What is purebred, pedigree and registered breeders?

Proceed with caution.

Purebred, Pedigree, or Registered

The words “purebred” or “pedigree” are often used by those selling puppies to prove their pups are not a crossbreed. But what do they mean? Purebred means the dog has been bred only to those of it’s own breed. In other words, it’s a Labrador, bred with a Labrador. Or at least dogs who look like Labradors anyway. There are no guarantees with a purebred, though. You get a dog who looks like a Labrador, not guaranteed 100% Labrador. Pedigree means that you can trace the dog’s lineage back through the generations. Labrador, to a Labrador, to a Labrador. A pedigree dog does come with a greater guarantee that it is 100% Labrador. But it doesn’t mean the breeder is registered. People can purchase a pet puppy from a breeder, and get the pedigree papers, and then breed with that dog. The puppies will be pedigree, but not registered. A registered breeder has agreed to operate to a set of standards that are higher than those set by the Shire or Council or RSPCA.

If the person you’re buying from is claiming to be a Registered breeder, then there are ways you can cross reference the validity of that claim. Checking with their state’s controlling body should be your first step. Until recently, there was only one registration organisation for dogs: the ANKC. In the last decade several others have been developed, the main one of which is the MDBA (Master Dog Breeders and Associated). There are others, not all of which deal solely with purebred dogs and not all of these registries produce certified pedigrees.

All Registered breeders with purebred registries, such as the ANKC and the MDBA, will have a breeding “prefix”. This is a name specific to that one breeder, and that word appears at the start of every pedigree name for the pups they have bred. For example, everything we breed starts with “VALINKA”. Our breeding prefix is “VALINKA”, and all our details are registered with the MDBA under that name. If you contact the registry your breeder is claiming to be a member of, you can check whether the prefix you’ve been given is real, or faked. Some sneaky scams will steal a breeder’s prefix and membership number, but a phone call to the registry can usually clear up whether you’ve been speaking with the real breeder or not. While the MDBA has one main office in Australia, ANKC has controlling bodies in each state (such as DogsWest, DogsNSW, and so on). So don’t be afraid to check them out.

There are other registries out there who deal with crossbreeds, and attempt to legitimise backyard breeders. To say we have mixed feelings about this is an understatement, but all the registries seem to have one main goal at their heart. To make the breeder RESPONSIBLE. They may not guarantee your puppy is a purebred Labrador, or that the parents have had all their checks and scans and scorings done prior to breeding, but they try to ensure that pups are bred in an ethical way, in a safe and healthy environment, and that the mother dogs are not overbred. Most registries are trying to stamp out puppy farms, and scams. The crossbred registries cannot produce pedigree certificates, but they are a step in the right direction when it comes to control.

Most states now have in place some form of the “Puppy Farming Legislation”. Western Australia was late to the party in this, but the legislation is far from perfect. Now the power of whether to allow a person to become a breeder has been placed in the hands of the individual shires and councils. Some councils will develop the policy that anyone who has a fenced yard, with water and food bowls, and shelter for their dog, can become registered as a breeder and they can, essentially, do what they like. This is an enormous step backwards in the process of stamping out unethical breeding. The owner of any dog, that is over a certain age and not sterilised/desexed, must register as a breeder. So anyone with a bitch that didn’t really intend to breed, but didn’t want them desexed, is now a “registered breeder”… so why not do some breeding? Since they’re already registered… Instead of stamping out puppy farming and backyard breeding it will have the opposite effect, and will encourage MORE people to breed. The legislation legitimizes the backyard breeder and makes them a “registered breeder”, with a council supplied breeder number to prove it. There are no controls, no regulations, on the breeding process. Just a paper trail to make them legitimate.

Puppy farms have always been an illegal enterprise, hidden and obscure, so making the mum-and-dad backyard breeders become registered does nothing to stop the practice. Councils, the police, and the RSPCA have always jumped on puppy farms as soon as they find them. They are against the law. Their tactics are underhanded and sneaky, and that won’t change.

Organisations in Australia

Dog registration bodies

For over a hundred years, there has only been one registration body for pedigree dogs within Australia. The ANKC, the Australian National Kennel Council. The ANKC is administered through its member bodies for each state. In WA that is DogsWest. They have evolved and changed over the years, but their base ethos has remained the same. To provide pedigrees to track and trace the lineage of all pedigree dogs within their registry, and to ensure dogs are kept, treated, housed, trained, bred, and raised in an ethical way. Founded by the aristocracy, it has maintained an air of authority to the present day.

Recently, there has been a change in the wind. Other pedigree dog registries have started cropping up. While the ANKC certainly has the monopoly on being the oldest of the registries, it is no longer the only choice.

The most popular of the new kids on the block is the MDBA, Master Dog Breeders and Associates. ANKC pedigrees can be transferred to the MDBA, so the consistency of lineage is maintained. They provide certified pedigrees, complete with individual registration numbers, to all puppies born under their registry. This registry arose mostly due to breeder dissatisfaction with the ANKC. In some dog breeds, certain colours, or coat types, are considered “undesirable” and cannot be registered to be bred from. If breeders wished to breed with these undesirable colours, under ANKC regulations, they were forced to lie on pedigree papers regarding the colour/coat type of their dogs, in order to continue breeding. For other breeders, the restrictive nature of some ANKC policies were too much for them to continue breeding under. Although the ANKC does not like the other registries, and will not associate with them, nor accept their pedigrees as legitimate, nor allow dogs from other registries to be transferred to the ANKC, at the end of the day they both offer similar services and provide very similar restrictions to their breeders. They want to ensure the health and wellbeing of the dogs on their registry, and to make sure those who are registered as breeders actually know what they are doing and have a solid understanding of the breeding process.

So, what does that all mean for the puppy buyer? At the end of the day, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a Labrador: a dog who looks like a Labrador? Or a dog that has been ethically bred to a minimum standard? Or a guaranteed purebred dog supplied with pedigree papers, parental history, a lineage, and an assurance that the parents have been tested and scored to prove their fitness for breeding? If the last option mentioned here is what you’re after, then your breeder should be registered with one of the purebred registries. The best of those are the ANKC and MDBA.

Get in touch

Contact us


A. 82 Peters Road, Muchea, 6501
(Prideland Kennels and Cattery)
M. PO Box 237, Muchea, 6501

Phone or email

P. (08) 9571 0677
M. +61 414 898 236