Friday, May 24, 2024

What does a pedigree tell you?

Social media is fast becoming a preferred method of communication for many.  It’s a quick and efficient way to announce show wins, new titles earned and litters recently produced.  Depending on the proficiency of the individual, online research can provide a wealth of information.  While it is a helpful source, the internet does not tell the entire story of a collie’s history.  Reviewing a collie’s pedigree can show not only a list of impressive names in the the collie’s lineage, but it paints a picture of the temperament and soundness of that family of  dogs by listing all the titles they have earned over the years.

Sophie, Marchello’s Heaven Sent, THDA, CGC, FDC, TKN, RATN, VC, proudly posing after earning her RATN title

What is the first thing we can learn from a pedigree? Each dog’s pedigree contains the kennel name of the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.  The pedigree also shows the dog’s registration number, official name and date of birth.  And if you have the names of those three generations, you can typically find the pedigrees of most of your dog’s ancestors and the titles they earned as well.  For example, with collies, this detailed information will show if there were many collies with herding titles, along with championships earned in conformation, in their ancestry.  

The titles that have been earned show that the dog conforms to the breed standard, a standard that was carefully developed for that purebred dog breed.  It also shows that the animal is potentially able to compete in a variety of competitions, and if they are still able to do the tasks they were originally bred to perform.  These titles listed in the pedigree are all abbreviated, and there are hundreds of them.  Most of the titles start with the novice, or beginner title, and the dogs can earn additional titles by advancing through more difficult tests. The most common type of titles that collies are earning are:

  • CH - Conformation Champion
  • GCH - Grand Champion
  • CGC - Canine Good Citizen
  • BN - Beginner Novice (obedience)
  • RN - Rally Novice
  • NA - Novice Agility
  • RATN - Novice Barn Hunt
  • HT - Herding Tested
  • SWN - Scent Work Novice
  • THDN - Therapy Dog Novice
  • TKN - Trick Dog Novice
  • ROM - Register of Merit  (earned when a Sire produces 20 Champion offspring or when a Dam produces 7 Champion offspring)
Ryder, posing after earning his THDX, Therapy Dog Excellent title

If you are interested in obtaining a purebred dog, the pedigree can provide a host of key details about that family of dogs.  The pedigree, along with breed specific health clearances, can help you choose a healthy dog with a great temperament for your next companion.  And for those who love researching the history of dog breeds, the pedigree is a great place to begin.


  1. Mom could have gotten my pedigree but she chose not to go that route. You Collies are all winners!

  2. The collie bred is near and dear to my heart. My grandmother had a Collie named Lady, she looked just like your Ryder. She was the sweetest dog and oh how I loved her puppies.
    Hugs Cecilia

  3. That was very interesting. I always wondered about how those details played into the pedigree.

  4. Chaplin: "Somewhere around here, we have a pedigree for our brother Tucker who we never met!"
    Charlee: "We wonder what Dennis's pedigree would have looked like, if he and his brothers hadn't ended up being dumped in a canyon out in the desert ..."