What is a pedigree dog?

Papillon sat in a field of daffodils

A pedigree dog is one that has parents which are both of the same breed. These parents must be registered with The Kennel Club or with another club or society recognised by us.

Purebred dogs make up around 75% of the 9-million-strong dog population in the UK, and within that there are 221 breeds to choose from. 

Each breed sits within one of seven groups: 

  • Working (typically those bred to be search and rescue or guard dogs)
  • Pastoral (herding dogs, usually associated with working cattle and sheep)
  • Gundog (dogs that were originally trained to find and/or retrieve game)
  • Toy (small companion or lap dogs)
  • Hound (breeds historically used for hunting, either by scent or sight)
  • Terrier (dogs originally bred and used for hunting vermin)
  • Utility (miscellaneous breeds, mainly of a non-sporting origin)

Before looking for puppies or rescue dogs, search our Breeds A to Z to learn more about each breed.

For every breed of pedigree dog, there is a breed standard. This is a picture in words that describes the breed in detail, including what a healthy dog of that breed should look like, how it should move and what their character, needs and behaviour are likely to be.

Almost all breeds of dogs were developed over time to help humans in their work and daily life. Although most dogs are now companions and do not need to work, you should learn about what job your intended breed was developed to do. This will help you understand the innate behaviour for that breed and whether you are able to give your dog a happy, healthy life that is appropriate for that breed.

The benefits of owning a dog registered by The Kennel Club

  • Your dog will display the characteristics of the breed, in both looks and temperament
  • You will be able to breed from your dog and register the puppies with The Kennel Club
  • Your dog will be able to take part in shows and activities licensed by The Kennel Club
  • You can obtain a pedigree certificate for your dog - a unique record detailing your dog's family tree
  • You can see the results from health tests or screening schemes (if submitted to us) for every pedigree dog we register

Are there health risks?

Although many dogs will lead very healthy lives, all dogs have potential health problems. There are often DNA tests or screening schemes to help breeders avoid producing puppies with health conditions. Puppy buyers should research any tests and screening schemes that are relevant to the breed they are considering. Find out more in our Breeds A to Z.

Results from health tests or screening schemes of every pedigree dog registered with us can be found on our Health Test Results Finder. Armed with the knowledge about the parents' health will help maximise your chances of getting a healthy puppy.

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