If you are a beagle owner who is interested in breeding or showing your pet, it is important that you know a bit about the dog's background. Many dog shows require entrants to be registered. It is also a good idea to know about your beagle's bloodline or family tree before breeding so you are aware of any inherited health issues. Whether your dog is a purebred beagle or a beagle mix, there are ways to track down its family tree.
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Contact a kennel club if your dog is a registered purebred beagle (see Resources). Most purebred beagles in the United States are registered through either the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club, and these organisations can use the beagle's registration number or registered name to look up the dog's pedigree. Pedigrees may go back several generations, but they will provide only the dog's bloodline --- parents, grandparents, etc. Pedigrees do not include litter mates of parents or other related dogs.
Talk with your breeder or your beagle's former owner. Even if the previous owner did not breed the beagle, that person may be able to put you in touch with the breeder. Reputable breeders keep scrupulous records and at least should be able to provide you with a short pedigree. Many breeders can also tell owners about their beagle's family tree, including canine aunts, uncles and cousins.
Test your beagle's DNA. There are a number of companies, including Canine Heritage and Wisdom Panel (see Resources), that will send you a test kit with which you swab your dog's cheek. You can then send back the sample and, for a fee, receive an analysis that will tell you what breeds make up your dog's background. This can be helpful if you own a beagle mix but want to know what other breeds might be included in its heritage. This information can help you explain your beagle's puzzling behaviours or prepare for possible health problems. You might also have your purebred beagle's DNA analysed to verify parentage.
Tips and warnings
- Even if your beagle is not a registered purebred, it may be able to compete in some kennel club events. Check the requirements for the specific competition on the kennel club's website.
- Remember that, even if you get a puppy from a reputable breeder of purebred beagles, you most likely will need to register the puppy yourself. Often, the litter is registered, but the individual puppy must be registered under its new name and by its new owner.
- There are searchable pedigree databases online, but many are fairly new and based on user-submitted content.
- If you are attempting to register your beagle, DNA profiling may not be enough. Check with the kennel club of your choice about their requirements.
- Do not assume that a pet store or owner advertising AKC/UKC beagles for sell means that the dogs have already been registered. Sometimes, such signs simply mean the seller is offering an AKC- or UKC-recognised breed for sell.
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