How to Read a Pedigree
Heather Houlihan at Raised By Wolves has written a wonderful basic guide to how one reads a pedigree. Please have a look.
Show, Obedience & Temperment Titles
Let’s address the question of “What good are titles?”. I hear many people say “Why does it matter if my dog’s parents have titles? I just want a pet – titles are just a lot of fancy stuff for show dogs.” First of all, it *does* matter. Seeing titles lets you know that the breeder of your dog is interested in MORE than just the breeding of dogs – it lets you know that they are serious about improving their breed, not just taking advantage of it. Please, do not be fooled by the claim that this dog has “Champion Lines” or “Champions in the Pedigree”. Seeing a few champions two or three generations back does NOT tell you anything about your dog’s breeder, except that they haven’t done any showing themselves. Knowing that the mother and father of your new pet are conformation Champions (“CH”) increases your chances of getting an adult dog that looks the way the breed you chose is supposed to look – and looks are no doubt part of the reason why you *chose* that breed. Knowing that your new pup’s parents have an obedience, therapy or CGC title lets you know that your pup came from dogs with more than just looks – that his parents were smart, intelligent examples of the breed you’re going to spend the next ten+ years of your life with.
There are different titles for conformation or obedience a dog can obtain through various dog organizations. While it is not necessary for the parents to have any, titles do suggest that the breeder is interested in promoting and improving the breed. There is a saying that “A balanced dog has a title at both ends” – you see, show titles go at the front of a dog’s name, and obedience, temperment and therapy titles go at the end of a dog’s name. Therefore, a dog with titles at both ends is sound in mind AND looks. Here’s an example of an imaginary dog:
BIS, BISS, AKC/CKC Ch. Winning Froggie, UD, CGC
This dog has the following titles:
BIS – this is an UNOFFICIAL Abbreviation for “Best in Show” – it means the dog has won an all breed best in show.
BISS – this is an UNOFFICIAL Abbreviation for “Best in Specialty Show” – it means the dog has been judged the very best dog of it’s breed at a show held for that breed ONLY.
American Kennel Club Conformation title (AKC Ch) – means the dog is a Champion in the USA. Canadian Kennel Club Conformation title (CKC Ch) – means the dog is a Champion in Canada. See below for the explanation of “UD” and “CGC”.
You can learn more about any of these activites in the news group rec.pets.dogs.activities – It covers such Dog events as showing, obedience, agility, etc.
To learn more about Conformation Showing (Which is how a dog becomes a Champion), we STRONGLY suggest you read “Showing in Conformation”, the excellant page by kept by Cindy Tittle Moore. It will also help you to decide if you want to purchase a show dog or a pet quality dog.
The designation “Champion” (May be shortened to “Ch”) means a dog has competed against other dogs of the same breed and has been deemed structurally a good example of the breed. A dog may obtain Championships in more than the country he or she is owned in. Hence, a dog may be known as Am, Can, Berm., Ch So and So’s Old Yeller. This indicates the dog is a champion in America , Canada and Bermuda. Dogs competing at a higher level – sometimes referred to as “Specials” – may have such unofficial designations as BIS or BISS – BIS means the dog has won an all breed Best In Show, BISS means a dog has won a Best In Specialty Show (Held for just one breed).
Canine Good Citizen (CGC)
Temperament tests such as the C.G.C. Program (Canine Good Citizen) are also a statement as to the stability of the parents of a given litter. While not as rigorous as obedience tests, CGC testing still shows the dog in question is mentally fit, and has undergone a series of test to prove this fact.
Therapy Dog Titles
There are several different that test and certify therapy dogs. “TDI” is one the most common and most widely accepted. TDI stands for Therapy Dogs International. A dog must pass a series of tests to ensure that it has a stable temperment, suitable to dealing with a variety of situations, sounds, and people. Dogs are exposed to some of the things they would commonly experience in hospitals, such as wheelchairs, walkers and elevators, as well as loud people. A dog must react calmly and obey very basic obedience commands. A Therapy dog might be used to visit Senior Citizens in nursing homes, AIDS patients in hospices or gravely ill children. It is very rewarding for those who do not have the time to work in serious obedience, but still seek a rewarding hobby to enjoy with their dogs. Even a visit of once a month can make a world of difference to the people you meet. In Canada, a dog may be certified as a “St John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog”, or a “Red Cross Therapy Dog”, as well as by TDI.
