I’ve started the hunt for a breeder for my next Labrador Retriever. I know I want an American Field Lab, which is different from the “English” Lab the standard for the American Kennel club. This time around we’re going for a pure bred. Other than that it’s been almost 15 years since I had to choose a pup and things are a little different.
I started the breeder search on the AKC website where they have a breeder referral and information on dog breeds. I soon realized I have no idea about what all the abbreviations mean.
Let’s take a Labrador retriever as an example and see how to read a dog’s pedigree. Labs are genetically disposed to having joint problems especially hip displasia. Breeders with certify the dame and sire with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). If the parents are certified you can go to OFA website and search for the animal by AKC registered name.
You will get a Limited AKC registration, which means you can enter in any AKC sanctioned events except confirmation or dog shows that are reserved for the breeding standards. Most breeders will make you sign or at least agree to not breed your animal. This gives the breeders control over the bloodlines.
A AKC registered name may have many abbreviations associated to it depending on any competitions the dog has gone through and won or passed test.
For instance: Confirmation titles are as follows (according to AKC):
cH = champion of Record
BIS = Best in Show
BISS = Best in Specialty Show
Confirmation (show) titles appear before the name.
Working, obedience, tracking, agility, field titles and health certifications come after the name.
CGC Canine Good Citizen,
CD Companion Dog,
CDX Companion Dog Excellent,
UD Utility Dog,
UDX Utility Dog Excellent,
OTCH Obedience Trial Champion (this title is placed in front of the dog’s name),
TD Tracking Dog,
TDX Tracking Dog Excellent
VST Variable Surface Tracker,
CT Champion Tracker (appears before dogs name),
TC Temperament Certified,
TT Temperament Tested
NA: Novice Agility,
OA Open Agility,
AX Agility Excellent,
MX Master Agility Excellent
Health Certifications and Other Awards or Titles
These appear on pedigrees after a dog’s name.
OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals: A non-profit registry which issues “arms length” certification on various health concerns including but not limited to Orthopedics.
VWD (Clear, Carrier, Affected): von Willebrand’s Disease
CERF: Canine Eye Registration Foundation
ROM: Register of Merit: Title awarded to the sire or dam for the accomplishments of its progeny.
AOE: Award of Excellence – Qualifications, dog must: 1) be a champion; 2) received a select rating at a GSDCA national show; 3) OFA certified hips & elbows; 4) have earned a performance degree, such as obedience, tracking, agility, etc.
In addition each nation has it’s own set of abbreviations so Dutch is different than America which is different than France, etc.