How To Read A Pedigree

How to Read a Dog's Pedigree

If you’re the proud owner of a pedigreed dog, it’s important to understand all of the detailed information found on its certificate. And if you’re thinking about buying a dog from a breeder, you’ll want to see its pedigree and verify the information found on it. The dog's official name, show titles, and registration number are commonly found on its pedigree. The document will also list similar information for the dog's ancestors. It is increasingly common for them to also include DNA and health identification, so make sure to check the certificate for this information, too.

Tracing a Dog’s Lineage

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    Find the dog’s registered name and birth date. The dog’s official name, as recorded by a kennel or other organization, will definitely appear on the pedigree. Usually it will appear as the first name on the left or right corner, along with the date of birth.

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    Identify the dog’s ancestors. Most of the time, the names of the dog's parents will be just to the right. A pedigree should list the names of both the dam (mother) and sire (father). Depending on the pedigree, you may also see the dog’s grandparents farther to the right, then the great-grandparents, and so on.
    • A proper pedigree should list the official names of all of the ancestors. Depending upon the pedigree report and the known ancestry, this could go back for just 3 or 4 generations, or may go back several.
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    Determine whether your dog has been inbred, line-bred, or outcrossed. Pay attention to the names of the dog and its ancestors. If you see repeated names, it is a sign that the ancestors were closely related. Breeders maintain and perfect the characteristics associated with particular breeds by carefully selecting which dogs to mate.[3]
    • Inbreeding means that very closely related dogs have mated, such as a son and mother, father and daughter, or brother and sister.
    • Linebreeding means that a dog’s sire and dam have a close ancestor in common.
    • Out crossing occurs when there are no common ancestors in 3 to 4 generations.
    • Breeders and owners often highly value inbreeding or linebreeding traced to a notable ancestor.
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    Check for DNA numbers. Since DNA testing has become easier and more widespread, it is increasingly common for numbers identifying a dog’s genetic makeup to appear on a pedigree. If these are available, they should be found next to the dog’s name.
    • Each dog whose DNA has been officially tested and registered (with a kennel, for example) will have an identifying number.
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    Study the stud book numbers. A pedigree may also list when a dog was bred, and which of the dam’s litters the dog comes from. These are known as stud book numbers. If you pay attention to the dam’s birth date, you can also determine how old she was when she had the litter.
    • For example, if the dog’s pedigree lists a stud book date of 2/2016, and the dam’s date of birth is 5/2013, you can determine that she was not quite 3 years old when she had the litter.

Interpreting Special Information

  1. Look for show records. If the dog or its ancestors were awarded in any notable competitions, these will probably be listed on the pedigree along with each dog’s name. These may simply be recorded as a series of abbreviations.[6]
    • For example, you may see the abbreviation “FCI,” signifying the Federation Cynologique Internationale World Championship.
    • If you are unfamiliar with any of the abbreviations, ask the breeder or kennel association to explain.
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    Decode any title abbreviations. Many breeds can be awarded special titles that recognize highly desirable traits. These can vary from breed to breed, and can be difficult to interpret unless you are very familiar with the breed. Just ask the breeder or kennel association to explain if you aren’t sure what the titles mean.[7]
    • The pedigree for a German Shepherd, for example, may list titles for things like tracking, herding, and obedience.
    • The titles may appear simply as abbreviations, however, like “BH,” “FH2,” and “SchH2.”
    • You can check the websites of organizations like the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club for lists of common title and show award abbreviations. You can also ask your breeder or use their website to help you identify titles or acronyms that may be common in your dog's breed.[8][9]
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    Study any health information. Thanks to DNA testing and careful breeding records, pedigrees can include information about any health issues that are a concern for a dog’s breed. This information can include whether or not a dog and its ancestors have been tested for genetic diseases that are known to be a problem for the breed.[10]
    • Health characteristics may be listed along with each dog’s name and other identifying information, or separately.

