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.