Find out how to prove your dog is purebred in New Zealand.

How to Prove Your Dog is Purebred – Part One

How to prove your dog is purebred is probably the first thing you’ll ask yourself before forking out thousands of dollars for a pedigree pup. This has become a hot topic worldwide, though especially in New Zealand due to the rise of puppy mills and resulting puppy scams.

Both puppy farms and smaller breeders have been known to falsely advertise purebred dogs. Not all, but some. So you’re right to be wary.

And to add heat to the fire, they sometimes sell via the same platforms as reputable breeders do, like Trade Me.

This is the first in a two part series where we look at how to tell if a dog is purebred. Here is the second: ‘How to tell if a dog is purebred‘ when you’re finished with this one.

Prove your dog is purebred in three steps

If you’re on your way to becoming a first time pet owner and you’ve set your hopes on a purebred dog, there are three main checks you can do:

  1. Breed standard. Compare your pup with the breed standard
  2. Pedigree papers. Check his/her pedigree papers are from our national kennel club
  3. Dog DNA test. Arrange a DNA test to discover your pup’s ancestry


In this article we look at what the breed standards are. Read about pedigree papers and DNA tests in part two.

Breed standards

You can check your dog against the official breed standards to see if they’re purebred. Breed standards are formal guidelines for the ideal characteristics of each dog breed. These are well established traits that include physical appearance, temperament, and genetic criteria.

These standards cover in fine detail every aspect of what a dog should look like to qualify as a certain breed. When you’re checking a real life pup against breed markers, you’ll be able to use these standards references for every breed:

  • A lifelike illustrated picture
  • Detailed descriptions of characteristics and general appearance
  • Head and skull
  • Eyes, ears, mouth, and neck
  • Forequarters, body, hindquarters, feet, and tail
  • Coat type, colour, weight, and size

However, this method of checking for proof your dog is a purebred isn’t 100% guaranteed to be accurate. Why? Because sometimes purebred dogs don’t meet the full set of breed standards.

Purebred dogs may be born with rare or ‘mismarked’ colours that aren’t listed. However, they’re essentially still purebred. And of course, the opposite is true too; you may get a cross breed who matches every ‘breed standards’ trait perfectly!

Who sets breed standards that prove your dog is purebred?

Local and international breeding registers (more on that in part two) devise and record breeding standards. Breeders of pedigreed dogs need to match these standards through breeding techniques as best as possible.

Stud dogs

Stud dogs are dogs that are registered with breeding registers to establish or continue a breeding line. These are the dogs judged to be best in show because they flawlessly match official breed standards.
If you’ve ever wondered why girls sometimes refer to handsome guys as ‘studs’, here’s where the term comes from! It’s all thanks to our best friend.

Official breed standards and breed groups

In New Zealand, we have 224 recognised dog breeds, each with its own breed standards. These breeds are grouped into the following seven groups:

  1. Toy Group
  2. Terrier Group
  3. Gundog Group
  4. Hound Group
  5. Working Dog Group
  6. Utility Group
  7. Non-Sporting Group
This is a purebred Dalmatian dog.

Purebred is not necessarily well-bred

Purebred dogs have been linked to several health issues. So, it’s important to seek out a responsible breeder interested in achieving optimum dog health as well as meeting breed standards.

If your quest is to become a purebred pup parent, it’s important to recognise the warning signs of a bad breeder. There are several signs you can look for when choosing both a breed of dog and a breeder.

Here are some tips for choosing a responsible, ethical breeder:

  • Look for established breeders that are well-known
  • Attend dog shows (browse Dogs NZ  events calendar). You’ll find out who’s who and meet breeders
  • Study the breeds at these shows – and online – both to find out what breed you’re interested in and what the breed markers look like in person

You’ll learn much more about your favourite breed when you spend time with prized specimens than you ever could by researching purely online. And given that it’s a lifetime commitment, taking the time out to have this rewarding experience will be well worth it.

Read about more ways to tell if your dog is purebred in part two as well as how to buy a puppy safely in New Zealand.

How to prove your dog is purebred in New Zealand before buying a puppy like these.

Dog insurance for your pup

Whether or not you have a purebred pup, it’s great to give them a soft landing when it comes to health and wellness. Because while you might have to fork out a lot of cash for buying your purebed dog, you don’t need to when it comes to dog insurance.

With three pet insurance options (that all include vet visits, hospitalisation and more), you can start with a pawlicy from as little as $1 a day. And if you decide to ramp up to the PD Insurance Deluxe plan plus the Wellness package add-on, we’ll also help cover the costs of dental, vaccinations and more.

How to prove your dog is purebred?

Have you taken steps to find out if your dog is purebred? Share your story via our Facebook page to help other PD Insurance readers with your tips or trials.

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