Recognizing Certifications

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    Verify that the pedigree has an official seal. Pedigrees contain quite a bit of information that can determine a dog’s value, eligibility for competitions, etc. Certification from a recognized kennel association, such as the AKC (American Kennel Club) helps prove that the pedigree is accurate and trustworthy.
    • If you plan to show or breed your dog in the future, you will need these records. Keep them on file, and make sure you get the most accurate, up-to-date reports for these purposes.
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    Double-check the registration number. If the pedigree is certified by a kennel association, it will include an official number identifying the dog. Contact the association and ask to cross-check the number. They may also be able to confirm other information found on the pedigree so that you can verify its accuracy and legitimacy.[11]

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    Don’t be alarmed by a conditional registration. Some pedigrees may be marked as “conditional” if DNA information shows there is an unknown ancestor. This does not necessarily mean that the dog cannot be considered purebred. The kennel association may also allow the conditional status to be removed after a certain number of generations.[12]
    • Conditional pedigrees may have a different seal or coloring to identify them as such.
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    Check to see if your dog's pedigree is registered. Not all breeders will pay the fees to register a dog for you. Your AKC paperwork may be accurate, but not active or filed. Ask your breeder or check the AKC website to see if your dog has been registered.

All AKC Titles Sorted Alphabetically

AbbreviationTitle NamePrefix or Suffix
ACT1Agility Course Test 1Suffix
ACT2Agility Course Test 2Suffix
AE*Air Retrieve EliteSuffix
AEA*Air Retrieve Elite AdvancedSuffix
AEX*#Air Retrieve Elite ExcellentSuffix
AFCAmateur Field ChampionPrefix
AGCHAgility Grand ChampionPrefix
AJ*Air Retrieve JuniorSuffix
AJA*Air Retrieve Junior AdvancedSuffix
AJPExcellent Agility Jumper PreferredSuffix
AJX*#Air Retrieve Junior ExcellentSuffix
AM*Air Retrieve MasterSuffix
AMA*Air Retrieve Master AdvancedSuffix
AMX*#Air Retrieve Master ExcellentSuffix
AN*Air Retrieve NoviceSuffix
ANA*Air Retrieve Novice AdvancedSuffix
ANX*#Air Retrieve Novice ExcellentSuffix
AS*Air Retrieve SeniorSuffix
ASA*Air Retrieve Senior AdvancedSuffix
ASX*#Air Retrieve Senior ExcellentSuffix
AXJExcellent Agility JumperSuffix
BDD*Brace Draft DogSuffix
BH*Basic Companion DogSuffix
BNBeginner NoviceSuffix
CACoursing AbilitySuffix
CAACoursing Ability AdvancedSuffix
CAX#Coursing Ability ExcellentSuffix
CC*Coaching CertificateSuffix
CCHBench Show ChampionPrefix
CDCompanion DogSuffix
CDXCompanion Dog ExcellentSuffix
CFCField ChampionPrefix
CGCCanine Good CitizenSuffix
CGCAAdvanced Canine Good Citizen (aka Community Canine)Suffix
