Purebred, Pedigreed, Mutt, Mongrel, What is Your Dog? (click to enlarge photo )


Molly looking for squirrels   (foundling)

“Muddy” chocolate labrador retriever ( foundling)

Purebred and pedigree are two words that are often mistaken as meaning the same. I will attempt to simplify the words but the meanings can actually be confusing, if paying attention to detail is over looked.

Purebred is a dog that has been created to breed true of a certain type, with all offspring that have continued to look the same for many generations. For example the dogs with the same physical attributes are mated with repeated matings and sometimes within a small gene pool which means lots of inbreeding. So a dog as a breed may be recognized by the AKC but the progeny of the original breeding just might not have “papers” proving that he/she is of pedigreed stock. I want to make it clear that a dog does not need to have a pedigree with papers in order to be a good dog or a good specimen. For example quite a number of dogs are bred purely as working dogs and some of these breeders keep records but they are recorded in other registries rather than the AKC.  And, some breeders of working dogs simply do not enter their dogs in any kind of registry.

There will always be individuals  attempting to create a new breed. With each successive generation the breeders are hoping and applying for AKC regconition with years and years going by before the breed is finally deemed acceptable by AKC standards. Getting a little deeper here: it is up to the breeders of what ever dog they have created, to set a standard for the breed. This includes color or colors, and every physical feature of the dog which includes height, weight, ears, tails, etc. etc. A breed standard is complicated and one must study the breed closely in order to really know a breed.  

A pedigree dog means one that has a record- an ancestry record that is.  In other words if you buy a purebred dog from a breeder of good reputation then most likely you can get a dog that has “papers” as in American Kennel Club registration papers. This organization keeps records of all puppies with papers that are sent in by the breeder and the owner also sends in the final papers with a ridiculous sounding name such as “Othello the Great of Isle Dogdoright.” Well that is just a tiny stretch of the imagination. But I’m sure there are some of y0u that have a dog/dogs with a funny sounding name with AKC registration papers.  A (pedigree) therefore really means a (purebred) dog that has a long history of all of its descendants- mother, father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc. etc. and on down the line.

Some of my dogs are mutts and over half just happen to be purebred. I did not go looking for any of my dogs-they either arrived on our property or I found them in a hospital parking lot, apartment complex near my home, or starving on the street, Two of them were saved from the needle of death – one from the Ft Worth city animal shelter and one from the shelter in the town where I live. None of my dogs have a pedigree paper and yet they are all very smart and mostly free of any inherited disease with the exception of Kippy who is a mutt and developed a hernia that required surgery. My other little dog has chronic eye problems. I love all my dogs for their loyalty and companionsip. I can not imagine not having a bevy of dogs around me- and one major attribute is that my pets keep me safe. Each one of them can hold their own as a guard dog.

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8 thoughts on “Purebred, Pedigreed, Mutt, Mongrel, What is Your Dog? (click to enlarge photo )

  1. Great post! I love it when I learn something new 🙂 And the pictures are nice!!

  2. sweetmarie says:

    I have one pedigreed because friends of ours through baseball had labs that had pups and it just worked out that way. She is absolutely wonderful and she turned out to be my son’s birthday gift when he turned nine. Rambo is German Shepard and lab and ??, he’s a street dog. He now weighs 100 lbs and is so loving! Rocket is our newest addition when it comes to pups and he’s from the shelter. He had been held over for two days from being put down. He was six months old and I couldn’t resist him. We never go looking to adopt, it just happens and we never drive past a helpless animal. I will always have pups!

    • Thank you Marie for your wonderful comment about your great dogs. And, for commenting on my post.

      It is appaent that you love your dogs as much as I love mine. I am so glad that you saved the shelter dog from euthanasia. I am probably koo-koo but I absolutely believe that our dogs know that we saved them from from a certain death. Or maybe it is just something that I choose to believe and read more into what makes our rescues so special. I think that dogs and cats are a lot smarter than we or scientists will ever know.

  3. Pedigree, purebred, or mutt–they are all potentially great dogs. All a dog needs to be great is a great owner.

    • Thank you sir for the very wise words. I agree with your comment about a dog’s owner. One must be in tune with their pet, provide discipline, responsible care, and love. The dog will do his/her part in return by giving love that has no bounds.

  4. TexWisGirl says:

    i think i’ve only had one ‘pedigreed’ dog, and that was because we had just lost our old mutt, then another one we adopted that had distemper and my husband went to a breeder to surprise me as i was not wanting to lose another one. i’ve adopted some from shelters, some saved off back roads, and loved every one of them for their individuality and character.

    • Thank for commenting. It appears we have a mutual love for our found and adopted dogs. Somehow, I have always felt that the ones we rescue from the brink of death are so grateful and more times than not, make the very best pets. Back in the 60’s I had one dog with “papers” and I’m not sure why I thought I needed her but she was a good and watchful German shepherd.

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