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Did you know...?

Maltese are one of the most popular breeds among spectators at dog shows. They are frequent winners in the Toy Group, in which they are shown, and have an excellent record in Best In Show Competition.

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Papers and Pedigrees

What does it really mean when someone says, "My dog has papers." In some cases, it means they are housebreaking their puppy and have newspapers all over the floor! But, in most cases, they are referring to their dog's registration with the AKC or other registry. Does this mean that their dog is a certified purebred of its breed? You might be surprised with the answer to that question!

So what does all this business about papers and pedigrees mean?

Here's some "Q and A's" that might help explain what getting "papers" for your new pet really means:

  What does "having papers" mean?
  "Having papers" means that your puppy is registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), or one, both or all of three registry organizations. As a breeder, I chose to use AKC because I believe that their standards are higher than the other registries. For example, AKC requires DNA certification on all studs used over five times a year, which helps guarantee that the sire is indeed of the bloodline shown on registration paperwork. Also, because they have started a voluntary DNA registation of all females (not mandatory yet, but may become so), when you receive a puppy from a mother and father who have both had DNA testing, you are guaranteed that the bloodlines shown on your registration are valid and true. The papers you have on your registered puppy mean that the puppy has been reported to the registry as having come from a mother and father that were also registered with that registry. Without DNA certification, it does not mean that the puppy indeed came from that mother and father, it just means that the puppy was reported to the registry as such.

  So what is a "registered pedigree?"
  A pedigree simply means that there is record of the ancestry of your dog filed at a registry database. There are lots of places that you can contact to get a record of your puppy's pedigree; however, they all get their information for the research from the American Kennel Club Stud Book Registry.

  Isn't my puppy purebred if I have registration papers from the AKC?
  No, it does not necessarily mean that your puppy is a purebred. Unfortunately, there are such things as "puppy mills." These types of breeders have been exposed, time after time, for registering a litter under a father or mother that never actually sired or gave birth to that litter. How do they do this? Well, each time a breeder registers the birth of a litter, the breeder contacts AKC and states, "three boys, two girls in this litter," gives the AKC the sire's name and registration number and the dam's name and registration number. The AKC sends litter registration forms for each of the puppies. Now, let's say there really were, in fact, only two boys and two girls, or that one of those puppies dies. The breeder now has more litter registration paperwork than is needed, and that breeder can now use the leftover papers to register puppies that either are not purebred puppies, have been bred inline too closely (brother/sister, father/daughter, mother/son), or are from parents that are not AKC registered because they could not meet the qualifications for AKC registration. It is impossible for the AKC to check every litter born to see if the breeder is honest. So, having AKC registration papers does not necessarily mean that your puppy is purebred Maltese.

  How do I determine the quality of my Maltese?
  DNA testing by the AKC will help prove parentage of your puppy. Once you have received your puppy's DNA proof of parentage, you can also take the now confirmed pedigree information and research your Maltese ancestry.

If you purchase your Maltese from a breeder, check to make sure the breeder participates in DNA testing. DNA testing is just recently available, so to check the ancestry of your puppy for quality, you can only go so far back in the ancestry if the ancestors of your puppy are deceased are no longer available for DNA testing. The AKC is constantly working to upgrade the integrity and quality of their records, and DNA testing will confirm without question that the ancestry of each new generation is clean. Purchasing your Maltese from a reputable, ethical breeder who voluntarily DNA tests both males and females helps ensure that the puppy you purchase is high quality and healthy.

I participate voluntarily to have all my puppies DNA tested, as well as their parents, where possible. A Maltese puppy purchased from Anna comes with AKC registration paper and a health guarantee. All prospective adopting parents are welcome to personally meet and inspect the parents of the puppies, the environment in which they are whelped, and review any and all records of ancestry and DNA certification on the parents. DNA certification for the puppies is at the discretion of the new owner; however, it is highly recommended that the new puppy receive DNA certification from the AKC to maintain the integrity of the breed in the stud books. DNA Kits can be ordered from the AKC on their Web site, or by phone.

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