- Genotype: The inherited genetic material of an individual, ½ of which will be seen on the individual and ½ of which will be recessive and perhaps, unseen but carried by the individual.
- Phenotype: That visible portion of the individual seen through body type, conformation and temperament.
- Progenitor: That individual who came before and lent genes to the makeup of a puppy.
- Progeny: Any or all litter member(s) resulting from the mating of a sire and dam.
Pedigrees offer an organized list of the ancestors of an individual whether he or she be a domesticated animal, canine or person. It lists ancestor names in rank order depending on the closeness of the ancestor to the individual about whom the pedigree is written. In people this is sometimes called a “Family Tree”. In dogs and most animals like horses and cattle it is called a Pedigree. Usually written graphically in rank order from left to right, it can list all sorts of information about the ancestor. Registry information, birth date, sex and color are just a few of the bits of data that can be found.
The most obvious answer to this question for the Tibetan Spaniel owner is the Tibbies.net database and this answer will be explored later in more detail. However, most breeds of dog do not have such a wide open research mode available to them. Other means are available with considerably more depth of inquiry, and considerably more effort expended. Good sources include The AKC Stud Book Register, the AKC Pedigree Service, private Pedigree Services, Foreign Country Stud Book registers, Breed Club Year Books both foreign and native, and private collections of pedigree records.
Published monthly, the AKC records the names and immediate lineage of each and every AKC registered animal used for breeding within the United States and abroad. Each approved application for litter registration sent to the AKC and containing the name of a previously unpublished sire or dam generates an entry into the AKC Stud Book. With subsequent use of this same dog or bitch, there is no further listing of the animal. However, this stud book entry location is recorded on the individual registration forms of all resulting registered get. This appears as a hyphenated number in parentheses following the name of the sire and dam listed in that registration. This number represents the month and year date of the issue of the AKC Stud Book Register where that parent is listed together with the names and registration numbers of his or her own sire and dam. That sire and dam are listed along with the same paranthesed date of their parent’s Stud Book entry. Thus a long list of pedigree entries can be gathered by simply adding up the entries to form a pedigree of nearly any length dating back to the original acceptance of foundation dogs accepted by the AKC as root stock sires and dams of that breed. For the Tibetan Spaniel, these are the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America’s Stud Book of foundation dogs accepted into the AKC Stud Book Register in January of 1984 and published in the December 1983 AKC Stud Book. Once becoming a permanently Registered AKC Breed, Stud books are closed except for foreign registry animals added upon importation of the individual from another acceptable import country or the breeding of a previously AKC registered animal to a foreign registry animal. Some breeds, like the Australian Shepherd registry, go through a period of time with open registry books capable of accepting new registry applicants. This is most often done when the country of origin or the breed is one with foundation stock still being gathered from various other native or foreign registries but purebred status is not in question.
The American Kennel Club maintains an information exchange relationship with multiple countries of origin of the breeds it registers. The trick here is that the foreign registry must maintain records that meet the AKCs exacting criteria for accuracy and breed integrity regulations within it’s own record keeping practices. As a result some county’s registries are not eligible for a pedigree exchange with the AKC. Another problem arises when similar breeds are registered under differing breed names in the foreign registry. In the early days of the 20th century the English Kennel Club considered Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu the same breed, and several Shih Tzu were bred into Lhasa lines in that country. Many American breeders considered these bloodlines tainted and compromised by the few breedings made between the breeds during that time period.
Researching a pedigree is not terribly difficult until one runs into foreign registered stock imported to the USA. Foreign registry animal’s pedigrees are only maintained through the AKC on a three to four generation basis, so any heritage beyond that lineage is sometimes hard to locate and sometimes not available at all. Dogs like the Tibetan Spaniel Indian import, Tashi Dordje, have more “Unknown from Tibet” beyond their parent’s names than any other entry. Research of this kind is time consuming and requires access to multiple issues of the Stud Book Registers of multiple countries. Thus, researching a pedigree by ones self can be a daunting task.