Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by lylynn from WA. lylynn Wonders, “Does every dog have a pedigree?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, lylynn!

Do you have any pets? Animals can bring a lot of happiness into a home. Many pet owners have WONDERed about where their animal came from. Does it have siblings? Who are the animal's parents or grandparents? Some dog owners know the answers to these questions. They’re right there on their dog’s pedigree!

A pedigree details a dog’s ancestry. You may have also heard it called a dog’s “papers.” It usually contains the dog’s name and registration number. It may include the same information for the dog’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. Of course, this information about a dog is not always known. A pedigree might have very little information.

People purchasing a dog to breed or as a show animal often look at its pedigree very closely. The offspring of show dog champions might be expected to follow in the footsteps—pawsteps?—of its parents. Ancestry information can also tell an owner what to expect from a dog’s health. It can warn of any genetic problems.

Of course, having a particular pedigree doesn’t always mean much. Just because a dog’s parents were champion show dogs doesn’t mean their offspring will be the same. Likewise, having extremely healthy parents doesn’t mean that a puppy won’t have health problems.

Dogs also don’t need a pedigree in order to be great pets. Visit any animal shelter and you’ll find dogs with mixed ancestry or of unknown lineage. Often, they will make perfectly healthy and maybe even show champion quality pets. If that’s the case, why would you want a pedigreed dog?

Some people like particular breeds because of how they look. Others know that some breeds are very good with children or are skilled hunters. If you’re looking for a particular breed of dog for certain qualities, the pedigree will be important to you.

If you’re just looking for a faithful companion, though, you don’t need a dog with a pedigree. You can find great pets just waiting to be adopted at local animal shelters. Don’t forget to give these dogs a chance to win your heart when choosing a new family pet.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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