A pedigree dog is one that has purebred parents of the same breed. They will usually be registered with the American Kennel Club.
The range of pedigree dogs is a demonstration of the centuries of selective breeding that have tapped into every corner and quirk of the canine gene pool. A Chihuahua and an Irish wolfhound were bred from the same ancestral animals. This demonstration of diversity in a single species gives insights into how evolution works – by selecting a trait again and again, human breeders have speeded up nature’s processes, resulting in the incredible diversity of Canis familiaris.
A Bichon Frise - the result of many years selective breeding by dog owners
Advantages of Owning a Pedigree Dog
The main advantage of a pedigree dog is that you know what you’re getting and, because of the relative predictability of breeds, you get exactly what you want. In spite of differences in individual character, traits are still fairly fixed in a pedigree. You’re not going to end up with a sport dog who isn’t sporty, nor a chilled breed who turns out to be a livewire. You also know, even when he’s a puppy, exactly how big the dog is going to be, what type of coat he’ll have, and whether he’s going to be up to that ten mile daily hike across the hills.
It’s also true that you can find lots more specific guidance for pedigree breeds, for the simple reason that they’re a known quantity and enthusiasts and vets have been writing about them for years.
A right royal pair of Corgis, and no mistake!
Disadvantages Of Owning A Pedigree Dog
Before you start thinking the choice is over right now, and that it’s pedigree all the way, here are some of the disadvantages of purebred dogs:
- Money, money, money! Can you afford the $1000-plus tag on that little bundle of furry joy? It varies from breed to breed and breeder to breeder, of course; but the sky’s the limit. At the crazy end of the scale, in 2011 one Tibetan Mastiff was bought in China for 10 million yuan – about $1.5 million!
- Reduced genetic diversity. This is an inevitable result of years of selective breeding. It’s exactly what conservationists try to avoid when managing animals in the wild or in zoo populations. The consequences are hereditary diseases, often associated with the desired physical trait that the dog has been bred for. For example, Welsh Springer Spaniels are prone to glaucoma and hip dysplasia. Dalmatians are prone to Hip Dysplasia too, along with Urinary Stones and Seizures. All the “flat-faced” breeds, including the highly popular Pug, suffer breathing problems caused by restricted airways.
- Antisocial behavior. Some pedigree traits, useful when the dog was being developed centuries ago, are just a plain nuisance now. The baying of a Foxhound or the wanderlust of a Beagle, for example. And if you want your furniture reduced to firewood, a couple of Huskies will get the job done, no problem.