Choosing a Pedigree Pet
Pedigree pets can be a popular choice, especially with certain breeds gaining publicity on social media. But what does it mean to have a pedigree pet, and is it the right choice for you?
What does ‘Pedigree’ mean?
Pedigree simply means that the animal has documents certifying that it is a distinct breed. The animal will be registered as pedigree by its breeder.
When you get a pedigree cat or dog, you should receive the registration certificate and also a pedigree certificate showing that the pedigree has been validated by IKC (Irish Kennel Club) or GCCFI (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy of Ireland) records. The pedigree certificate will show details of a minimum of 3 generations of your pet’s ancestors.
Is a Pedigree Pet Right for Me?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before buying a pedigree pet to help decide if they are a good fit for you:
- What is your current lifestyle and family set up? Do you have children/grandchildren or is it likely you will in the future? If so, what breed is suitable?
- What traits are you looking for in a pet? Consider the size, temperament, and purpose of a breed.
- How much time do you have to look after the needs of a new pet?
- How much training will your new pet need and where can you get guidance on this to avoid problems?
- Will your new pet need a lot of exercise?
- Will your new pet need a lot of grooming?
- What costs will be involved? Consider purchase price, vet bills, food, equipment, health insurance, boarding, etc.
Advantages of Choosing a Pedigree Pet
Predictability: Your pet will have a predictable shape and size with defined characteristics and a specific skill set. You can research and know in advance the type of lifestyle that would suit that breed.
Breeding: You may want to breed one or two litters.
Showing: Your pet is eligible to participate in breed shows.
Health: You can know in advance the genetic conditions which may affect the breed you choose. You can check the parent’s health history and screen your new pet for these potential conditions. Your breeder should discuss this with you and show you the health history of the parents including DNA Tests, screening results etc.
Temperament and Behaviour: It is best practice to find a breeder who will accommodate introducing you to your new pet’s parents and showing you the environment in which it was raised. The breeder can update you on your pet’s socialisation to date and give advice on how to continue. This can proactively help to avoid behavioural problems in the future.
Disadvantages of Choosing a Pedigree Pet
Adoption: While pedigree animals are being bred, there are many unwanted pets needing homes in animal shelters.
Cost: Pedigree pets are typically very expensive to purchase. Also consider the risk of genetic conditions in certain breeds and the high cost of treating these lifelong conditions.
Some Breeders: The profitability of pedigree animals has the potential to attract some breeders in certain circumstances who might be more concerned with making money than the welfare of the animals. Make sure to research well and get guidance from the IKC or GCCFI and breed clubs before choosing a breeder.
Genetic Conditions: Animals have been selectively bred to develop certain aspects of performance, behaviour or appearance. Unfortunately, this has led to many genetic diseases which cause pain, discomfort, and distress.
This is an already big and still growing concern, especially because the most popular breeds are the worst affected. These conditions greatly impact the pet’s quality of life as well as causing distress and anxiety for you as the owner about your pet’s wellbeing.
- Pugs, Persian Cats, French Bulldogs are prone to respiratory difficulties
- King Charles Spaniels are prone to a painful spinal condition
- German Shepherds are prone to Hip Dysplasia
Before you pay out a good bit of money on a pedigree pet, make sure to research the breed well in advance and be aware of the genetic problems that may affect them. IKC, GCCFI, breed clubs, and your vet can be good sources for guidance. Choose a reputable breeder who welcomes you to visit and answers your queries, and who will provide a contract which specifies all health and socialisation details of your new pet and its parents.
Example of a puppy contract and what you need to know from the breeder
See if there is a pedigree pet needing rehoming from any rescue group or pound
This guidance is for general information purposes only. Allianz accepts no responsibility or liability for any losses that may arise from any reliance upon the information contained in this guidance.
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About the author:Allianz in-house vet and qualified psychotherapist.
Date:August 26th, 2019