The History of Pedigrees

Breed associations provide many valuable services to their membership, one of the most important being the recording of ancestry, or pedigrees. Pedigrees are a valuable tool in livestock breeding because these ancestral records provide knowledge necessary for predicting progeny performance.

More value can be added by recording performance records of each individual and its progeny. Each domestic animal species has traits that are of economic value. Examples would be speed and athletic ability in horses, milk production in dairy cattle and goats, meat production in swine and beef, wool and meat production in sheep. These and other production traits are heritable and can be improved through selection. A permanent record of ancestors and their comparative productions traits is an indispensable tool if breeders are to make wise breeding decisions that lead to improved production and efficiency.

Pedigrees are of value to all segments of the industry. Commercial producers purchasing seed stock will dramatically decrease their chance of error if they use pedigree and progeny of proof in making their selection decisions. Breeding programs can be directed toward goals by selecting seed stock that excel in those traits for which the herds need improvement. Information contained as part of a registration certificate consists of individual animal identification, parentage (sire and dam) and performance. With that knowledge and previous information stored in the breed association data bank, a pedigree or ancestral record can be produced for the breeder. The breeder provides every piece of raw data used in the production of pedigrees and records, bringing to surface the importance of breeder integrity. Few, if any, industries are more dependent upon individual integrity than the pedigreed livestock industry.

The pedigreed livestock industry has traditionally attracted independent and innovative thinking people of the highest integrity. Since most people enjoy associating with people of high character, the pedigreed livestock industry can be and generally is an enjoyable, satisfying business. In summary, a pedigree is an ancestral record of an individual animal. A pedigree has value because it is a recording of knowledge. That knowledge can be promoted into additional value because knowledge can contribute to the earning power of future progeny from an individual animal. The registered livestock business can be highly rewarding as you form and mold highly predictable genetic packages of breed-improving material into superior animals. Self-satisfaction comes through the accomplishment of producing genetically superior animals which you made possible through wise breeding decisions. To top it all off, there is the satisfaction of working through your association with people of integrity who has similar interests, ambitions and goals