CGCHBench Show Grand ChampionPrefix
CGCUCanine Good Citizen UrbanSuffix
CGFGrand Field ChampionPrefix
CGNGrand Nite ChampionPrefix
CGWGrand Water Race ChampionPrefix
CI*Carting IntermediateSuffix
CIT*Carting Intermediate TeamSuffix
CJNJunior Nite ChampionPrefix
CM#Certificate of MeritSuffix
CNCNite ChampionPrefix
CRCGRetired Supreme Grand ChampionPrefix
CS*Carting StartedSuffix
CSGBench Show Supreme Grand ChampionPrefix
CSGFSupreme Grand Field ChampionPrefix
CSGNSupreme Grand Nite ChampionPrefix
CSGWSupreme Grand Water Race ChampionPrefix
CST*Carting Started TeamSuffix
CTChampion TrackerPrefix
CWCWater Race ChampionPrefix
CWGNWorld Champion Supreme Grand Nite ChampionPrefix
CWSGWorld Show ChampionPrefix
CX*Carting ExcellentSuffix
CXT*Carting Excellent TeamSuffix
DCDual ChampionPrefix
DD*Draft DogSuffix
DE*Dock EliteSuffix
DEA*Dock Elite AdvancedSuffix
DEX*#Dock Elite ExcellentSuffix
DJ*Dock JuniorSuffix
DJA*Dock Junior AdvancedSuffix
DJX*#Dock Junior ExcellentSuffix
DM*Dock MasterSuffix
DMA*Dock Master AdvancedSuffix
DMX*#Dock Master ExcellentSuffix
DN*Dock NoviceSuffix
DNA*Dock Novice AdvancedSuffix
DNX*#Dock Novice ExcellentSuffix
DS*Dock SeniorSuffix
DSA*Dock Senior AdvancedSuffix
DSX*#Dock Senior ExcellentSuffix
EE#Endurance EarthdogSuffix
FCField Champion (Field Trial)Prefix
FCField Champion (Lure Coursing)Prefix
FCBField Champion – BracePrefix
FCGDField Champion – GundogPrefix
FCLPField Champion – Large PackPrefix
FDCFarm Dog CertifiedSuffix
FDCH*Flyball Dog ChampionSuffix
FDGCH*Flyball Dog Grand ChampionSuffix
FH1*Advanced TrackingSuffix
FH2*Superior TrackingSuffix
FM*Flyball MasterSuffix
FTC1Agility FAST Century 1Suffix
GAFCGrand Amateur Field ChampionPrefix
GCHGrand ChampionPrefix
GCHBGrand Champion BronzePrefix
GCHGGrand Champion GoldPrefix
GCHP#Grand Champion PlatinumPrefix
GCHSGrand Champion SilverPrefix
GFCGrand Field ChampionPrefix
GNGraduate NoviceSuffix
GOGraduate OpenSuffix
HCHerding ChampionPrefix
HIHerding IntermediateSuffix
HIACHerding Intermediate Course A CattleSuffix
HIACMHerding Intermediate Course A Cattle MasterSuffix
HIADHerding Intermediate Course A DucksSuffix
HIADMHerding Intermediate Course A Ducks MasterSuffix
HIASHerding Intermediate Course A SheepSuffix
HIASMHerding Intermediate Course A Sheep MasterSuffix
HIBCHerding Intermediate Course B CattleSuffix
HIBDHerding Intermediate Course B DucksSuffix
HIBDMHerding Intermediate Course B Ducks MasterSuffix
HIBSHerding Intermediate Course B SheepSuffix
HIBSMHerding Intermediate Course B Sheep MasterSuffix
HICSHerding Intermediate Course C SheepSuffix
HICSMHerding Intermediate Course C Sheep MasterSuffix
HSHerding StartedSuffix
HSACHerding Started Course A CattleSuffix
HSACMHerding Started Course A Cattle MasterSuffix
HSADHerding Started Course A DucksSuffix
HSADMHerding Started Course A Ducks MasterSuffix
HSASHerding Started Course A SheepSuffix
HSASMHerding Started Course A Sheep MasterSuffix
HSBCHerding Started Course B CattleSuffix
HSBDHerding Started Course B DucksSuffix
HSBDMHerding Started Course B Ducks MasterSuffix
