Combining Traditional Pedigree Databases and Haplotype-Based Phylogenetic Classification for a Comprehensive Canine Ancestry Analysis


In the world of dog breeding and ownership, understanding the lineage and genetic background of a canine companion is of utmost importance. While traditional pedigree databases have long been relied upon for this information, they are not without their flaws and inaccuracies. The emergence of haplotype-based phylogenetic classification offers a more objective and scientifically grounded approach to assess a dog’s ancestry.

Haplotype-Based Phylogenetic Classification

Haplotype-based phylogenetic classification can offer a valuable alternative to traditional pedigree databases in some cases. This method uses genetic markers to identify and classify individuals based on their haplotypes (sets of genetic variations inherited from a single parent) and build a phylogenetic tree representing the relationships between individuals or populations.


Advantages of haplotype-based phylogenetic classification

  1. Objectivity: Unlike traditional pedigrees that can be subject to inaccuracies and misinformation, haplotype-based methods use genetic data, providing a more objective and accurate way to assess ancestry.
  2. Detection of hidden relationships: Haplotype-based methods can reveal previously unknown relationships between individuals or populations, providing a more complete picture of their genetic background.
  3. Greater resolution: Haplotype-based phylogenetic classification can offer higher resolution in determining genetic relationships, as it relies on multiple genetic markers rather than a single source of information (such as a pedigree).
  4. Identification of breed-specific health issues: Genetic data can help identify breed-specific health issues and inform breeding practices to minimize the risk of hereditary diseases.


However, there are some limitations to haplotype-based phylogenetic classification

  1. Cost and availability: Genetic testing can be expensive, and not all dog owners or breeders may have access to these tests.
  2. Limited information on accomplishments: Genetic data alone does not provide information on a dog’s accomplishments, such as titles or awards, which can be important for breeders or buyers interested in show or performance dogs.
  3. Interpretation challenges: Analyzing and interpreting haplotype data requires specialized knowledge and expertise, which may not be readily available to all dog owners or breeders.


In conclusion, haplotype-based phylogenetic classification can offer a more accurate and objective alternative to traditional pedigree databases in certain cases. However, it may not be a complete replacement for pedigrees, as it doesn’t provide information on accomplishments and can be more challenging to access and interpret. A combination of traditional pedigrees and genetic data may offer the best approach for those seeking comprehensive information on a dog’s lineage, genetic background, and achievements.

Further reading

  1. Tony Bierman, “English Shepherds and Haplotype-based Phylogenetic Classification,” OBTESA, Accessed April 2, 2023,

Print This Post Print This Post
Tony Bierman, "Combining Traditional Pedigree Databases and Haplotype-Based Phylogenetic Classification for a Comprehensive Canine Ancestry Analysis," OBTESA, Accessed June 18, 2024,