How to Track a Dog's Genealogy

Purebred dogs earn championship status by competing in conformation competitions.
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Keeping track of your dog’s family tree requires diligent record keeping. Purebred dogs are usually registered with the American Kennel Club, which has a registry for dogs of recognized breeds that are born in or imported to the U.S. As long as both parents are registered dogs, the litter may be registered as a group when the puppies are born. Once the puppies go to new homes, the new owners notify AKC of the dog’s adult name and its ownership details.

Visit the AKC website to sign up for an account at its online store. Although it is free to create your account, you will need to provide a credit card number for future purchases before your account can be authenticated.

Enter the details of the dog you own. This includes the dog’s AKC registration number and the date the certificate was issued. The system will check the records and email you an access code that must be entered in order to update your account with this dog and any other registered dogs that you own.

Add dogs to your account. These dogs may be owned by others, but you are interested in following their show and breeding careers with a view to using them for breeding purposes in the future. Dogs can be added by registration number, by name or located by breed and group.

Order a copy of your dog’s pedigree document from the store. This will help you to understand your dog's background and view up to five previous generations of ancestors. If you plan to breed your dog, knowing the history of its bloodline will be helpful in avoiding any known faults.

Examine the information provided in the top half of the document. This shows the genealogy of the sire, or father, and will give you good information on whether the dog’s bloodline includes any dogs that were champions or that were bred in another country.

Read the information in the other half of the document. This covers the information on the dam, or mother, and her ancestry. You are likely to see more championship records on the sire’s side than the dam’s, because female dogs that are used for breeding purposes often have only a brief career in dog shows, which is where championships are earned.

Record future litters with the AKC, whether you register the puppies or not. The club’s online record-keeping tool is free of charge, although you will be required to pay for registration. The owners of your dog’s future descendants will be able to trace their pet’s ancestry and understand the lineage that it has.

Contract an independent pedigree research company to research other major registries in the U.S. including the United Kennel Club, the American Stock Dog Registry, the Sheepdog Association and registries in England and Europe.

Items You Will Need

  • Internet
  • Credit card
  • AKC registration certificate