Unraveling the Truth: Understanding Inaccuracies in Dog Pedigree Databases


For many dog enthusiasts, a pedigree is a crucial piece of information that outlines their beloved pets’ lineage, genetic background, and accomplishments. However, pedigree databases are not immune to inaccuracies and misinformation, sometimes stemming from dishonest or misinformed breeders. As a responsible dog owner or potential buyer, it is prudent to understand the reasons behind these inaccuracies and learn how to navigate them to ensure your canine companion’s health, well-being, and authenticity..

Why Lie?

Here are some reasons why dog breeders might lie on a pedigree:

  1. Financial gain: Unscrupulous breeders might lie about a dog’s pedigree to increase the perceived value of their dogs, allowing them to sell puppies at a higher price.
  2. Reputation enhancement: Breeders may falsify information on a pedigree to make their breeding lines appear more prestigious or successful in shows, trials, or competitions.
  3. Hiding health issues: Breeders could lie about a dog’s lineage to hide known genetic health issues or inbreeding, in order to maintain the demand for their puppies.
  4. Breeding restrictions: Some breeders might falsify pedigrees to avoid breeding restrictions set by breed clubs, kennel clubs, or governments, which could limit the number of litters a dog can produce or require specific health tests.
  5. Covering up unethical breeding practices: Breeders may misrepresent pedigrees to hide their involvement in puppy mills or other unethical breeding practices, such as breeding dogs too young or without proper health clearances.
  6. Ignorance or errors: In some cases, breeders might inadvertently include inaccurate information on a pedigree due to their own lack of knowledge, mistakes, or reliance on misinformation from others.

To minimize the risk of obtaining a dog with an inaccurate pedigree, potential buyers should do thorough research on breeders, ask for references, and verify the authenticity of the pedigree through independent sources, such as breed clubs or kennel clubs. Additionally, buyers can request health clearances and DNA tests to ensure the dog’s health and genetic background.

Further Reading

Tony Bierman, “Combining Traditional Pedigree Databases and Haplotype-Based Phylogenetic Classification for a Comprehensive Canine Ancestry Analysis,” OBTESA, Accessed April 2, 2023, http://esbt.us/f8.

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Tony Bierman, "Unraveling the Truth: Understanding Inaccuracies in Dog Pedigree Databases," OBTESA, Accessed May 31, 2023, http://esbt.us/f7.