Breed registry

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A breed registry, from the word “register”, meaning “list”, comprises sets of documents and records pertaining to animals within a specific breed whose parents are known. A registry can also be known as a stud book or register, and may be as simple as a list of individual animals, or volumes of information on individual animals, such as their lineage and pedigree, drawings and photographs, litter recording documents, health certifications, identifying marks, and more. . The terms "stud book" and "register" are also used to refer to lists of male animals "standing at stud", that is, those animals actively breeding, as opposed to every known specimen of that breed.

To reduce the risk of fraud, registries usually require that animals be registered by their breeders when they are still young

Kennel clubs always maintain registries, either directly or through affiliated breed clubs. Some multi-breed clubs also maintain registries, and there are a few registries that are maintained by other private entities. Working dog organizations also maintain registries.

Registry controversies

Types of registry

Registry, Register, Registrar

Closed stud book

In a closed stud book, the sire and dam plus several generations of purebred ancestors for the individual being recorded must also be registered in an acceptable registry.

Open stud book

In an open stud book, animals can be registered without their parents having been previously registered. This allows breeders to strengthen breeds by including individuals who conform to the breed standard but are from unknown or undocumented origins. Examples of open stud books are registration on conformation, and registry on performance or merit. Some horse clubs allow crossbreds who meet specific criteria to be registered.

Registry on performance or merit

Another form of open registry is a registry based on performance, called in some societies Registry on Merit. In such registries an eligible animal that meets certain criteria is eligible to be registered on merit, regardless of ancestry. The Registration on Merit or ROM may be tied to percentage of bloodline, conformation or classification, or may be based solely on performance.

In horses

Quarterhorse societies use a form of ROM in which horses at certain shows may be sight classified. At qualifying shows in Australia, winning horses receive points for conformation, which are attested to by the judges and recorded in an owner's special book. The points are accumulated to eventually result in a Registry on Merit.

In dogs

Another form of open registry in the purebred dog world is a Registry on Merit. In a Registry on Merit any dog that meets certain performance criteria is eligible for inclusion in the registry, regardless of conformation or ancestry. Registry on Merit is prevalent with sheepdog registries, in particular those of the Border Collie, and some other breeds with a heavy emphasis on working ability.

Crossbreeding and backbreeding

In some registries, breeders may apply for permission to crossbreed other breeds into the line to emphasize certain traits, to keep the breed from extinction or to alleviate problems caused in the breed by inbreeding from a limited set of animals. A related preservation method is backbreeding, used by some equine and canine registries, in which individuals are selectively crossbred, and then crossbred individuals are mated back to purebreds to eliminate undesirable traits acquired through the crossbreeding.

Registered names

Registries usually have injunctions against using obscene words in an animal’s name, and do not allow violating any trademark, or appropriating a another person’s business or stud name.

Dog names

Show dogs have a registered name, that is, the name under which they are registered as a purebred with the appropriate kennel club, and a call name, which is how their owners talk to them. In working dog registries, the registered name and the call name are usually the same.

The registered name often refers directly or indirectly to the kennel where the dog was bred; kennel clubs often require that the breeder's kennel prefix form the first part of the dog's registered name. For example, all dogs bred at the Gold Mine Kennels would have names that begin with the words "Gold Mine": Gold Mine Rex, Gold Mine Rover. Many breeders name their puppies sequentially: Litter A, Litter B… in which the names of all the puppies start with the letter "A", then "B" etc. Some breeders include the names of the sire, dam or other forebears in the puppies’ names. A more imaginative breeder at the Gold Mine Kennels might name all the puppies of one litter after precious stones or minerals. The names of all the puppies from another litter might be required to start with "Emerald" or refer to any precious stone that's green. A subsequent litter might contain the adjectives describing precious stones: Gold Mine Sparkle, Gold Mine Brilliance, etc. Breeders may be as creative or as mundane as they wish.

In order to minimize the unwieldiness that long and fancy names can bring, kennel clubs usually limit the total number of characters that may compose the dog’s registered name. Further, breeders are generally not allowed to use any name that may be misleading, such as the word ‘champion’ in a name, a trademark, or anything that can be mistaken for the name of another kennel.

The call name can be anything that the dog's owner prefers. For example, Ch. Gold Mine Emerald's Brightest Sparkle might be called “Goldie’, “Emmy”, "Sparky", "Brighty", "Precious", "Gem", or, for that matter, "Fido".

By contrast, dogs in the breed registry of a working dog club (particularly herding dogs) must usually have simple, no-nonsense monikers deemed to be “working dog names” such as “Pal”, “Blackie” or “Ginger”.

The naming rules for independent dog clubs vary but are usually similar to those of kennel clubs.

Horse names

Horse registries generally allow any choice of registered name, and it does not have to be preceded by the name of the owner’s stud. As in dog breeding, the names of foals usually have meaning for the owners, are an “in joke”, and can be clever or pedestrian.