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Purebred dog test: how to tell if a dog is purebred (7 ways)

If you want to identify your dog's breed, you've come to the right place. In this guide you will learn how to tell if a dog is a purebred, or not!

How to tell if a dog is purebred is a question we often get asked. With the recent popularity of cross-breeding and the fact that there are numerous backyard breeders out there, it can be hard to check and prove whether a dog is pure or not.

Here at TheCollienois, we decided to do some research and come up with 7 different ways to tell if the dog you want to buy or adopt is purebred.

Let’s get started.

How to Tell if a Dog is Purebred? 

The best way to tell if a dog is purebred is undoubtedly by checking the pedigree papers, aka your pup’s family tree. However, If you do not have any papers or health / DNA background, you can always talk to your vet or do a professional DNA test.

Purebred Definition – What does Purebred Mean? 

How to Tell if a Dog is Purebred - identify the breed of a dog - Purebred Dog Test (2)

A purebred is defined as a domestic animal that is bred by parents of his own breed. The definition simply entails that a purebred puppy has the same breed parents; for instance, a Border Collie is bred with another Border Collie. 

A purebred dog subsidizes predictability. 

It means a puppy will look exactly like his parents with respect to size, color, weight, coat texture, and temperament. 

Generally, all pedigrees have the same level of temperament, but it can vary from one individual to another.  

Purebred dogs are a little expensive because breeders cover up all expenses such as medical, food supplements, vaccination, timely check-up, stud bills, and more. 

Seven Ways to tell if your dog is a purebred 

How to Tell if a Dog is Purebred - identify the breed of a dog - Purebred Dog Test (3)

There are a few reliable ways to check if your dog is a purebred:

1. Arrange a DNA test

How to tell if a dog is purebred

The answer is quite simple! Arrange your pup’s DNA test!

Many places offer online services, or you can even send off your dog to a laboratory or simply order an Embark Dog DNA Test Kit for breed identification and genetic health screening.

Read more about it in this guide: What breed is my dog

Reliable Dog DNA Test
Embark - Discover Your Dog's Ancestry With The Help Of Professionals!

The most accurate & highest-rated dog DNA kit on the market enables you to learn about your dog’s breed, ancestry, health, relatives, and more. The Embark DNA test looks at over 350 breeds and more than 210 genetic health risks using a DNA genotypic platform.

You’ll receive all the health and breeding information of your dog within the interval of 2 weeks after taking just three simple steps. Activate, Swab, and Send. 

  • Easy to use – Simply swab your dog’s cheek, send and wait for the results!
  • Accurate and professionally concluded results – Get information about your pup’s breed and genetic health risks to help predict and prevent potential health issues.
  • Embark is backed by world-class scientists and researchers.
  • Embark is the most accurate dog DNA kit on the market.
  • The database contains over 350 dog breeds and over 210 genetic health risks.
What Do We Think: ​​Embark is the best kit for those dog parents who want to determine their puppy's breed and know their genetic health profile. Also, for all those dog owners who want to confirm the breed right after adoption, this breed test kit is for them.
Learn more about your dog's health Our Review
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

2. Compare your dog with AKC’s breed standards

Every dog breed has specific physical or morphological characteristics, productive performance, or genetics for which they are known. The breed description is known as a breed standard. 

Most breed standards integrate pictures demonstrating specific features and their description, personality types, and distinctive peculiarities. 

To reach a verdict on whether your dog is purebred, you can compare him with the breed standards. However, purebreds can be mispointed when it comes right down to their color. 

They can be a pedigree with a splotch of colors on their chest and feet that a breed standard doesn’t entail. This surely doesn’t mean they are not pedigree. 

Comparing puppies with the breed standard is a perfect pick for getting a general idea of what type of dog breed you have, but it can be sophistical sometimes. 

– Big List of breed standards –

3. Consult your vet

An experienced veterinarian can give the utmost idea about your pup’s genesis. They have seen all dog breeds coming to their doorstep and treating their breed-specific conditions and medical concerns. 