Obedience TitlesObedience Trials are a sport and all participants should be guided by the principles of good sportsmanship both in and outside of the ring. The purpose of Obedience Trials is to demonstrate the usefulness of the purebred dogs as a companion of man, not merely the dog’s ability to follow specified routines in the obedience rings. A French Bulldog that achieves an obedience title is one of the best ambassadors of the breed.
Obedience Titles: C.D.; C.D.X.; U.D.; O.T.Ch.; U.D.X.
The First Obedience Title is Companion Dog – or “C.D.”. You compete in Novice classes. Novice A is for someone who has never earned a title or owned a dog with a C.D.; otherwise you enter Novice B.
Novice Class involves 6 exercises: Heeling on leash and a Figure 8, Stand for Exam, Heel Free (off leash), Recall and Group Exercises: a 1 minute sit stay and a 3 minute down stay (your are across the ring).
Dogs must be not less than 6 months of age and not to have won the title of C.D. to enter this class. You must qualify (170 out of 200 points) 3 times under 3 different judges. Qualifying with a score of 195 or higher the first 3 attempts qualifies you for a Dog World Award.
The Second Obedience Title is a C.D.X., Companion Dog Excellent.
Open Class involves 7 exercises: Heel Free and a Figure 8 (off leash), a Drop on Recall, Retrieve on Flat, Retrieve over High Jump, Broad Jump, and Group Exercises: a 3 minute sit stay and a 5 minutes down stay (handler is out of sight).
The Third Obedience Title is a U.D., Utility Dog.
Utility Class involves 6 exercises:
1st Exercise is called the Signal Exercise The handler must give a signal (non-verbal) to the dog “to heel” as the judge gives a heeling pattern. At the end of the heeling pattern, the handler will be asked to “stand your dog, leave”. The handler walks across the ring and at the judge’s signal, the handler gives a signal for the dog “to down”, “to sit”, and “to come”; followed with “finish”. 2nd & 3rd Exercises are called Scent Discrimination A dog must retrieve a scented (handler’s) metal and leather article. These are two separate exercises. The dog must be able to distinguish between the handler’s scent and that of a person who has placed 8 other articles in a cluster approximately 20 feet away. 4th Exercise is a Glove Retrieve Three gloves are placed approximately 15-20 feet away from the handler and dog. The handler must turn and face the glove that the judge has indicated and send the dog to retrieve it. 5th Exercise is The Moving Stand The dog must heel with the handler and then is stopped in standing position. The handler must continue moving (10 feet) and turn around to face the dog. The judge “examines” the dog and instructs the handler “call your dog to heel position”. 6th Exercise is Directed Jumping It is often referred to as “go outs”. The dog and handler are centered at one end of the ring. The dog is sent out and required to turn and sit approximately 20 feet beyond the high jump and bar jump. The dog is given a signal and verbal command to jump a high jump and in the second half of the exercise the dog is sent out again and must execute the other jump. It is scored as one exercise.
Obedience Trial Champion, O.T.Ch.
To be an Obedience Trial Champion a dog must earn 100 points from placements it receives in Open B and/or in Utility B. The team must place 1st or 2nd to earn points. The team must have at least 3 first places; one 1st from Utility B, one 1st from Open B, one more 1st from either class. These 1st places must be earned under 3 different judges. There is a Point Schedule used to determine points awarded for each class. This Obedience Title precedes the dog’s registered name. After earning an O.T.Ch., the owner may only enter “B”classes.
Utility Dog Excellent, U.D.X.
Utility Dog Excellent is a title awarded once a dog has earned both an Open and Utility Title. The team must earn qualifying scores at 10 separate events, qualifying in both Open B and in Utility B. The titles: C.D., C.D.X., U.D., and U.D.X. follow the dog’s registered name. In each case, the higher title will supersede the preceding title in all official AKC records.