Working/Herding Stockdogs

Buzz Words, Registration Pitfalls
And Terms Used Or Misused

by Esther Ekman

Registries: What Exactly Do They Mean?

In an earlier article on "breed selection", I had mentioned one of your decisions was whether you wanted a pure bred breed or a cross bred. I mentioned the cross breds only in the context of a working stock dog for your own place. Cross breds cannot be entered in shows or most performance events involving titles. I didn't go into detail on getting a cross bred pet because I figured most people could go to a shelter or the newspaper ads and pick up a mixed breed without anyone's help.

If your breed selection was one of the pure bred breeds, there are a few pitfalls concerning registries. If you expect to show or go for performance titles at AKC shows, your dog MUST be REGISTERED with AKC (The American Kennel Club). Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Shepherds and Border Collies do have full AKC registration and can compete for championships and in all performance events. If the dog is imported, it must have been registered in their export country with an AKC recognized registry in order to transfer to the AKC registry. Australian Kelpies are in the Miscellaneous classification in the AKC and must apply for an individual ILP number to compete in the Miscellaneous conformation class at shows. They cannot compete for championship points or enter herding events, they can compete in obedience and achieve an obedience championship. All four can compete in agility, flyball etc. All can enter and achieve a CGC title (Canine Good Citizen) and can be tested for a Certified Therapy Dog title.

The United Kennel Club and the States Kennel Club (Two different organizations.) both have sanctioned dog shows and obedience trials, with their own championships, set of rules and titles. Both recognize breeds not currently eligible with AKC. You have to register your dog individually with them to be eligible for shows, but they don't have a system of litter registrations etc. I know you can use your AKC reg. certificate to qualify, but I'm not sure what other organizations they would accept as proof of pure bred status.

Even though the AKC has recognized the Australian Shepherd, ASCA (The Australian Shepherd Club of America) is a separate entity with their own registry, shows, working trials, rules and titles. (Once the AKC gives a breed full recognition, the stud book is not kept open for very long.) You would have to check if it is still open if you want to buy an ASCA only reg. pup and want to transfer to AKC reg. If the pup is AKC only reg., you would have to check with ASCA to see if you could double register the pup. A lot of breeders are double registering their dogs. Most ASCA working trials are all breed affairs. Any dog can enter and compete for ASCA titles.

There are a couple of registries for Kelpies. The WKI (Working Kelpies Inc.) is the American extension of the WKC (Working Kelpie Council) in Australia. They are a specialty club and have annual meetings, with a get together and working events. They also have regional groups. They were using NSDR (National Stock Dog Registry), but were dissatisfied with their service and are now using the North American Australian Kelpie Registry that was formed for Kelpies only. Kelpies are also registered in many foreign countries in world recognized kennel clubs.

Border Collies have several organizations mostly dedicated to working trials with their own rules etc. There are a couple of registries also, but the same would apply as to AKC registration, as with the Aussies. Border Collies are fully recognized in many country's kennel clubs. The same rules would apply to an import as with the ACD's.

Most all AKC recognized breeds (and more) are recognized and registered in CKC (Canadian Kennel Club. Not Continental KC.), most European countries, Australia/New Zealand and some others. Imports can be registered with AKC as long as the paperwork is in order.

There are a whole group of commercial registries in the U.S. that will register most any breed of dog, but AKC CKC, RASKC, ASCA, WKI or almost all other kennel clubs will not recognize any dog registered with these organizations as a transfer to their stud books, because they do not meet their requirements. For instance, if you had such a dog and wanted to export it to Canada, Australia etc., the dog could not be registered or shown in that country. The kennel clubs do this because they have a standard of breed integrity that must be adhered to in procedure and they could not guarantee the procedures of these organizations. (For example: When the ACDCA (The Australian Cattle Dog Club of America) applied for full AKC recognition of the ACD's, in 1969, we were required to start our own registry and all dogs had to trace back to exports registered in Australia. This was because the breed had been shown and registered in their country of origin since the late 1800's and our registry had to be a continuation of this unbroken line.)

The AKC does have an ILP (Indefinite Listing Privilege) procedure for individuals of a recognized breed who through no fault of the owner did not get registered. The dog can compete in performance events only. You can apply on a certain form, with colored pictures of the dog required. As long as the dog looks like a reasonable example of the breed and conforms to the breed standard requirements, (For example: An ACD must have a tail.) and you have proof of neutering or spaying, they will issue an ILP number. A dog registered with one of the commercial registries could qualify because the AKC will even accept a dog of unknown parentage, as most shelter dogs would be so. (This procedure is a bit different than for the Miscellaneous breeds, they do not accept "unknown parentage" and do not have to be neutered.)

