Find out how to tell if a dog is purebred.

How to Tell if a Dog is Purebred, Part 2


Recent Blog:

Do you know how to tell if a dog is purebred? Is it something you’ve wondered, or asked someone, or googled? As it happens, we’re seeing more and more questions around dog pedigree. And it’s not just pet parents asking one another, it’s also become a regular feature in the news, on dog forums and across social media.

And it’s no wonder there’s so much hype around the topic – people are paying thousands of dollars for their prized puppy.

Pedigreed dog breeding is, of course, an industry. And with it, there are several administrative and financial implications. Not to mention health implications for some pups. And sadly, there’s also the major consideration of puppy scams (more on that in a minute).

This is the part two in a series of articles on how to prove your dog is purebred in New Zealand. Here’s a quick recap of what we touched on in the first article…

3 top ways to tell if your dog is purebred

In part one, we take a detailed look at uncovering whether a dog is purebred using breed standards. This isn’t the only way to tell, and in this article we’re looking at two more. (To be sure, you may want to go down the avenue of cross-referencing all three).

Here are all three ways to tell if a dog is purebred:

1Breed standardsCompare your dog with the official breed standards (Part 1)
2Dog papers Check their pedigree papers
3DNA dataDo a dog DNA test (we’ve listed some options available in NZ further on)

Now, before we look at pedigreed papers, did you know that purebred and pedigree aren’t the same thing? Here’s how you spot the difference…

Find out how to tell if a dog like this Dalmatian is purebred

Purebred vs pedigree, what’s the difference?

When it comes to pedigree vs purebred, it might interest you to know not every purebred dog is a pedigree dog. Purebred basically refers to a dog’s lineage or bloodline. On the other hand pedigree refers to a record of that lineage, which must be logged with a recognized breed registry.

More on breed registries in a minute, but first…

While a dog can be both purebred and pedigreed, this isn’t always the case. Not every purebred dog has records kept of its family history. That’s because keeping a formal breeding record takes time and effort. And it’s one of the great things that registered breeders do for every pedigreed pooch.

Then again, if you’re after a purebred dog, check in with yourself what that means to you? For example, a Labrador with a great granny Golden Retriever won’t be accepted by a breeding register. But you or I might see them as a Lab anyways. After all, a bond between dog and owner is pure whether or not that pooch is purebred.

It’s important therefore, to ask yourself what your idea of purebred is… Because if you’re after a particular dog with the right breed markers, for example a Border Collie, you may just find them at a dog shelter. Find out more about bringing home an adopted dog.

These dogs are registered to prove they are purebred dogs.

Don’t overlook purebred dog rescues

Purebred dog rescues are something valuable to consider because PD Insurance has spoken to shelters like HUHA that often have purebred dogs and puppies up for adoption. These pups may have all the markers of a specific breed. But they’re unlikely to have pedigreed papers.

So although it’s possible to get a purebred rescue dog, you won’t know for certain because it’s unlikely a shelter will have a great deal of history on an animal.

While these dogs won’t have doggy papers, they could fill your heart and home more than you could ever hope. So, it may be worthwhile considering adopting a dog (here’s your dog adoption checklist). Also note that the answer to ‘are mixed breed dogs healthier?‘, the answer is usually yes. Read about the pros and cons of purebred dogs here to understand why.

Now, if you’re after a purebred with a pedigree, then your first big step is finding one of the ethical dog breeders from New Zealand’s official kennel club.

Comparing breed markers may help you tell if this dog is purebred.

New Zealand Kennel Club, our national pedigreed registry

If you want to guarantee you’re buying a purebred, one good avenue to walk down is finding a breeder who’s a member of the national kennel club. Kennel clubs are the custodians of the pedigree dog or cat databases in their region or country.

Dogs New Zealand (often called Dogs NZ) – what used to be called the New Zealand Kennel Club – was established in 1886 as a registrar of every purebred dog with a pedigree on our shores.

Dogs New Zealand is a great platform to help discerning buyers along their journey to finding a pedigree dog. It also opens a whole new world because it has over 300 affiliate societies. You’ll be able to discover and maybe even join the well-regarded agility, obedience and show clubs in New Zealand.

Dogs New Zealand has ample resources for pedigreed parents

Before you venture into being a first time pet owner, do some research about the purebred pedigreed dogs in New Zealand.

Here’s a list of resources from our very own local kennel club:

  • Breed Selector: Research different breeds to discover their needs and traits  
  • Club listing: Locate the affiliate club that’s near you, or has the breed you’re interested in
  • Breeders: Find a breeder using the breed listing, and choosing the breed you’re interested in
  • Litters: Amazing, right! This allows you to see when there are litters of pedigreed puppies at any given time.

