What Should I Know Before Getting A Pedigree Dog?
Wed, April 21, 2021

What Should I Know Before Getting A Pedigree Dog?


If your dog’s parents are the same breed of dog, it is a pure breed rather than a pedigree, said PDSA, the UK’s leading vet charity. Your dog is a pedigree if its parents have the same breed and eligible for registration under a pedigree scheme. If your canine’s parents are of different breeds, it will be a crossbreed.

Meanwhile, a mix of three or more breed will make your pet a mixed breed, meaning it is less likely to be afflicted with breed-related health issues than pedigree dogs. Although dogs come in different shapes and breeds, it is highly recommended to think carefully about getting a pedigree dog, as they are susceptible to a number of health issues.  

Attitudes Towards Pedigree Dogs and Disorders Among Companion Animal Veterinarians In New Zealand (2014)

T. Farrow, Ashley James Keown, and Mark James Farnworth of journal portal Research Gate said only 227 (35.1%) out of 647 CAS (Companion Animal Society) members of the NZVA (New Zealand Veterinary Association) responded to the survey. 54.4% believed that pedigree dogs were more likely to be presented at the clinic than non-pedigree canines. Only 12.4% were unsure, with the respondents’ answers being independent of their practice type or location.

89.8% believed that inherited disorders in dogs were a significant issue. Further, screening tests were routinely offered by 60.3% of participants who felt that inherited disorders were a significant issue (versus 38% of those who did not offer screening tests). Of 207 respondents, 48.3% (100) had advised clients against buying a pedigree dog due to common inherited disorders.

Regarding continued breeding, 85.6% (183/207) said they considered the health and welfare of some breeds to be too compromised to continue breeding. However, this was not associated with their belief that inherited disorders were a significant issue. Of those who felt that inherited disorders were a significant issue, 76.1% (137/180) said they had prematurely euthanized a pedigree dog due to genetic illness unlike 52% (11/21) of those who did not think that inherited genetic disorders were a significant issue.

During the respondents’ time in practice, 66.3% (132/199) said they saw no change, 13.6% felt there had been a decrease, and 20.1% felt there had been an increase in the prevalence of inherited conditions. 50.5% (103/204) saw a positive change, 4.4% (9/204) a negative change, and 45.1% (92/204) no change in attitudes towards inherited disorders among pedigree dog owners.

Among 31.9% of participants (65/204) had been asked to euthanize a pedigree puppy because it did not meet breed standards and unethical breeding had been reported to the authorities by 2% (4/204) of respondents. Of 207 participants, 39.1% (81) thought that legislative support would help decrease inherited disorders in pedigree dogs while 43% (89/207) were unsure.



Health Issues Associated With the Physical Appearances of Pedigree Dogs

Humans have bred dogs to look or behave in a certain way. Since the canines have been bred for thousands of years, some of them have exaggerated features like wrinkly skin on Shar Peis and a flat face on Pugs. Sadly, their physical appearances make them vulnerable to health complications.

Dogs that have long backs such as Dachshunds are likely to suffer from painful disc problems, affecting their spine. Corgis and dogs that have short legs are caused by a form of dwarfism, meaning they are more likely to develop arthritis. Small dog breeds such as Chihuahuas can have fragile bones and poor dental health. They can also suffer from hip and knee problems. Breeds that have droopy eyelids like bloodhounds can worsen eye infections and produce too many tears, causing soreness around their eyes. Dogs that lack fur like the Chinese Crested can struggle with controlling their body temperature. They also often have skin problems.

Dogs that have too much fur can struggle with regulating their body temperature.  They can also suffer from dermal issues. One example is the Hungarian Puli. The above-mentioned health complications can be extremely painful and life-threatening. Treatment might involve surgery, which can put a strain on your dog as well as your finances.  Yes, managing these conditions can be costly, especially to owners who are not expecting to have their dog treated.



Inbreeding and Inherited Diseases Are Something You Should Care About

Inbreeding is defined as mating animals that have one or more common relatives, said RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the largest animal welfare charity in the UK. One example of inbreeding is when you mate a grandfather dog to his own granddaughter. This practice heightens your dog’s chance of having inherited diseases like blindness, blood disorders, and metabolic problems.

Other known negative impacts of inbreeding are decreased immune system, decreased viability, decreased reproductive ability, and the loss of genetic diversity. Overall, these effects constitute as inbreeding depression. Your puppies’ health and welfare become more compromised as the level of inbreeding increases.



However, Not Every Breeder Practices Inbreeding

If you really want to own a pedigree dog, you have to learn about the inherited disorders it is more predisposed to. Don’t worry, not all pedigree breeders breed specific dog breeds with exaggerated features and inherited disorders. Most of all, not every breeder practices inbreeding.

If you are getting a pedigree from a breeder, consider asking them about the actions they take to prevent inherited disorders and avoid exaggerated features in their dogs. Be sure to purchase one from a reputable breeder who abides by their local area’s legislation and standards of care. You can also ask the breeder if they have conducted health checks on your dog’s parents. The test will show if the parents have any health issues that might pass on to their offspring.

Observe the parents and the dog for signs of health complications. Are they breathing normally? Do they show signs of breathing problems like heavy panting or snoring? Do they have skin diseases like rashes, sores, or skin folds?  Make sure that the dog you are going to purchase and its parents are not overweight or have a nervous temperament. There are other signs you need to watch out for like droopy eyelids or not being responsive to you. In such cases, it is recommended to consult your veterinarian.

Pedigrees are pre-disposed to health conditions, which can be painful for your dog and costly for you. Have your pet’s emergency fund for unforeseen treatment or procedures. Do your research and ask owners about their experience in raising a pedigree. That way, you’ll know what to expect.