Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
It's a trend: People see a particular dog breed in a movie, then there's a temporary craze of people wanting to own that breed. People flock to breeders looking for a ''purebred'' puppy—a Dalmatian (101 Dalmations), a Labrador (Marley and Me), or a Chihuahua (Beverly Hills Chihuahua). However, first-time dog owners may not know much about what a purebred dog really is, and they may find themselves later questioning if their dog really is a purebred.
Signs You Own a Purebred Dog
A purebred dogs is the end product of selective breeding backed up with proper documentation. The main quality of a purebred puppy is that once adult, it will develop the main traits and behaviors that are typical of the breed. Purebred dogs are therefore specimens that have been bred for centuries with the main purpose of adhering to specific conformations and standards.
"Purebred": What Does It Mean?
A purebred puppy grants predictability, meaning that it is obvious how the puppy will turn out looking from its size, color, and texture of fur to its temperament. However, not all purebred dogs have the same identical temperament, there may be slight variances from one individual and another, but they mostly adhere to the breed's basic temperament.
If you have purchased a purebred dog, very likely you have paid a hefty price. Purebred puppies are quite expensive because the breeders must cover many expenses. Stud charges, food, medical expenses, vaccinations are some major expenses that need to be somewhat recuperated.
Purebred Documents or Papers
As mentioned earlier, the selective breeding of purebred dogs is backed with proper documentation. These are the famous "papers." A dog with papers is a dog that has been registered with a particular registry. The largest registry of the United States is the American Kennel Club (AKC). Other famous registries are the United Kennel Club (UKC), the Canadian Kennel Club, and the Continental Kennel Club.
A puppy with "papers" basically means that he is automatically eligible for documentation because its parents have been registered with any of these registries. You will have to follow up and register the puppy yourself by mailing out a registration application and paying a fee. If registering with the AKC, this can be done online. If the puppy is older and has already been registered, the breeder will have to give you the registration certificate which means at this point that the dog ownership is officially transferred to you.
Pedigree (aka the Family Tree)
Purebred dogs are often accompanied by a "pedigree." This is the puppy's ancestry, or in other words, its family tree. A pedigree will date back at least four generations displaying all the registered names of the puppy's ancestors. Good breeders should know all this by heart if they are really serious about breeding. Health papers are also another plus you will get from a well-bred puppy.
What Do the Papers Guarantee?
One important consideration: a dog with papers does not automatically translate into a puppy guaranteed to be healthy or with a stable temperament. A puppy with papers may theoretically simply mean that it is a product of selective breeding from verifiable bloodlines. Attentive homework and research still needs to be conducted in order to find a reputable breeder.
Joe on June 23, 2018:
wrong there Ken. Good breeding insures that the animal will and owners will have a better time. Bad breeding leads to false statements of breed, potential crazy mental health issues on top of physical and backyard breeding for profit with no paperwork
RITA RUSSELL on May 23, 2018:
is my chihuahua should be very active at 3 yrs old be very active is she should a house dog
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 25, 2018:
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Margaret, I wouldn't think so, otherwise the American Kennel Club, would have listed this characteristic in the standard.
maragret on January 24, 2018:
is it true if the top of the mouth is black does this mean my chuauhaua is a pure breed
Ken Roberts on May 30, 2016:
just enjoy your dog he is going to be your best friend . papers or not ,. having a blood line only counts when showing your dog. it is expensive to pay for also . I was told by my Vet and a breeder that my Lab is full blooded but it does not matter to me . Straying from the blood line makes a better pet
jmholland16 on August 29, 2011:
I RECENTLY GOT A PUPPY I WAS TOLD IT WAS A FULL BLOODED LAB BUT MY DAD SAID THAT IT IS NOT FULL BLOODED... WHAT ARE SOME SIGNES I CAN LOOK FOR TO TELL IF HE IS TRULY FULL BLOODED? I ALSO HAVE MY DOUBTS. I GOT HIM FROM A LOCAL STORE,THAT WERE JUST GIVING THEM AWAY I KNOW A LAB IS WORTH A LOT AND IM NOT SURE WHAT TO BELEIVE BECAUSE I DON'T THINK THEY WOULD JUST GIVE AWAY PURE BREAD LAB PUPPYS... CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME?
Bat eyes on July 22, 2010:
This hub is very helpful!
bmtphoenix from Austin, TX on February 26, 2010:
Eh, I'm one of those people that doesn't really agree with the idea of spending tons of money on a purebred dog while hundreds of "inferior" dogs are put down every day...
ocbill from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice on February 24, 2010:
Very helpful. The strange thing is there must be 5 or 10 new dog breeds in the last 20 years which was the time I was grooming dogs.
Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on February 23, 2010:
Great hub, and I have a toy poodle, I love these dogs because they give so much love, they also are very smart and are said to have the mind of a two year old child. They give you far more then you could ever return, these dogs are special, well, all dogs are special but I like a lap dog.