As much as some people debate the fact, different breeds are often prone to various genetic health conditions, like hip dysplasia in dogs:

So, you might also want to ask an accredited breeder for the results of these health tests with regards to the puppy’s parents.

Of course, that’s not the be-all and end-all step to finding an ethical, trustworthy breeder with guaranteed purebred dogs. There are other steps to take…

Must-do research before buying your purebred pup

No one place is a one stop shop in your journey of seeking out a purebred dog. We suggest researching via these avenues too, before following our puppy buying step-by-step checklist further down this article:

  • NZ French BulldogsLabrador Lovers NZ and NZ Huntaway Club
  • Google search the name of each business you’re considering buying a purebred dog from and thoroughly check out their website, social channels, etc
  • Also search for reviews from people who’ve bought dogs from these sources
  • Ask the breeder/s for references from a handful of buyers they’ve sold puppies to previously
  • Contact the breeder’s vet to confirm all the details for the puppy are accurate and up-to-date
owner loves her non-pedigree pooch

Purebred dog papers for pedigrees

So, you’ve done your homework on the breed you love and where they’ve come from. You’ve found a litter of pedigreed puppies ready to be homed… Exciting! What’s next?

Which authority provides purebred dog papers?

In NZ, purebred dog papers are provided by Dogs New Zealand. If you’ve found the breeder via this organisation then you know they’re a member.

If they’re not a member be extra cautious of their breeding practices and intentions as a seller. As tempting as it is to jump straight in, you need to take the right steps towards making an informed purchase.

Here’s how…

owner holds his pedigree pug puppy

Puppy buying checklist 101

You want to make sure you’re avoiding puppy mills and are buying from an ethical breeder who’s committed to producing safe, healthy, happy puppies with a high quality breeding line. Right?

Read our articles on puppy scams and on buying a puppy safely in New Zealand, then follow this brief step-by-step checklist for a much better chance at achieving this:

First steps First, ask to see a photo of your potential puppy’s Dogs New Zealand purebred dog papers. This will show their pedigree.
Visit (more than once)Then, ask to visit the breeder’s location more than once before buying – to see the puppy and at least one pup parent. If possible, do so at different times of the day. Pay attention to their living conditions, such as the state of their kennelling and food bowls, plus other dogs who live there. Are they safe and clean? Look closely at the behaviour and health of puppy and parent.
Ask questions & Expect questionsTake note if the seller asks you questions to ensure the puppy is going to a good home. A seller who’s invested in the pup’s long term wellbeing is much more likely to be breeding for the love of it as well as the financial benefit. Which means they’re less likely to be an unethical breeder or scammer.
Puppy’s ideal age to leave mumDon’t buy a puppy younger than eight weeks old. Puppies shouldn’t leave their mum and littermates until at least this age – both teach pup lessons they’ll need throughout life.
Use a contractSafeguard your purchase with a contract (you could use the Dogs New Zealand template contract).
Puppy papers don’t cost extraGet a copy of your new puppy’s papers at the time of purchase. These shouldn’t cost anything over and above the price of the puppy.

Should a purebred dog come with papers?

Yes, if a dog is a purebred and you’ve sourced it from a professional breeder then it should have papers proving this fact. Here’s some important information from our vet vlog with Dr Cath on pedigree dog papers:

As our above-mentioned puppy scams article advises, be sure to always collect your puppy in person. Never mail-order a puppy because the likelihood of you unwittingly taking part in a scam is almost a guarantee.

Remember: do your absolute best to meet the puppy and at least one of its parents in person before you commit any money. When you do so, ask to see the papers (again) then, before paying up.

Dog DNA tests – exploring if a dog is purebred

Another way to potentially prove your dog is purebred is a dog DNA test. You can buy these from the Christchurch Bull Breed RescueEasy DNA and Home DNA Direct, among others. These are becoming more widespread as the science grows.

However, they’re mainly for interest purposes as the industry is still new and unregulated. Which means that there are no guarantees about the outcomes.

Still, if you’ve had your ‘purebred’ dog for a while and their provenance has always interested you, the dog DNA test can be a super exciting thing to do. Much like a human ancestry DNA test.

Plus, some of the tests offer a comprehensive report which tells you about your dog’s health needs and related action plans. Some tests also include an option to meet your dog’s immediate relatives if they’re on the database.

Purebred dog insurance

Buying a pedigreed pup is a big investment, emotionally and financially. Dog insurance doesn’t need to be. With PD Insurance you get one or more months of FREE pet insurance for your pet if you sign up online, plus you’ll potentially get a multi-pet discount if you sign up another one or more.

Why not get in early and be covered before any pre-existing conditions emerge? Take two minutes to get a no-obligation quote now.

Share on :