All dog breeds come with their own health backpack; for instance, German Shepherds are prone to vision problems, eczema, hip dialysis, and progressive paralysis. Whereas Golden Retrievers are susceptible to cancer disease.   

In summation, your veterinarian can determine your pup’s origin by looking at his health characteristics. 

4. Check his pedigree papers (aka the family tree)

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes 184 dog breeds. You can uncover your dog’s type by taking a glance over personality traits and visual markers shown in the breed standard of AKC. 

If you have a colossal feathery dog, flip through the Newfoundland dogs, Bernese mountain dogs, Saint Bernard dogs descriptions. If you’re still not sure, you can check through the pictures, personality attributes, and physical description.  

When it comes to purebred dogs, AKC will only register them as pedigrees because they are more likely to be pure breed. 

They give details of all five generations of your pup’s ancestors, revealing exactly who they were and the changes that occur in their lifespan.  

Checking the pedigree papers, aka the family tree of your pup, is undoubtedly the best way to know if a dog is purebred.  

How to read a pedigree?

In this video you can learn how to easily read a dog’s pedigree:

5. Consult an expert

A dog specialist or a professional breeder has a comprehensive insight into all dog species. They can guide you about your dog’s type, medical conditions, personality traits, and genetic issues. 

Consult an expert to acquire all information and to know if your dog is purebred.   

6. Predicting based on physical characteristics  

Purebred dogs were cultivated with selective breeding, which means dogs with specific traits and genes are bred; however, dogs with different traits were not bred. 

Purebred dogs are distinguished from other dog breeds with their predicting physical traits such as size, color, coat, and weight. Some of the characteristics are penned down. 

6.1 Temperament 

Purebred dogs have been bred for generations with specific traits and temperaments. Their temperament depends upon genetics.  

If you’re looking for a high-energy, friendly, and high-spirit dog, purebreds can be the perfect option. The purebred dog’s temperament is more likely to be predicted when compared with a mixed breed. 

6.2 Working behavior

Are you seeking a guard dog? A hunting dog? Dog to herd sheep? Pull a sled? Or a dog to dig for truffles? 

Purebred dogs are the one! 

They have an absolute working behavior and are a great choice for specific functions. 

6.3 Coat

Every purebred dog comes with a hidden coat color. However, the coat color may also vary as per their genetic characteristics.   

6.4 Colour, size, and weight

Each physical trait depends upon the dog’s parents and ancestors. Read more about dog’s physical traits in this guide.

7. Additional identifying factors

The additional identifying factor is unluckily the health concerns that come along with a purebred. A purebred is prone to many health concerns where an owner gets stuck. 

For instance, Golden Retrievers shed heavily, and they need weekly maintenance to control shedding.

Other health concerns include eye disease, joint disorder, crippling bones, and much more.  

Frequently asked questions 

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What qualifies a dog as purebred?

Dogs whose parents and ancestors belong to the same breed are referred to as purebred dogs. In other words, the five generations appear to belong to the same family tree and confirm a specific breed standard. Dogs with above 87.5% of full-blood genetics are qualified as purebred. 

Can a DNA test prove a dog is purebred?

A DNA test cannot directly reveal whether a dog is purebred or not. However, it can uncover the parentage of a dog and how closely they correlate with the genetic features of the breed. 

How can I prove my dog is purebred without papers?

The registration process cannot change the dog’s genetics or DNA. He can be a purebred without papers, and he can have papers without being a purebred. The DNA test can reveal either your puppy is really purebred. 
Note: Use Embark Dog DNA Test Kit to identify a dog’s breed, type, and variety. 

What dogs are not purebred?

Mixed or hybrid dog breeds are not recognized as purebred. They are the combination of two or more purebred dogs, for instance, mongrel or mutt dog breeds. 

Where to find/buy/adopt purebred dogs? 

