Pedigrees and Registrations – What You Need To Know continued...


The documents commonly provided with puppies differ depending on where they were bred, so we will discuss them separately.

United States and Canada

In the United States, the accepted registry is the American Kennel Club (AKC) for all breeds, except for a few rare breeds which the AKC does not register. In Canada, the accepted registry is the Canadian Kennel Club, which is a Government-run organization. In the United States and Canada, when a puppy is sold, the common practice is to provide the buyer with an application for registration of the puppy, showing sale of the puppy from the breeder to the owner, and a pedigree for the puppy which is provided by the breeder. The parents shown on the application for registration should, of course, be the same as the parents shown on the pedigree. In the US, upon registering the puppy, the buyer can if he or she wishes purchase a certified copy of the pedigree for the puppy, showing the parentage as recorded in the files of the AKC. Needless to say, the parentage should match the parentage on the pedigree furnished by the breeder.

The AKC will only register puppies if both parents were registered with the AKC, or by a foreign registry approved by the AKC. (The Canadian Kennel Club follows the same procedure for puppies born in Canada.) Registration with the AKC (or the Canadian Kennel Club) does not guarantee that the puppy is healthy or even that the puppy is really the one identified in the registration papers. The AKC functions largely on the honor system and depends on the honesty of the breeders furnishing the information to the AKC.

What about those other registries you’ve heard about? STEER CLEAR of a breeder who offers papers from some other registry such as America’s Pet Registry (APRI), Continental Kennel Club, and others. Why? About 10 years ago, in response to complaints that the AKC was registering puppies that were raised in substandard conditions and that puppies were being registered based upon fraudulent information, the AKC began inspecting all breeders who register more than 25 puppies per year. The AKC began refusing registrations from anyone whose premises did not meet minimum standards of care, who were not maintaining adequate records concerning their breedings, or who were found to have submitted fraudulent paperwork. Where could these disappointed breeders find “papers” now that the AKC had shut them out? It’s no coincidence that several new “registries” sprang up who were perhaps less particular about the quality or the accuracy of the information presented to them. (While the United Kennel Club is the long recognized and perfectly respectable registry for certain breeds, such as Rat Terriers, American Eskimos, and American Pit Bull Terriers, breeds that are not recognized by the AKC, one should not accept UKC registration as a substitute for AKC registration for AKC-recognized breeds such as Bulldogs, French Bulldogs.)

Europe (except Britain), Asia, Mexico, and South America

Each of these countries has a reputable national registry. Those national registries are members of an umbrella organization headquartered in Belgium, called the Federation Cynologique Internationale, and commonly referred to by its initials FCI. The FCI does not register any dogs so anyone who tells you that their puppies are registered with the FCI is misleading you. The FCI organizes international dog shows and provides suggested forms of documents to its member registries. Each national registry that is affiliated with FCI operates independently and sets its own rules and procedures for registrations. The registries in western European countries, such as Germany, France, and Belgium, tend to be as conscientious about their record keeping and standards as is the AKC. On the other hand, many of the registries in eastern Europe and the former Communist countries are not. In fact, some FCI registries will not accept registrations from FCI registries in countries where they have found an unacceptable level of fraud.

There is another problem with registrations from foreign countries. Most U.S. buyers do not know what the foreign registration papers are supposed to look like. As a result, many puppy importers have been furnishing fraudulent papers to buyers. In fact, the situation has gotten so bad that when someone submits a registration from an eastern European country with an application for AKC registration, the AKC now often forwards a copy of the foreign registration to the country of origin to determine whether it is genuine or a forgery.

Here is another problem faced by unsuspecting purchasers of puppies from the import trade. In many cases, the papers are sent months after the puppies are purchased. Even if the papers are genuine, the puppies have often been shipped with no identification and the importers have no way of knowing which puppy goes with which registration. Often, the importers just mail the buyer papers for a dog of the same breed, sex, and approximate age as the puppy sold. If a seller offers to sell you an imported puppy without furnishing some paperwork identifying the puppy by registered name at the time of sale, you can be pretty sure that the papers you eventually get are not the papers for the puppy you bought.

Sometimes, importers even include naïve buyers in their dishonest actions. Because of the frequent problems with commercially imported puppies, many of the importers attempt to conceal how many dogs they are actually importing by concealing their participation in the transaction altogether. Many now furnish registration papers that show a transfer directly from the foreign seller to the U.S. puppy buyer. Needless to say, all legitimate registries require that the papers include a complete chain of title, including BOTH the local importer (the actual seller) and the purchaser. Any seller who provides papers not showing his participation in the transaction is dishonest. Don’t get involved!