What Does "Purebred" Mean?

Updated: Aug 9, 2020


From time to time we are asked by puppy seekers if Top Meadow Cavaliers are “purebred," or if the dog is AKC registered. The answer is, "yes" to both, but what does that mean? Perhaps the following will be helpful.


First, a purebred dog is one who comes from a sire and dam of the same breed. How do we know they are of the same breed? In America, there’s only one way to be sure: The American Kennel Club (AKC). (Well, with Cavaliers, there’s an additional registry, but to that in a minute.) The AKC keeps pedigree records on purebred dogs. Can you register a dog with the AKC that is not purebred? No. Can you have a purebred dog that is not registered? Yes, but a serious breeder will register all his or her litters with the AKC.


In shopping for a puppy you may well come across other registries. The United Kennel Club (UKC), which, unlike the AKC, registers American Pit Bull Terriers (commonly called Pit Bulls) and the Continental Kennel Club (CKC), which was formed only in 1991. Their registry requirements are not as demanding as those of the AKC. It is possible, especially with the CKC, which will consider photographs in the absence of pedigree documents, to get a puppy whose lineage contains other breeds. If a purebred Cavalier is what you seek, we strongly recommend using a breeder who registers his or her litters with the AKC.


At Top Meadow, we also register our litters with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (CKCSC-USA). Called, “the Old Club,” by Cavalier breeders, this was the registry in the United States that safeguarded the Cavalier pedigree before the AKC recognized the breed. In fact, the CKCSC-USA continues to maintain pedigree records, and our litters are registered with both. A great way to learn a lot about Cavaliers is to click on the CKCSC-USA logo on our main page. One thing we find appealing about the “Old Club” is that professional handlers, that is, paid handlers, are not permitted to handle a dog in Old Club shows if they have been compensated for handling within two years of the show. We think that's neat!


Now, just because a Cavalier is purebred, that doesn’t mean he or she is going to fare well in the show ring, and it doesn’t mean that he or she should be bred. I’ll talk about these questions in another post about "conformation."

A happy litter of Top Meadow Cavalier puppies in San Diego!