HSBSHerding Started Course B SheepSuffix
HSBSMHerding Started Course B SHeep MasterSuffix
HSCSHerding Started Course C SheepSuffix
HSCSMHerding Started Course C Sheep MasterSuffix
HTHerding TestedSuffix
HXHerding ExcellentSuffix
HXACHerding Excellent Course A CattleSuffix
HXACMHerding Advanced Course A Cattle MasterSuffix
HXADHerding Excellent Course A DucksSuffix
HXADMHerding Advanced Course A Ducks MasterSuffix
HXASHerding Excellent Course A SheepSuffix
HXASMHerding Advanced Course A Sheep MasterSuffix
HXBCHerding Excellent Course B CattleSuffix
HXBDHerding Excellent Course B DucksSuffix
HXBDMHerding Advanced Course B Ducks MasterSuffix
HXBSHerding Excellent Course A SheepSuffix
HXBSMHerding Advanced Course B Sheep MasterSuffix
HXCSHerding Excellent Course C SheepSuffix
HXCSMHerding Advanced Course C Sheep MasterSuffix
IPO1*International Novice SchutzhundSuffix
IPO2*International Intermediate SchutzhundSuffix
IPO3*International Master Level SchutzhundSuffix
ITInstinct TestedSuffix
JCJunior CourserSuffix
JEJunior EarthdogSuffix
JHJunior HunterSuffix
JHAJunior Hunter AdvancedSuffix
JHRJunior Hunter RetrieverSuffix
JHUJunior Hunter UplandSuffix
JHUAJunior Hunter Upland AdvancedSuffix
LCX#Lure Courser ExcellentSuffix
MACH#Master Agility ChampionPrefix
MCMaster CourserSuffix
MEMaster EarthdogSuffix
MFBMaster Bronze FASTSuffix
MFCMaster Century FASTSuffix
MFGMaster Gold FASTSuffix
MFPAgility Master FAST Excellent PreferredSuffix
MFPBMaster Bronze FAST PreferredSuffix
MFPCMaster Century FAST PreferredSuffix
MFPGMaster Gold FAST PreferredSuffix
MFPSMaster Silver FAST PreferredSuffix
MFSMaster Silver FASTSuffix
MH#Master HunterSuffix
MHAMaster Hunter AdvancedSuffix
MHRMaster Hunter RetrieverSuffix
MHUMaster Hunter UplandSuffix
MHUAMaster Hunter Upland AdvancedSuffix
MJBMaster Bronze JumperSuffix
MJCMaster Century JumperSuffix
MJCPMaster Century Jumper PreferredSuffix
MJGMaster Gold JumperSuffix
MJPMaster Excellent Jumper PreferredSuffix
MJPBMaster Bronze Jumper PreferredSuffix
MJPGMaster Gold Jumper PreferredSuffix
MJPSMaster Silver Jumper PreferredSuffix
MJSMaster Silver JumperSuffix
MNH#Master National HunterSuffix
MTI*Mantrailer IntermediateSuffix
MTX*Mantrailer ExcellentSuffix
MXMaster Agility ExcellentSuffix
MXBMaster Bronze AgilitySuffix
MXCMaster Century AgilitySuffix
MXFAgility Master FAST ExcellentSuffix
MXGMaster Gold AgilitySuffix
MXJMaster Excellent JumperSuffix
MXPMaster Agility Excellent PreferredSuffix
MXPBMaster Bronze Agility PreferredSuffix
MXPCMaster Century Agility PreferredSuffix
MXPGMaster Gold Agility PreferredSuffix
MXPSMaster Silver Agility PreferredSuffix
MXSMaster Silver AgilitySuffix
NANovice AgilitySuffix
NACNational Agility ChampionPrefix
NAFCNational Amateur Field ChampionPrefix
NAGDCNational Amateur Gun Dog ChampionPrefix
NAJNovice Agility JumperSuffix
NAPNovice Agility PreferredSuffix
NBCNational Brace ChampionPrefix
NBDD*Novice Brace Draft DogSuffix
NDD*Novice Draft DogSuffix
NFAgility FAST NoviceSuffix
NFCNational Field Champion (Field Trial)Prefix
