What’s a Stud Book?

A serious concern for any breed is the integrity of its pedigree records, and for breeds seeking AKC recognition, one of the biggest hurdles is providing accurate records. Many of us who hear the term, “stud book” are reluctant to admit that we don’t really know what one is, or why it’s important, so here is a user-friendly explanation:

Back in the day, a stud book was the pedigree of each dog in a breed. Later, a stud book listed only those dogs that had produced a litter. As is the case with so many dog terms, “stud book” comes to us from the horse world where “good breeding” mattered.

An accurate stud book is essential for serious breeders who diligently plan a breeding and do their homework when choosing potential stud dogs, or agreeing to a breeding. Without a true pedigree behind the dogs, there’s no way to predict what type of offspring will be produced, and predictability is a hallmark of well bred purebred dogs.

When a studbook is “open,” it means that dogs can still be registered even if its earlier ancestors weren’t. When a studbook is “closed,” it means that “outside blood” is no longer accepted. For some folks, a “closed studbook” means that the breed stays pure to its type. For others, however, a closed studbook is seen as a limitation to improving a breed. That’s a discussion for another day, and probably a different place.

We’re honestly not sure if the AKC still requires a minimum of 300 three generation dogs to move to full acceptance, but it did at one time. As far as we know, for a breed to move to AKC’s miscellaneous class and full recognition, the breed’s stud book must be closed. When a new breed is accepted in the AKC, a registration known as “Open Registration” is available for a limited time.

As a point of interest, the oldest stud book in the United States belongs to the Field Dog Stud Book which began maintaining records in 1874.

Image by John D.Kreger

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