Surprisingly, purebred dogs are everywhere. You can find or adopt purebred dogs from rescue groups, shelters, and newspapers. You can buy them from a breeder or a pet store. 

Purebred and Mixed Breed – What is the Difference?

A purebred is a dog of a specific breed, whose parents and grandparents are also of that same breed. A mixed breed is a dog whose parents are of two different breeds. The term “mixed breed” or “mutts” refers to the fact that they are not purebreds. There are many different mixed breeds, and each has its own unique temperament and appearance. Mixed breeds may be able to inherit the best qualities of both breeds, but they can also inherit the worst qualities as well.

Purebred dogs are bred by professional breeders who carefully select which dogs to breed together in order to produce puppies with desired traits and characteristics. This results in a more predictable outcome in terms of appearance and temperament, but it also means that purebreds are more likely to inherit genetic diseases and disorders.

Mixed breed dogs come from two different bloodlines, so their lineage is less predictable. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what qualities you’re looking for in a dog. Some people prefer mixed breeds because they may be less prone to certain genetic health problems, and they often have more diverse personalities than purebreds.

How A Vet Identifies a Dog Breed from Characteristics?

A veterinarian can help you determine your dog’s breed based on physical characteristics and temperament. A DNA test can also be done to confirm the breed. If you have a purebred dog, its registration certificate will list the breed. Some tests are done by looking at the markings on a canine’s coat and comparing them to known breeds. Others look at the shape of the head and body or take measurements.

What is the best dog DNA test that Vets recommend?

The best dog DNA test that vets recommend is the one that can accurately determine the breed of your dog. This test can be done by a veterinarian or a canine DNA testing company. The results of the test will tell you if your dog is a purebred or if he or she is a mixed breed. This information can be helpful for dog owners who want to know more about their pup’s heritage. It can also be used to determine if your dog is at risk for certain health conditions that are common in certain breeds.

What are the dog’s registration papers?

Registration papers are also called a pedigree. They are proof that your dog is a purebred and has been registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) or United Kennel Club (UKC). Puppies must be registered with the AKC or UKC before they go to their new homes. If you are thinking of getting a puppy, ask the breeder for the pup’s registration papers. The papers may also give you some information about the dog’s temperament.


How to Tell if a Dog is Purebred - identify the breed of a dog - Purebred Dog Test (4)

How to tell if a dog is purebred is not rocket science. Any expert veterinarian or a professional breeder can reveal the answer simply by looking at a dog’s traits and health concerns. 

Though purebreds are good companions and hosts, they are prone to several health diseases, including cancer, digestive disorder, liver and kidney disease, and whatnot. 

In a nutshell, purebreds are a good choice if you know which traits you want in a dog, if you’re willing to accept all potential health problems, and if you’re ready to pay a bag of bucks for a cute little fur baby. 

Let’s close this blog post with the easiest way to determine your dog’s breed.

And that is: DNA Test Embark!

Reliable Dog DNA Test
Embark - Discover Your Dog's Ancestry With The Help Of Professionals!
The most accurate & highest-rated dog DNA kit on the market enables you to learn about your dog’s breed, ancestry, health, relatives, and more. The Embark DNA test looks at over 350 breeds and more than 210 genetic health risks using a DNA genotypic platform.
Learn more about your dog's health Our Review
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

For what reasons? If that’s still a question, here are some.

  • It’s a cheek swab-type test. Non-invasive and painless!
  • Affordable
  • Capable of distinguishing between 350 dog breeds

I highly acknowledge the time and effort you put into reading the article. I hope this adds value to you and your puppy’s life. 

P.S. If you require any further details on the specified topic of how to tell if a dog is purebred, feel free to contact me!

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Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am an Italian blogger, lover of pizza, travel, and dogs. For several years, I've been studying and working with dogs; I immensely enjoy helping dog owners find peace and balance in their lives. My goal with this blog is to share with you everything I know and have learned through my personal experiences with my dogs.

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