NFCNational Field Champion (Lure Coursing)Prefix
NFPAgility FAST Novice PreferredSuffix
NGBCNational Gun Dog Brace ChampionPrefix
NGDCNational Gun Dog ChampionPrefix
NJPNational Agility Jumper PreferredSuffix
NLPCNational Large Pack ChampionPrefix
NOCNational Obedience ChampionPrefix
NSPCNational Small Pack ChampionPrefix
NTCPCNational Beagle Two-Couple Pack ChampionPrefix
NWGDCNational Walking Gun Dog ChampionshipPrefix
OAOpen AgilitySuffix
OAJOpen Agility JumperSuffix
OAPOpen Agility PreferredSuffix
OFAgility FAST OpenSuffix
OFPAgility FAST Open PreferredSuffix
OGMObedience Grand MasterSuffix
OJPOpen Agility Jumper PreferredSuffix
OM#Obedience MasterSuffix
OTCHObedience Trial ChaimpionPrefix
PACH#Preferred Agility ChampionPrefix
PADPremier Agility DogSuffix
PADPPremier Agility Dog PreferredSuffix
PAX#Preferred Agility ExcellentSuffix
PCDPreferred Companion DogSuffix
PCDXPreferred Companion Dog ExcellentSuffix
PCJH*Parent Club Junior HunterSuffix
PCMH*Parent Club Master HunterSuffix
PCSH*Parent Club Senior HunterSuffix
PDB#Premier Agility Dog BronzeSuffix
PDBP#Premier Agility Dog Bronze PreferredSuffix
PDC#Premier Agility Dog CenturySuffix
PDCP#Premier Agility Dog Century PreferredSuffix
PDG#Premier Agility Dog GoldSuffix
PDGP#Premier Agility Dog Gold PreferredSuffix
PDS#Premier Agility Dog SilverSuffix
PDSP#Premier Agility Dog Silver PreferredSuffix
PJB#Premier Jumpers Dog BronzeSuffix
PJBP#Premier Jumpers Dog Bronze PreferredSuffix
PJC#Premier Jumpers Dog CenturySuffix
PJCP#Premier Jumpers Dog Century PreferredSuffix
PJDPremier Jumpers DogSuffix
PJDPPremier Jumpers Dog PreferredSuffix
PJG#Premier Jumpers Dog GoldSuffix
PJGP#Premier Jumpers Dog Gold PreferredSuffix
PJS#Premier Jumpers Dog SilverSuffix
PJSP#Premier Jumpers Dog Silver PreferredSuffix
PNACPreferred National Agility ChampionPrefix
POC#Preferred Obedience ChampionPrefix
PTPre-Trial TestedSuffix
PUDX#Preferred Utility Dog ExcellentSuffix
PUTDPreferred Utility DogSuffix
QA2Qualified All-Age 2Suffix
RARally AdvancedSuffix
RACHRally ChampionSuffix
RAE#Rally Advanced ExcellentSuffix
RATCH*Barn Hunt ChampionSuffix
RATCHX*#Barn Hunt Master ChampionSuffix
RATM*Master Barn HuntSuffix
RATN*Novice Barn HuntSuffix
RATO*Open Barn HuntSuffix
RATS*Senior Barn HuntSuffix
RD*Road DogSuffix
RDX*Road Dog ExcellentSuffix
RERally ExcellentSuffix
RIRally IntermediateSuffix
RM#Rally MasterSuffix
RNRally NoviceSuffix
RNCRally National ChampionSuffix
SAR-U1Search and Rescue- Urban 1Suffix
SAR-U2Search and Rescue- Urban 2Suffix
SAR-U3Search and Rescue- Urban 3Suffix
SAR-WSearch and Rescue- WildernessSuffix
SBAScent Work Buried AdvancedSuffix
SBAEScent Work Buried Advanced EliteSuffix
SBEScent Work Buried ExcellentSuffix
SBEEScent Work Buried Excellent EliteSuffix
SBMScent Work Buried MasterSuffix
SBMEScent Work Buried Master EliteSuffix
SBNScent Work Buried NoviceSuffix
SBNEScent Work Buried Novice EliteSuffix
SCSenior CourserSuffix
SCAScent Work Container AdvancedSuffix
SCAEScent Work Container Advanced EliteSuffix
