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About AKC registration papers & pedigrees

How much do AKC papers really mean? If a dog is AKC registered it must mean it is one of the best representatives of the breed. Right? Wrong! It must mean AKC recognizes this breeder to have quality healthy puppies, right? Wrong! It must mean at the very least the puppies were raised in a clean, healthy environment, right? Wrong! 



AKC papers must mean the dog is of good quality. 

This is not true.  In fact AKC registration papers only mean the parents are registered with AKC.  AKC does not regulate this in any way. They do not see photos of the parents. AKC can not testify to the quality of the dog, only that its parents were AKC registered and their parents are AKC registered and so on. 

How a puppy becomes AKC registered:

Picture AKC registration as a family tree. As puppies are born they are added to the tree when breeders send in money and information. AKC IS ONLY A REGISTRY. NOTHING MORE.

  • Breeders fill out a form with the mother and father of the puppies, with their AKC registration numbers.

  • The breeder signs testifying to the fact that these two dogs were bred and the puppies are the result of that breeding.

  • The breeder then sends AKC money to add these puppies to their database and BAM the breeder gets AKC papers and numbers for each puppy. No questions asked. 

  • AKC then makes more money off the puppy buyer because they send money to AKC to register the puppy in their name.


Does AKC papers AND a pedigree make a dog a good representative of the breed? NO!

To obtain a pedigree all a breeder or dog owner has to do is send AKC MORE money and they will access their database and print out their record of a particular dogs family tree. You can get as many generations as you are willing to pay for. AKC puts a stamp on it and BAM you have an OFFICIAL pedigree. This is only a record of what AKC has in their database.

An AKC registered dog with a pedigree only means that the breeders of this particular "family" of dogs did their homework and sent AKC money. It does not mean the breeders of the particular dog "family" did their homework and ensured all the dogs in this "family" were, 

  • healthy and free of genetic defects

  • have good temperaments

  • have good structure and conform to the standard for that breed

Don't let be fooled by breeders throwing around the terms, my dogs are AKC registered and have pedigrees. AKC registration papers do not attest to the quality of a dog, nor does a pedigree. 

EXAMPLE: When you buy a house there is a deed to the house. Would you buy the house after seeing the deed? Would you know this is a good house just by looking at the deed? Would you make the commitment to buy a house just because it has a deed, or would you want to see it and do your homework to make sure this is a good sturdy house that is not going to fall down in a few years? 

AKC registers thousands of litters 

Every year, thousands of puppies are registered with AKC. The majority of them are poor quality because selling puppies is a way to make money to many people. Having quality dogs requires a breeder to invest money and time in their dogs. A good breeder does genetic health testing and spends hours going over pedigrees and learning all they can about their breed. To breeders who are in it for the money,  AKC papers are only a means to jacking up the price on their puppy. They figure without them the puppy will fetch less money.  

OK, AKC papers do not attest to quality but at least they prove a dog is purebred, right? WRONG!

Again,  it only mans AKC has a record of your dogs family tree. The tree that breeders say it is. AKC operates on the honor system, they just take the breeder's word for it. It is not uncommon for a breeder to have two or more breeds. Lets say breed A accidentally hooks up with breed B. OOPS!!! Does the breeder just cut his loses and sell the mixed breed puppies without papers or does he do the unthinkable? You guessed it.... UNTHINKABLE!!! The breeder is in it for the money. He has a male and female of dog of breed A and a male and female of dog of breed B. Instead of accepting he was irresponsible and made a mistake, he uses papers from his stud dog breed B and his female breed B who is pregnant and BAM... he gets AKC papers and numbers for his mixed breed puppies. 

If this happens once in the family tree it dilutes the line and this is why you can have one "Shih Tzu" look totally different from another.  This is where buying from a reputable breeder comes in. Reputable breeders "preserve" the lines and keep them clear of "mistakes"  A reputable breeder makes sure the genes in a give line stay fixed and produce the traits that each breed standard calls for. It is the presence of these fixed genes that make a dog purebred, not AKC papers.

AKC catches on

AKC has finally come up with a program to help stop this practice. Effective for litters born on or after July 1st 2000, they have implemented a DNA testing program where all frequently used stud dogs are required to be DNA tested. Any stud dog used more than seven times in a lifetime or more than three times in a calendar year must be tested. They send the breeder a kit in the mail, the breeder swabs the dogs mouth and sends it back. AKC puts the DNA record on the frequently used stud dog's file. 

If a consumer suspects their AKC purebred puppy might not be so purebred, they can contact AKC and have a DNA test done to prove it. Teh breeder would suffer severe consequences or even be banned from AKC. 

The only problem is, what if a breeder uses their dog sparingly and no more than seven times or less than three times a year? Documents can still be falsified. No one will ever know.


Puppymills follow the rules:

Puppy mills are a big money maker for AKC. Of all the breeders they stand more to gain from AKC than anyone. They are only in the "Business" of selling puppies for the money. AKC papers mean more money for the same amount of effort on their part. All they have to do is send AKC money and follow the rules and AKC gives them the right to say their dogs are purebred?????? Not even mentioning the moral dilemma here, puppy mill puppies are NEVER good representatives of the breed and many suffer health issues to numerous to mention. See my page on puppy mills. www.shihtzukisses.com/puppymills.htm 



The presence of AKC papers does not make a dog purebred but, the absence of them indicates an unknowledgeable breeder from the get go. The absence of AKC papers is a red flag for the consumer to take heed. If a breeder claims they use another registry for their dogs...STAY AWAY.  

Please read my bamboozled page. www.shihtzukisses.com/bamboozled.htm 




In closing I would just like to warn you, If you wish to purchase a purebred puppy do your homework on the breed you are thinking about. You would not adopt a child without investigating the child's background and learning about any health issues he or she may have. You would not commit to loving and raising that child without being certain you were making the right choice for you and your family. Why would bringing home a new baby puppy be any different. You are committing to a life. When you purchase a puppy you are making a promise to that puppy that you will love it and take care of it FOREVER. Don't be another statistic, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!




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Bailley's Blog - Bailley was diagnosed with Cushing's in November of 2014. We lost Bailley 8/15/17

This is a record of our journey and how I chose to treat her. It is my hope others will find comfort and answers.



Tian Mi Shih Tzu uses Pet Oasis Water Stands with Lixit bottles 





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Revised: April 13, 2015