Terms Used Or Misused:

"Papered": The term usually means the dog is registered with some organization, any organization. So see the "papers" before commitment and be sure it states in the contract the full name of the registry and even though you should get the "papers" the same day you pickup the pup, if you don't, make sure the contract states a time limit when you will receive them. (AKC requires that a litter must be registered by six months of age and the blue slip must be processed before the dog is a year old.)

"No Papers": In the past some breeders would sell their pet/non breeding pups with no AKC registration slips, so if the new owners did not adhere to a non breeding contract, the pups could not be registered. This is not necessary with the new Limited Registration procedure. I would ask why pups would be sold without papers, the answer might amaze you, but.... listen carefully, very carefully.

"Pure Bred, But No Papers": Sure.... and I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn that you should buy. There might be an exception, but the last time I got curious and called an ad in the newspaper that was under this heading, the pups were anything but pure bred. Their sire was a "pure bred, but not registered" Australian Shepherd and their dam was a cross between a "registered ACD" and a "registered Jack Russell terrier". But.... They were all pure breds. Actually there has been a time or two that I felt sorry for the puppy seller because they had been suckered into believing some song and dance routine about why the dog they bought (and then bred) was not registered.

"$200 No Papers: $300 W/Papers": Wrong.... Wrong.... Wrong.... I'm not sure whether other registries have rules on this subject, but it is against AKC rules to "sell" papers. Each pup should be evaluated according to their individual quality. The same pup's price should not be different according to what you may want to do with the pup, or whether you want the papers or not. A show potential pup could be sold to a pet home, but a pet pup will never make show potential status. (There are exceptions, but standard rule is no.) Many times you'll see males $200, females $300. That isn't really right either, even though there are usually more males in a litter than females. Again each pup's price should reflect their quality, not their sex, but some people do this instead of, or in addition to, evaluation because sometimes there are more people who want females and they can get away with charging more.

"Registered": Same rules apply as in the "papered" section. They more or less mean the same thing, but "papered" is an older term. Again, be an informed buyer and know which registry and why. Some of those explanations will amaze you too. Note to the wise, especially for people looking for working line dogs, double check with a club or a another person in that breed, if you don't have good references from people you know about any seller.

"Pedigreed": This may mean the same as all of the above. A pedigree is just a list of the dog's ancestors. In the usual sense of the word, it is meant to mean pure bred, but a list of ancestors are just that. It doesn't mean they all have to be of the same breed or any specific breed. Most breeders will give you your pup's pedigree when you buy a pup. Or send you one when you inquire about the litter. It will list titles the dogs have won and sometimes a little information on the dogs themselves. (Color, achievements etc.) A pedigree is not a registry slip, but it should be an honest list of the dog's real ancestors. Having a long pedigree is impressive, but really doesn't mean as much as knowing what the dogs were like and what qualities they had to contribute to the pup. Breeders can give you that information. I've often thought that dogs from working lines should have their working styles listed as well as their names and titles.

"Champion Sired/Dammed Or Champion Lines": This would mean that the sire or dam of the litter is a show champion, usually shown on the pedigree as "Ch." Champion lines would mean that there are champions in the pedigree somewhere. It does not guarantee that the pup will become a champion or be of championship quality. It can mean if you buy a show potential pup of this type of pedigree, that there may be higher odds that the pup will do well, because several generations have done well. Genes are peculiar little things though, sometimes crossing two dogs with beautiful pedigrees can be a disaster and two so/so dogs can produce a beauty.

"Working Lines": This should mean that the litter's ancestors were working stock/trial dogs. It does not guarantee the pup will work or even be of a quality to work well. Same rules apply here as to the champion section. (It's like part of my lines are "working" and I try very hard to keep the working ability in my dogs, but I would never say that every dog I've put on the ground will work stock, most, but not all.) Mother Nature can be a real witch, when you think you've got it right, she can throw into the mix something you didn't want/didn't expect and didn't even think was lurking in the background. It's best if you can see a number of the breeder's animals working on stock to evaluate style and working temperament. (Trainability etc.)

One more thought on the buzz word type of person. Just recently it was called to my attention that some breeders of working dogs are advertising working titles that they themselves award at their own sponsored trials. I would think that any "titles" gained in this manner would be easier to achieve, since the handler is working on their place, on their own stock, with their own rules. These people are not doing anything illegal, but the buyer should be aware that impressive sounding titles (Super Grand International/World Supreme Champion of the Universe) are just titles saying the dog has done something. Knowing what that "something" is or isn't is more important than the "impressive" words describing this "something".

OK, go out there and get that super dog!

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