SCEScent Work Container ExcellentSuffix
SCEEScent Work Container Excellent EliteSuffix
SCHH1*Novice SchutzhundSuffix
SCHH2*Intermediate SchutzhundSuffix
SCHH3*Master Level SchutzhundSuffix
SCHHA*Novice Schutzhund ASuffix
SCMScent Work Container MasterSuffix
SCMEScent Work Container Master EliteSuffix
SCNScent Work Container NoviceSuffix
SCNEScent Work Container Novice EliteSuffix
SD*Sled DogSuffix
SDO*Sled Dog OutstandingSuffix
SDX*Sled Dog ExcellentSuffix
SESenior EarthdogSuffix
SEAScent Work Exterior AdvancedSuffix
SEAEScent Work Exterior Advanced EliteSuffix
SEEScent Work Exterior ExcellentSuffix
SEEEScent Work Exterior Excellent EliteSuffix
SEMScent Work Exterior MasterSuffix
SEMEScent Work Exterior Master EliteSuffix
SENScent Work Exterior NoviceSuffix
SENEScent Work Exterior Novice EliteSuffix
SHSenior HunterSuffix
SHASenior Hunter AdvancedSuffix
SHDAScent Work Handler Discrimination AdvancedSuffix
SHDAEScent Work Handler Discrimination Advanced EliteSuffix
SHDEScent Work Handler Discrimination ExcellentSuffix
SHDEEScent Work Handler Discrimination Excellent EliteSuffix
SHDMScent Work Handler Discrimination MasterSuffix
SHDMEScent Work Handler Discrimination Master EliteSuffix
SHDNScent Work Handler Discrimination NoviceSuffix
SHDNEScent Work Handler Discrimination Novice EliteSuffix
SHRSenior Hunter RetrieverSuffix
SHUSenior Hunter UplandSuffix
SHUASenior Hunter Upland AdvancedSuffix
SIAScent Work Interior AdvancedSuffix
SIAEScent Work Interior Advanced EliteSuffix
SIEScent Work Interior ExcellentSuffix
SIEEScent Work Interior Excellent EliteSuffix
SIMScent Work Interior MasterSuffix
SIMEScent Work Interior Master EliteSuffix
SINScent Work Interior NoviceSuffix
SINEScent Work Interior Novice EliteSuffix
SWAScent Work AdvancedSuffix
SWAEScent Work Advanced EliteSuffix
SWDScent Work DetectiveSuffix
SWEScent Work ExcellentSuffix
SWEEScent Work Excellent EliteSuffix
SWMScent Work MasterSuffix
SWMEScent Work Master EliteSuffix
SWNScent Work NoviceSuffix
SWNEScent Work Novice EliteSuffix
T2B#Time 2 BeatSuffix
T2BP#Time 2 Beat PreferredSuffix
TCTriple ChampionPrefix
TDTracking DogSuffix
TDD*Team Draft DogSuffix
TDUTracking Dog UrbanSuffix
TDXTracking Dog ExcellentSuffix
THDTherapy DogSuffix
THDATherapy Dog AdvancedSuffix
THDDDistinguished Therapy DogSuffix
THDNTherapy Dog NoviceSuffix
THDXTherapy Dog ExcellentSuffix
TKATrick Dog AdvancedSuffix
TKITrick Dog IntermediateSuffix
TKNTrick Dog NoviceSuffix
TKPTrick Dog PerformerSuffix
TQXTriple Q ExcellentSuffix
TQXPTriple Q Excellent PreferredSuffix
TT*Temperament TestSuffix
UDUtility DogSuffix
UDX#Utility Dog ExcellentSuffix
VCCHVersatile Companion Dog ChampionPrefix
VCD#Versatile Companion DogSuffix
VSTVariable Surface TrackerSuffix
WC*Working CertificateSuffix
WCI*Working Certificate IntermediateSuffix
WCX*Working Certificate ExcellentSuffix
WDS1*Working Dog Sport 1Suffix
WDS2*Working Dog Sport 2Suffix
WDS3*Working Dog Sport 3Suffix
WNCWorld Nite ChampionPrefix
XFAgility FAST ExcellentSuffix
XFPAgility FAST Excellent PreferredSuffix