy of earning championship points over others of their breed.  You may have no desire to ever show your dog, but you should want one whose breeder cared enough to spend the time and money to prove their quality.

When you don't see titled dogs in the recent pedigree, it  probably also means that none of those breeders bothered to do any of the recommended health testing for their breed.  They most likely were just breeding their own dogs or breeding to the closest available stud to produce puppies with as little expense or work as possible.  Reputable breeders will spend hundred of dollars on health tests to try to assure the dogs they are using to produce your future puppy are free of the common health concerns for that breed.  Reputable breeders often travel great distances to use the best male for their bitch, not just the most convenient one.  Reputable breeders may incur large expenses using frozen semen breeding to bring bloodlines in from other countries or bring great dogs from the past forward into a current pedigree.  Don't you want as much assurance as possible that you are getting a healthy puppy who is less likely to have inherited problems that may show up later in his/her life?

Not all dogs of the same breed are the same quality and yet back-yard breeders or commercial puppy producers often charge the same (or even more) than reputable, experienced breeders do.  You owe it to yourself to do your homework and make sure you end up with the right dog from the right breeder ad not just the first dog you find right now on the internet.

You should expect to be asked lots of questions by a good breeder.  You should also be prepared to ask them questions.  These back and forth questions and answers should be about much more that cost.  It will probably take months or even a year or two to acquire your first Irish Wolfhound from an experienced, reputable breeder.  Understand that they probably have a long waiting list before the puppies are even born.  They are not just praying that you will come along and offer to buy one.  If you are will experience a life changing experience when you add an Irish Wolfhound to your family.  

You are invited to access the pedigrees of our dogs 
by using the International Irish Wolfhound Database 

Reading a Pedigree